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1/22/2011 K2 aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Gid Liew, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 20' - 80' Time:12:00 AM
Temp:   Surge: 17'
Max Depth: 202FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/55Deco Gases:EAN50,50/25
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Thursday night we picked up GUE instructor Gideon Liew in SFO and drove him down to Monterey. He's teching a T2 class on Saturday with Matt, John and Jim as the students and with Susan shooting video, and later on he's working with Susan on her IE and with me on my Fundies renewal.

So before embarking on a very long teaching session we wanted to go out and have a fun dive together. Nothing better to bond GUE instructors than a fly-by scooter dive at K2.

We had booked Capt Phil several weeks ago, but we were not sure if the date was still in place. We double checked and he gave us the thumbs-up for our departure. The weather had calmed down a little bit during the week and the forecast was for 3-6ft swell, which is quite OK but the period was 17 seconds which makes for a lot of water moving at once.

While driving south along the coast we marveled at the topside scenery as massive walls of water smashed headlong into the rocks with spectacular force. The sun created golden-white reflections on the water, and Gideon was the first to spot a trio of gray whales swimming parallel to our boat.

After setting up the down-line on our site, we descended and were welcomed by very clear water. As we got to the top of the pinnacle I suddenly saw this very large wolf-eel, and just as I was about to signal by team mates I realized it was actually the steel-gray anchor doing an awesome impersonation of an eel .... ohh well... I'm glad I didn't signal Gid ;-)

We headed NW on the East Wall of K2 and reached the tip at about 200ft. This area has a lot of canyons and tunnels which funneled the 17 seconds swells making for a huge amount of water movement. The surge effortlessly stirred up the sand at 200+ feet!

Any time we stopped to inspect an attraction on the pinnacle, we were thrown back and forth by the mountainous flow of water. There wasn't much we could do to counter-act its effect, not even with a scooter (ohh well maybe a magnus). It was like being attached to the heavy end of a pendulum... we just hung there and let the water move us around as we tried to watch some of the marine life. We managed to find a basket-star and a six-spotted gunnel but you could only see them for a few seconds a time.

Throughout the dive, we noticed that bits & pieces of the pinnacle had been torn off by the surge. It looked like the pinnacle was being power-washed! As all of this was happening I had the feeling of how insignificant our power was in comparison to the ocean.

After 20min at the base we moved up to 150ft and hung out there while looking at the terrain and the marine life for another 20min. We spent the deco looking for southbound whales, to no avail.

We had a great dive,and topped it off with lunch buffet at Sam's.

Here we go on another teaching adventure!

Cherers, Beto (with a little help from Susan)

1/16/2011 Lunaticos Annex aboard Escapade by Ben Villao -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Ted Pimentel, Ben Villao, Robert Lee
Visibility: 70' - 80' Time:10:08 AM
Temp: 50F Surge:  
Max Depth: 150FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double HP100Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
First boat dive after Tech 1...

Very foggy on the drive down and getting a Tech dive in was questionable due to the fog. We cast off anyway and motored down the coast... We were expecting to do a normal rec dive since the fog would have prevented a live boat but we were pleasantly surprised when it cleared up and Jim brought us to Lunaticos.

The site is a series of pinnacles... topping out at 100/90 with the sand around 200. We dropped in with a bit of a kick to the ball.... caught our breaths and then hit it. shot line was exactly where Capt Jim said it would be in between the 2 large peaks. After dropping for 4 mins we followed to the West wall and kicked down to 150. The vis was amazing. You could see this huge canyon and both peaks and another peak toward the end. Details were clear even though some of the structure was around 200 ft deep... the stunning geography of it all was awesome to behold. Rob showed us some boot sponges and also found a deep swim thru that might be worth revisiting next time around. I was very happy kicking thru the canyon and hanging there admiring how huge these pinacles were.

It was great to be able to finally go and do the dives we have dreamed of doing... Tech 1 class definitely paid off with some awesome dives with a solid team.
1/15/2011 Dos Gatos aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Joakim Linde, Clinton Bauder, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 80' Time:10:00 AM
Temp:   Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 196FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:20
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,50/25
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Well it looks like I was the only one that had never dove the Nixies. These are a series of pinnacles located south of Flintstones. The pinnacles are spread in a 300x300ft area. Depending on who you ask there are named: Volcane, Nixies, Dos Gatos, etc. All the same name or different pinnacles with different names.

Clinton, Joakim and myself got in the water at about 10am, and Joakim took us for a nice dive. We first went counter-clock wise on around the Nixies, while looking at the terrain. We had great vis (80ft) and Clinton located a nice rat fish. We swam th some nice canyons full of gorgonias, and we found some very large nudies. After about 20min at the based we moved up for another 15 min at the shallower area (150 range). We met with the kitties, did some hand-shaken and went up the shallow peak in the 110fr range. We tried to jump toward Dos Gatos but we over shoot it so we ended ascending at the 110ft peak.

Great dive!

1/7/2011 Flintstones aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 40' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 53F Surge:  
Max Depth: 192FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:56 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Today we were lucky to have two Capts on board of the Escapade. Jim had his captain's hat on as always, and 'Capt in Training' Luke was at the helm for most of the trip. Luke is building experience on the Escapade so he can be the designated mid-week Capt. Early in the morning the wind was not too strong but the swells were already11ft :-) outside of the bay.

As we motored out, the bay was unusually calm and was carpeted with a massive pod of Risso dolphins lazily making their way towards the harbor. They were very close to shore and we saw many mom & baby pairs.

Once we rounded the corner, it was a different story. Due to the large swell we decided for an off-shore pinnacle. We went over Mt C. and continued all the way to Flintstones, which is always one of my favorite dives.

We set the float and headed down towards the bottom while following the large North-South canyon that divides the structure. Vis was 40ft but a little milky and the swells were noticeable all the way to 190ft. We checked out a portion of the canyon on the south and then headed for the parallel reef west of the main structure. There were tons of gorgonias and some large red rock-fish. After about 20min we moved back to the main structure and located a large school of blue rockfish and several small baby yellow-eyes.

We finished the dive by circling the shallow part of Flintstones while sharing the area with hundreds of rock-fish of various sizes. We were being pulled up and down with the swells like a couple of rag dolls. At one point I saw about 9ft difference in my computer in no more than 3 seconds. The weird thing was that I didn't move too far from my visual reference on the reef... so a huge swell must have been rolling overhead.

After 56 min of fun we deployed SMB and drifted the deco while looking for grey whales. No luck this time, but Jim & Luke said there were several whales that passed within 50 ft of us.

By the time we surfaced the weather had picked up quite a lot and it was tricky to get back on the boat. Large swells and confused seas... a bad combination.

On the way back we saw several grey whales and we met the large school of Risso Dolphins as they were heading back south & out of the bay. We spent a few minutes with them as they swam super close to the boat.

All in all a great diving day on the Escapade!

1/1/2011 Pt Lobos by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Jim Capwell, Alberto Nava
Visibility:   Time:10:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth: 150FSW Avg Depth: 130FSW
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:20
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
During my last trip to Mexico I had the chance of diving with Roberto Chavez quite a lot and we had so much fun diving together than I offered him to come a visit us in Monterey whenever he wanted. He took the offered and joined us in Dec 29 for some end of year/start of year diving.
First dive was at Point Lobos . We headed for Twin Peaks for a fantastic dive with 60ft of visibility and tons of fish and invertebrates to see. We found 3 large Dinora Albolineata, tons of female lingcods and several are school of rock-fish. Bottom time was about 40min and Max depth of 150ft.
Second day plan was to head out to Carmel on the Escapade. However, the winds were very strong from the south so we could not get there. We dove inside the bay and visited Kawika’s Garden. Nice gorgonians garden and the high-light was a 3x4 torpedo ray that was swimming btw Susan and Roberto.

Tomorrow Lobos again!

12/4/2010 Deep E3 aboard Escapade by Clinton Bauder -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Robert Lee
Visibility: 20' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 50F Surge: 1'
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 218FSW Avg Depth: 170FSW
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:25
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
Deep Stops, 6,4,4,4,4,18,6 Up
The forecast all week had been for calm weather. Naturally as we arrived in Monterey my first question to Rob was how he had managed to keep the van from overturning in the high winds. Been that kind of year. At least it was from the Southeast so it didn't limit us too much. As it happens what did limit us was the huge tidal change.

After a brief delay to free some debris from the prop shaft we made it to Carmel in good order. Despite the wind the surface conditions weren't much of an issue. After looking at E3 we decided to try further south and try to dive the Nixies. The first couple of attempts to set a downline failed as the ball was swept off the reef. This should have been a hint but we persevered and got it set on the third try. The wake from the ball should have been a hint too but Rob and I jumped in anyway. Some very minor delays clipping gear off and getting the pitch set right on my scooter did us in as we were swept past the buoy. Even at full speed on the scooters we were losing ground at a good clip and so we finally wised up and headed back to E3. (I think this is where I'm supposed to admit John was right but I'm not going to do that.)

E3 was much more tranquil. Rob mentioned he wanted to go look for a purple gorgonian that Beto had seen here at about 200 feet. I pointed out that my camera is only rated to 180 and that I've had dodgy results taking it deeper than that. So our plan became 180ish with the idea to scooter over to Deep E3 and back.

Visibility below the thick jellyfish layer wasn't so hot but soon a target rich environment made me forget about conditions. First up was a nice basket star at about 180 feet. As I started to line up a shot I noticed a mosshead warbonnet in a old barnacle shell. Pretty soon Rob was motioning me deeper as he'd found a Quillback Rockfish. I'd seen one here before and but from what I gather they are quite rare this far south, especially at diving depth. As I started to shoot that while trying to include the nearby little Yelloweye rockfish in the frame Rob started signaling me to come deeper still - to nearly 220 feet! Oh well, the camera IS insured. This time he'd found the mythical purple gorgonian so we grabbed a few quick shots before retreating back up to shallower water. Rob says he saw a Bocaccio as we returned to E3 but I missed that.

After a mild comedy of errors getting the cameras squared away and the bag sent up we began our deco. I was starting to get cold at the 20 foot stop so I brought the camera back out to shoot pictures of Rob in the jellyfish soup. It's amazing how much warmer you are when you stay busy. By the end of the deco the surface conditions had really deteriorated making getting back on the boat a bit of a chore and so we decided to call it a day after one dive.

Pictures are here:
11/27/2010 Pt Lobos by Mark Lloyd -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Gary Banta, Mark Lloyd
Visibility: 20' - 50' Time:9:14 AM
Temp: 51F Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 89FSW Avg Depth: 53FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 2:06
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Gary Banta invited me to dive with him at Lobos after the Thanksgiving holiday. The weather was supposed to worsen around lunch time so we arrived at the Lobos gate sharply at 8am to take advantage of the conditions. The lady at the gate was a bit overwhelmed as everyone had the same idea. We geared up and decided to do one long dive instead of two shorter ones. Gary suggested we have a look at Bluefish cove, then head out along the West side of the wall and up to Great Pinnacle if the conditions allowed. Visibility turned out to be quite good in the cove and you could see the worm patch from the surface quite clearly.

After dropping down Gary lead the way past Hole in the Wall, Lone Mitridian, Rock Garden, and finally into Bluefish Cove. The cove was great with a huge school of Rockfish hanging out. After spending a bit of time taking pictures we headed a bit more east till we were parallel with the wall heading North and to Great Pinnacle. Gary kept us right on track following Marcos Pinnacle all the way to the top. From there we had to make the jump to Great Pinnacle which we could not see but was there in the distance. Just before the jump a couple of sea lions came for a visit and I could see a thick layer of jellies about 20′ above, their long stinging tentacles trailing behind. Great Pinnacle came into view a minute later and Gary and I stopped to take a few more pictures. Getting going again, we headed round the top end of Great Pinnacle, back to Marcos along the east side, returning to Rock Garden and the Lone Mitridian. We still had a fair amount of gas left so decided to continue the adventure over to Granite Point. Gary and I had the same idea as we both headed behind Granite Point and I took a few more pictures of this area. Its a fantastic site with many towers and canyons which is pretty fun on the scooters.

Alas our time was up so we headed back into the cove where the visibility was still holding. As we surfaced after 2 hours under the water, the sun was just coming out, and it was time to clean up, and have some lunch.
11/13/2010 K2 aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Joakim Linde, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 30' Time:10:00 AM
Temp:   Surge: 10'
Max Depth: 203FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
After what felt likes years w/o getting a good BAUE tech charter today we had a great time. Sue, Joe and myself dove K2 with the rest of the BAUE teckies, Clinton, Matt, Bob and Allison. We dove the north side of K2. Vis was about 30ft and the swells were large but manageable away from shore.

We found a nice purple sea fan, a couple of baskets stars, several juv. yellow eyes and tons of gorgonias at the north peak.

The top of the pinnacle was a little bouncy with the large swells going by.

We had lunch at the "almost" finished deck :-)
10/16/2010 Que Paso Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Kenn Hwang -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Steve Dawson, Allison Lee
Visibility: 40' - 50' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 51F - 56F Surge: 3'
Max Depth: 100FSW Avg Depth: 58FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 0:06
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
I joined Steve and Allison on the rec boat aboard the Escapade on Saturday, in hopes that we'd be able to make it far south for some great recreational dives, and boy did they deliver.

Once we were in the water, the crew gunned the engines and we found ourselves alongside the Beach Hopper II for most of the way down, seems everybody had the same idea.

First site was Que Paso, which I've heard and read about, but have never seen before. We descended onto a tiny 6x10ft pinnacle at 100ft that was lined by metridium all long its sides--it looked like white, heart-shaped path in the gravel. From there it was a short hop over to the main pinnacle, which featured some great vis (40+ft), dramatic structure, and all sorts of nooks and crannies encrusted with marine life. The highlight was 6-8 molas, all swimming in buddy pairs, that were just on the edge of the pinnacles and following us around on our return to the boat and ascent.

A 25 minute hop north brought us to the second site of the day, Fan Shell Beach Pinnacles, named after Fan Shell Beach just on-shore, which I suspect was in turn named after the fan shells found on said beach, which in turn must be named after the fans that the shells themselves resembled. But back to diving. Here, we got more of the same - fantastic viz that let us see the sandy bottom 40-50ft below us, dramatically rising vertical structures, lots of fish life, free-swimming sheep crab, and strangely, some large vertical faces of sheer granite without a trace of coral or corynactis. It'd go on for 15-20 ft, and then suddenly, encrusted again, with no apparent change in direction or topography. Stark. No molas this time, but plenty of surge at the top of the pinnacles to throw me for a loop a few times. Water temperature above 45ft was 56 degrees...that's almost hot-tub warm!

In all, couldn't have asked for a better set of dives!

Video on Youtube here
10/2/2010 Pinnacle Point Wall aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird
Visibility: 10' - 20' Time:1:30 PM
Temp:   Surge: 4'
Max Depth: 195FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Yesterday we went out for the Oct 2th BAUE tech charter. We woke up and the fog was better that it has been the last week. We could see Monterey from Seaside (we could not see it for most of the week). We motored out towards Carmel and found the fog increasing as we traveled south :-(.

We decided to invert our diving schedule, by doing the rec dive first, and then the tech dive. We were hoping the fog situation would be better in the afternoon. We dove the Needle for the first dive, and I always like to go back and forth on the south wall while looking at the invertebrates who live on the wall. The highlight on the rec dive was a baby tree fish, and also a nice Cabezon on the wall.

The fog lifted a little bit in the afternoon so we headed towards Pinnacle Point Wall. The vis was 10-15ft and by the time we got to deep water it was quite dark, miso soup style. However, there were tons of fish there to greet us on our descent... including a large school of rockfish and a dense cloud of orange colored juveniles. As we slowly made our way along the wall, we encountered several nice vermilions and a lot of lingcods.

The wall was covered with tons of gorgonias and some really nice yellow sponges. We located several yellow-eye rock fish babies, and a few nice decorator crabs. We spent a good portion of the dive circling the top of the pinnacle and admiring the corynactus and the elephant ear sponges on the wall. Really nice terrain to look at.

After 40min of fun we deployed the SMB and drifted our deco. There were tons of sea nettles, some of them very large, which made for an interesting deco, as we pushed & punched sea nettles away from each other.

All in all, a very different and fun day of diving.

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