BAUE Great Pinnacle ProjectOctober 27, 2007
To answer the question: What’s so great about the Great Pinnacle?
BAUE’s 2007 Great Pinnacle Project took place at Point Lobos, where we conducted a series of dives for the purpose of collecting data and photographic documentation of the Great Pinnacle. Results of the project will then be compiled to produce a web page for the state park and BAUE.
This was a recreational level project, with most of the dives performed within a depth range of 100ft and shallower.
Project Management - Main Tasks:
Special Tools/Software Used
Garmin GPS housed in a waterproof container
Software (GPS sofware, Global Mapper)
Reef Check slates
The great Pinnacle is located at 36 31.511N 121 56.615W, approximately 2000 ft (or a 5 minute boat ride) from the ramp at Whaler’s Cove. The bottom of the pinnacle sits on a sandy plateau at 170' and the top levels off at around 40ft. It is a heavily decorated site with a series of spikes strewn along its upper ridge. The shallower portion of the pinnacle is often subject to a significant amount of surge, particularly later in the day when wind velocity and swell size increase.
BAUE chartered the Escapade to support our activities for the day. Permission and access for the boat to motor in the protected waters of the marine preserve was granted through Point Lobos State Park.
Preliminary Project Setup
A preliminary dive at the Great Pinnacle was conducted on the day prior to the group project. A team of two scooter divers captured GPS coordinates by towing a float containing a GPS unit on the surface as the divers traveled in reciprocal patterns starting at the 150ft long base of the north wall of the pinnacle, and gradually moved shallower with each pass. GPS coordinates were synchronized with video footage of the relief of the wall taken during the dive.
A second team of scooter divers acted as in-water support to keep the float-line free of entanglement in the down-line and kelp. This team also looked for a potential route and point of origination for the survey team.
Captain Jim Capwell of the Escapade scouted a location for a semi-permanent marker for the project day, and teams left a temporary surface marker to indicate the position of the northern face of the pinnacle.
On October 27, 2007, a total of 17 BAUE divers completed 15 project-related dives on the Great Pinnacle. Dive teams focused on five areas of study:
1. The collection of survey data (depth/azimuth/distance)
2. A Reef Check style survey of marine life
3. A nudibranch species count
4. Photographic documentation
5. Video documentation of the site
Each group had a team leader whose responsibility was to define research objectives and assign tasks to dive teams. While most teams were intact, a few divers were asked to multi-task by participating in more than one area of study.
In order for the Escapade to provide support in a safe and efficient manner, project participants were assembled into 3 dive groups, so that no more than six teams were in the water at a time. The boat was given permission by Point Lobos State Park to motor directly from Monterey Harbor to the site.
The first group of divers boarded the boat and departed Monterey at 7:30 a.m. The Escapade arrived at the Great Pinnacle less than an hour later, and Group 1 Divers entered the water at approximately 8:45 a.m. Dive times were scheduled to be no more than one hour in duration.
At the completion of all dives for Group #1, the Escapade ferried into Whaler’s Cove at Point Lobos to offload Group 1 divers/gear and onload divers for the second group.
Divers swam between the boat and the ramp through a thick layer of broken kelp to board or disembark. Divers scheduled to do consecutive dives had the option to stay on the boat between dives, or swim to shore for a rest or a bite to eat.
Group 2 divers departed Whaler's Cove and divers began entering the water at 11:00 a.m. At the completion of their dives, the boat returned to the cove to pick up Group 3 divers.
The last group entered the water at 1:15, and all project dives were completed by 2:30 p.m. The Escapade made one final trip into Whaler's Cove, to shuttle divers into shore and pick up those who chose to ride back to Monterey Harbor on the boat.
Due to excellent weather conditions and the remarkable efficiency of the divers, surface managers, and crew, we completed the project dives and objectives ahead of schedule. The Escapade was able to leave Point Lobos by 3:15, to arrive in Monterey well before dark.
The event day went as smoothly as possible. Favorable weather, exceptional crew, responsible team leaders, and dedicated divers converged to make the project a positive and highly productive experience for all involved.
From an organizational standpoint, this project was a testing ground for logistics required to explore an offshore site. There was a fair amount of flexibility built into the schedule, which afforded divers and crew the ability to work out logistical details without compromising team objectives. There were a number of contingency plans in place, mostly based on weather. Fortunately we were able to execute our primary plan, and all teams met their target objectives.
The 2007 BAUE Group project was fantastic on many levels. We successfully coordinated and executed a complex dive schedule involving multiple teams and objectives, supported by a stellar crew, at a site well south of Monterey in cooperation with the California State Park Services. As a group our capacity is expanding-- we are able to cover more underwater 'ground' in terms of depth and square footage being surveyed and documented. Individual divers and teams are experiencing marked improvement in their data collecting skills. Leaders are emerging within study areas to coordinate teams to function in an increasingly efficient and productive manner. A natural mentorship process is evolving, whereby divers with more experience are coaching newer divers in the skills and procedures required of ongoing projects.
Project Day Participants: