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9/25/2010 Channel Islands: Anacapa & Santa Cruz aboard Spectre by Kathy Dicker -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kathy Dicker, Rick Guerin, Phil Koehler
Visibility: 20' - 50' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 51F - 57F Surge:  
Max Depth: 60FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
I headed down to Ventura last weekend to join a couple of other So Cal GUE friends for some single tank fun (warmer water) diving off Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. At the last minute Heather Hamza joined our gang, so we split into two teams and stuck together.

6 hours down to Ventura Harbor isnt that bad a drive. $120 covers a bunk for the night, breakfast, lunch and 4 recreational dives on the Spectre. The boat only pumps air, so I just smuggled some extra tanks of 32% on board with no problem ;-).

The water was glassy calm on the trip over. The sun was shining and the sky was painted a brilliant blue. A huge pod of dolphin joyfully splashed off the bow. Birds (maybe pelicans?)
flew in a mesmerizing formation. It was the perfect boat ride!

We did a couple of dives at Santa Cruz Island (Cavern Point & Fence Line) ejoying the 40-50 ft vis and 57F water, vibrant orange Garibaldi, huge Sheepsheads, brilliant Spanish Shawls, loads of purple urchins, and the sun rays penetrating into the outstanding kelp forests.

Then, we headed over to Anacapa to Underwater Arch, where young sea lions seemed to enjoy our mid water hover so much, they spent almost half the dive playing with us. They kept swooping down in huge loops and stopping eye to eye just inches from my face as if to say hi ;-).

On the fourth dive, Underwater Island, we followed the anchor line through 20ft vis for a nice kick with a bit of current around a pinnacle where we spotted and several very beautiful reddish brown Two Spot Octopi tucked back in cracks along a rocky wall.

Diving on the Channel Islands was a fun change of pace from our local diving and it was easy to synch up with other GUE divers for our first dives together (although I missed my BAUE friends).

If anyone wants to carpool back down one of these days, Id probably be up for it. The trip makes for a fun but exhausting weekend ;-)! All of these dives maxed out at 60ft or less.
9/18/2010 20SUR aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 80' - 100' Time:10:00 AM
Temp:   Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 170FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Mark Loyd organized our Saturday tech dive on the Escapade. Target was to go as far south as conditions allow and yesterday we could have gone to Partington Canyon (no much to see there...), so we decided to go back to BigSur Banks. As Jim Capwell/Escapade had already gone to Sur19 3 times this year) , we decided to venture to a different spot so Sur 20 was our destination.

Sur20 has more peaks and valley than Sur 19. There is a large canyon crossing the pinnacle in half and some small swim-ths on the south side of the pinnacle. Visibility was close to 100ft at the base and 80ft at the top. It was really an amazing scenery with all the juv rock fish, the pink and purple hydrocoral and the medium size lingcods swimming around.

I'm still surprise by the lack of large red fish: this year we have not seen any large yellow eyes or that many vermillion or caneries. It seem like the fishing has taken its toll at the banks :-(. We still need to check Mid-way to see if the fish are still there.

For the second dive we decided to dive Castle Rock Wall. I can't recall if I dove this before but if I did it was more than 10 divers ago. It's a large pinnacle 400ft long with two small peak coming from 100ft to 30ft. There were tons of se~norita fish, school of sea perches at the top of the peaks, and beautiful bulb kelp all over the place. All the walls were covered with corynactus and all kind of invertebrates. Really cool site!

All in all another day in Paradise :-)
8/15/2010 19SUR aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Joakim Linde
Visibility:   Time:10:30 AM
Temp:   Surge: 3'
Max Depth:   Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
This past weekend was the best diving of the year :-). We had scheduled a lot of trips on the Escapade this summer with the intention of going as far south as the conditions for the day allows. Before this weekend the weather had been a little bit too rough to venture past Yankee Point, and last Saturday we even had to do Point Lobos/El Paso due to strong weather ;-) On Saturday we headed south and we decided not to start with a very ambitious goal. We reached Yankee and it was still a 'go'. We went past Bixby Bridge and it was still fine, we reached Big Sur light-house and conditions were still a go, so we headed to the SUR 19. This is the prettiest of the pinnacles at Big Sur Banks and it reaches from 160 to 120ft. It’s totally covered with the most beautiful hydrocorals as well as rockfish of all colors and shapes. We spent 20min at the base of the pinnacle looking for GPOs but had no luck. There were tons of baby fish so it was fun to scooter around them. Susan found a nice wolf-eel on the wall, and after looking at it for a while we moved up to 130ft and spent another 20min enjoying the amazing view, including large pink and purple hydrocorals, as healthy as you can image. After the dive we headed north looking for a destination for the second dive. Finally we settled on Lobos Rocks. This has been one of my favorite dives on the coast. Two small rocks that come out of the water by about 50ft, tons of wave action hitting the rocks and often times dozens of sea lions waiting to play with the divers. It cannot get any better. We started our dive by motoring to the white water near the rocks and we dropped down to about 60ft. We circumnavigated the West rock and found the best visibility in the channel between the two rocks. You could see the bat stars at the bottom from about 60ft away. We ended the dive at the 20ft washing machine area. Here you hover btw 30-10ft as the waves splash violently against the pinnacle and enjoy the experience. As your ears ask you to stop the abuse your brain keeps asking for more. As each wave gets to the washing machine, you hear a loud noise, then it becomes dark and finally you’re in white water. As this is happening 3 to 4 sea lions come by at full speed and bark at you underwater. Doing this with the scooters gives you more maneuvering power which is even more fun as you can try to chase the sea lions back on to the rocks.

On Sunday we were hoping for a repeat of the previous day. However, as we reached Soberanes area the wind picked up and the boat was getting quite a lot of movement so we decided to head back to calmer water. There was quite a lot of disappointment from the divers on board, especially the ones that didn’t visit SUR19 the previous day. As we headed back we looked at our options and decided that K2 could be a good plan B for the team. After the boat anchored all the divers headed down the pinnacle, and each team went in their own direction. Sue and I followed the valley btw K2 and K1 until we reached 200ft at the end of the wall. The whole area was filled with baby juvenile rockfish, and we really enjoy scootering in and out of the schools. The fish would react to our lights by moving sideways and then as we moved into the center of the school we would get covered by fish. It was a spectacular experience. After 20min we headed shallower to enjoy the K2 proper wall. The top of these pinnacles is at 70ft and with 60ft vis we had a super view of the top. There were huge, dense schools of rock-fish at the pinnacles tip. As we were preparing to loop the pinnacle we saw a large crack and as we put our light in that direction we were surprised by large white circles all bundled together at the top of the crack. GPO!!!!! We moved to the depth where the animal was and as we approached we were surprised by the animal coming out of the crack. It swam towards us with two of its arms extended trying to reach us. YIKES!!! We did some back-kicking and it finally positioned itself with the head up and away on the rock and all tentacles extended. Susan signaled to me to try to get some more interaction going, but I gently declined the invitation. We had much deco to go play with a 10ft GPO. After about 1min it decided to go back into the crack and we admired it for another 3 or 4min before deciding that it was time to go up. We had an amazing encounter with that animal. We were able to signal "GPO!!!" to Rob and Allison, and they got some images of it. All divers were super happy as we moved to the 70ft top and started our deco. Another amazing diving weekend at home :-)

here some photos from sunday.
8/14/2010 19SUR aboard Escapade by Mark Lloyd -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Jim Capwell, Mark Lloyd
Visibility: 30' - 70' Time:10:37 AM
Temp: 50F - 52F Surge: 1'
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time: 0:30
Max Depth: 158FSW Avg Depth: 83FSW
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
5,3,3,3,3,17,6
 
When diving in Monterey you never really know what your going to get or where you are going to go due to the weather conditions that are constantly changing. Saturday, August 14th, the weather was in our favor with flat seas, hardly any wind, and a slight surge. Aboard the Escapade we motored out of the harbour, past Point Lobos, and with one more sprint, down to a dive site called Sur 19. Sur 19 is a bit past the Bixby Bridge and is at the limit of what the Escapade can get to safely.
When we arrived on site, the water was still calm and looked blue. Everyone geared up, with Jim Capwell and I diving together. We jumped in with our deco bottles and scooters and descended to about 130' before hitting the reef. We continued dropping over the ledge till about 160' where the system bottomed out. The visibility was about 60-70' and a bit dark however the huge colorful hydrocoral bushes certainly made up for it. Also there were thousands of small fish with large schools of rockfish tracking our every move. At one point I was thinking about the density of fish in this small area and how this must of been the norm about 30 years ago.
At about the 40 minute mark I sent up the bag and Jim and I made our way up to 70' and then switched to 50%. Our deco was pretty interesting as a soup of very small jellies and whatever else they were called swam passed us all the way up to the surface. There were fish shaped ones, round ones, ones with tails, you name it it was there. After the deco was completed, I clipped off the bag and scootered over to the boat. Everyone else was surfacing about the same time and had big grins as well.
Our surface interval was filled with chicken eating and watching for whales as we motored back in for our second dive at Lobos Rocks.
Lobos Rocks is a favored photo site as it has many Green Anemone with seals that love to come down and zoom past the divers. Joakim and I were diving together for this dive and Jim was sitting out. We decided to take our scooters and see if we could get all the way around one of the pinnacles. As soon as we ascended we could see that the conditions were spectacular with blue water contrasting against the big bull kelp waving in the current. Dropping down to 80' we then scootering North, ascended to about 60' as we hit the pinnacle. We stayed a bit to check out the Green Anemones then continued around to the other side. The visibility continued to improve, at one point we were between the two rocks being able to see the sand below, both pinnacles and the surface, all at the same time. We stayed in this area for a while then scootered back to the start point where all the kelp was and all that blue water. Wow, another great dive. After the dive we spotted a few spouts on our way back. Heading over we saw two Blue Whales, one small, the other huge. Small is relative as even the small one was much bigger than the boat. At one point they surfaced, sucked in some air then swam directly under the boat where the fish finder went nuts telling us the bottom is about 10' away. We sat around for about 1/2 an hour watching these huge creatures dive up and down for food. Unfortunately we had to leave as some of us were diving tomorrow and needed tanks filling.
8/11/2010 Naia Wall aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Jim Capwell
Visibility: 40' - 60' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 50F - 55F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 174FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 1:00 Total Time: 1:40
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
We tried to celebrate Jim's birthday last Friday with a dive outing, but we could not get crew to help on the boat :-(. We decided to re-schedule for Wed as the seas were looking better. As it turn out that was a good decision as the seas were totally flat today and the fog was high on the sky.
We chatted about going to BSB but looking at the fuel cost we decided to settled for a local site. With such a flat seas there were only two options: Naia walls, or Ed Copper Wall. Jim picked Naia wall and we deployed the down-line.
The waves were very small at the near-by breakers so we geared up and heading down the line.
We reached the top of the pinnacle at about 60ft, and descended on the South side of the wall. This is a vertical drop from 60 to about 160ft. We could see the bottom from 100ft so at least 50-60ft vis.
We scooters West on the wall for about 5min and then took a detour South-West. We found some very nice canyon and overhangs and settled there to enjoyed the view. You can see the bottom at about another 50ft and there were colourful walls all over around. Sweet!
We headed back to the wall and west NW towards the end. We found a huge school of baby rockfish. We enjoyed swimming in circle inside the school and see all the fish move and swam with us.
We headed back to the based on the pinnacle and enjoyed a nice multi-level dive all the way to the top. There were tons of decorate crabs, and some very large nudies. Longer than my hand.
After about 60min we were ready to let the structure go. We decided to ascend on the up-line as there was very little current. As we got towards the top the current picked-up a little bit so we used our scooter to stay in place.
Vis was 40-60ft, and temp was 50F at the based and 55ft during deco.
On the way back we had two friendly whales hang around the boat. Should have brought the camera.
Let's hope the weather stay like this for the weekend :-)



8/7/2010 Twin Peaks by Dionna House -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Dionna House, Mark Lloyd
Visibility: 30' - 60' Time:9:30 AM
Temp: 48F - 50F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 150FSW Avg Depth: 130FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:24
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double HP120Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
 

Fortunately Mark picked up a Lobos reservation. The conditions were flat with some slight swell. Lobos was not crowded at all. We decided to adventure out to Twin Peaks. Visibility was BEAUTIFUL!!! Very exciting!! After checking out the wolf eel that lives out at Beto's Reef, we headed north/west to the Road that leads out to Twin Peaks. We spent alot of time swimming around. Saw my favorite Dironas, or should I say huge Dirona. I always thought I had to go to Alaska to see the big stuff. Fun looking in the nukes and crannies. Lots and lots of junvenile rock fish on the reef. Actually saw a juvenile vermillion. Time flys when you are having fun. We went back to Beto's reef and into the cove for an uneventful deco. There was some moderate current out at the 70ft stop though.

Second dive was more adventurous. Finding the caverns in significant surge is sometimes challenging!! All in all, fun day out diving.
7/31/2010 El Paso aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 80' - 100' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 50F - 50F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 155FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:45 Total Time: 1:20
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
5,3,16up
 
Well it's great day when you can a dive a nice dive site :-). Today we dove a site called El Paso on the back side of Point Lobos. A few baue members dove this years ago, and they reported nothing very excited. For that reason we had not tried it since. Today the swells were big so we ended on the back-side of Lobos looking for protection and decided to do El Paso. How bad can it be? Susan and I dropped down to found amazing vis. Maybe 80 or 100ft. We could see several pinnacles on the west side of the main structure and we ventured over-there while enjoying the view. Not the most amazing invertebrates so we came back to the main structure and went for a loop around the pinnacle.







The best part of the site was a section were to pinnacles meet, and we called "summer camp" as there we're tons of juv rockfish in the area. Susan found a big lingcods and the vermillions were very curious about the bubbling fast moving kind of fish. I inverted myself under a little overhand and enjoy looking at the fish and life from this perspective. We went with the rest of the teams at the camp and played around for Clinton and his camera. There was a large school of rock fish at the top of the pinnacles. The site was a great surprise for all of us. Joakim came during deco and was writing something about wanting to come back, and saying if you don't go you wont know :-) Susan's note: The photos Clinton posted are wonderful, but do not do justice to the site with regard to the proliferation of juveniles at the East end of the pinnacle. There were literally thousands of babies... not only rockfish but many others (smaller, and of undefined varieties). This dive experience was like hanging out inside of an aquarium! By the middle of the dive it was evident that the best location was at the east side, near the overhang. This area forms a large enclave that provides excellent shelter for juveniles. I have never seen so many 'juvies' congregated in one location before, and it was a delightful place to be!

Some photos from Clinton.

Second dive in the bay with a lot of invertebrates at the deeper shale.

7/24/2010 Pt Lobos aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 30' - 40' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 50F - 50F Surge: 3'
Max Depth: 120FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:50 Total Time: 0:55
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:35/25
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
 
We had an optional boat dive added to the Point Lobos BAUE event on Saturday. The plan was for two dives from the boat on some of the sites that are not as easy to get by scooter or swimming. Dive one was at 9:30 and dive two at 1:00pm. We dove The Neddle and Great Pinnacle.

The dive at The Neddle was great. I had forgotten how nice this site is as I have not dove it for several years. There is a sharp wall going from 45ft all the way to 85 ft and the a second slop that goes to 100ft and as you swim east get to about 120-130ft.

Susan and I dropped down to the the base on the south side and looked around for gorgonias, and I was trying to locate a nice canyon that I use to scooter by when coming from E3. I could not find it so either it's deeper or maybe I was narc ;-). We found a couple of nice lingcods and a bright red shrimp on one of the gorgonias. After about 20min of fun we headed up to the south wall.

The walls is all cover with invertebrates, and most times there is a school of rock-fish that hang around the wall. Seeing the divers swim through with their light with all the fish moving away is amazing view. We also located the eye of the needle which is a 6x2 ft crack at 80ft on the wall. After another 20min (using 325) at 70-60t we move to the top of wall at 50t.

Here Susan found a nice cabezon, tons of cowries and some health hydrocorals.

After about 50min of fun we headed up the up-line and back to the boat.

ahhh yes my suit totally flooded so I had to skip the second dive :-(

I went home, got my backup-suit and went out with Joakim for a scooter spin around granite point wall.

Great day out with all BAUE members and friends.

7/18/2010 Montana aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 30' - 40' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 50F - 53F Surge: 3'
Max Depth: 170FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Wakeup this morning and looked at the window and all I could see was sense fog. We had another tech charter on the Escapade so was wondering if we were actually gone be diving today. We showed at the dock at about 8:00 and loaded the boat. Capt Jim was taking his time, talking to people not getting into his dry-suit . He was making time for the fog to lift. After other boats got to Carmel and sent reports of less fog down there we got ready and headed South.
We tried E3 but the weather was looking a little too much for that area, so we decided to get some protection and dive Montana. People dive this site from Whalers cove, but there is nothing like diving it from the boat. You can spend so much time at the site, look around and really enjoy the experience.
Susan and Rob found a couple of nice basket-starts, and there were a lot of fish, including a juv yellow eye. We found some nice hermissenda, some very large white dorids, dinora albolineata and many more.
We spend 20min at the bottom and about 20min in the shallows. We checked the old GPO den but no luck, so we spend some time looking at the small orange sea pens.
Vis was about 50ft 
7/17/2010 K2 aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 40' - 60' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 50F - 52F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 170FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:20
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
On board of the Espacade for the first of a two day diving weekend. We headed south while hoping for the “never ever land” (sur19) but we settled for a great dive at K2 peak.
Sue and I dropped on the south-east side of the pinnacle, swam over to the north and settled for a nice drift dive along the wall. I haven’t done here for a few months and I forgot how good the life and structure on the wall are. We had at least 50ft vis and at some point I could also see K1 from the valley btw K2 and K1.
After about 20min of enjoying the base, we headed up to the base of the wall and headed back. We found two nice yellow eye rock-fish, not more than 1in a piece. Really nice to see them.
We swam against the current for a little bit, and then we moved east on the wall (to get away from the current) and found a nice crack that goes from 140 to 80 and we used it to go up. There were tons of fish inside the crack, two large lincods and several vermillions.
At the top there were some nice sheep-head and tons of rock-fish.
After about 50min of fun we let go on the structure and drift our deco.
Great to be fun diving again :-)

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