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7/17/2010 Carmel River Beach aboard XSTA Sea by Dionna House -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Dionna House, Carol Cohn, Larry Cohn
Visibility: 30' - 50' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 48F - 51F Surge:  
Max Depth: 90FSW Avg Depth: 65FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 0:45
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
I had two wonderful dives with Carol and Larry Cohn off XTA Sea. First site was Jawdropper. I was trying out my new zipseal DUI drygloves. Vis was about 45-50ft and water temp was about 49-50F. We saw a large cabezon, decorator crabs and many other usual suspects. My hands stayed warm and happy. On the ride back to Monterey we waved to the divers on the Escapade and later hung out with a big pod of Risso dolphins. Second dive was at Trevors in Monterey. Some current on the bottom, vis was about 30ish feet. Usual suspects seen. My hands stayed warm and happy. Fun Time!!!
7/4/2010 Butterfly House aboard Escapade by Kenn Hwang -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Steve Dawson
Visibility: 30' - 30' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 50F Surge: 1'
Max Depth: 83FSW Avg Depth: 59FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
I really appreciate the number of charters we've been having this year. The 4th of July trip was another 6.5 hour attempt to head south in search of blue water. When we arrived at Butterfly House, I thought it was the first time I've been there, but apparently we were there on the 3/14 boat as well. And the dive profile was nearly identical as well. The dive was characterized by great viz and awesome structure, it reminded me of being inside of a maze.

The second dive was at Eric's Pinnacle, which I certainly haven't seen before. The viz around the point had dropped drastically, and the surface was brown-green. Once we dropped 20ft or so, the layer lifted and we ended up with a nice 15ft or so of viz, just fine for exploring the small pinnacle. We circled our way up several times, noting multiple treefish near the bottom and a school of blue rockfish orbiting the top. The viz was a flurry of little sea creatures that made it difficult to see anything other than light and blue gloves, and since we missed the anchor on the way down, we surfaced farther than anyone else.

Susan and Beto hosted everyone afterwards to a great cook-out, which left me quite comatose by the time we got back to the Lone Oak.

Dive video: Butterfly House and Eric's Pinnacle

Party pics:

Post-dive snacks galore!


Sleepy...


"The Cornmeister"


You won't be smiling when you see the next picture!


Steve hits the jackpot
6/27/2010 Pt Lobos by Kenn Hwang -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kenn Hwang, Ted Pimentel
Visibility: 10' - 15' Time:11:00 AM
Temp: 47F - 53F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 93FSW Avg Depth: 38FSW
Bottom Time: 2:21 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Divers in the Mist

Sunday was a Lobos day with Ted. Lots of visitors were in the park, and not too many divers--pretty much the regular crowd.

We spent a few minutes admiring the Lees' new, completely decked out, customized, loaded, and not-at-all-creepy dive van:




There was thick fog blanketing Carmel and Lobos as we rolled into town. But it seemed to disappear by the time we were ready to dive:



Well, it seems like the haze had just fallen from the sky into the water; after a short, sunny surface kick, we descended back into a milky white fog, and pretty much got ourselves immediately lost. So much for making it out to the 3 Sisters. Still, we took a bearing and started kicking, and after 20 minutes or so found ourselves at Sea Mount. Wow. So we headed to Beto's Reef instead, and ran into a scooter team on their way back in. It's pretty awesome swimming out there by yourselves, and suddenly seeing a gaggle of bright headlights coming at you!

After a short stint on the deep end, we made our way back to Middle Reef and Coal Chute Cove, where we spent the next two hours checking out various dead jelly parts (so that's what's been feeding the huge schools of blue rockfish) and almost falling onto the largest lingcod I've seen at Lobos. It was so big it just sat there ignoring us for the entire 5 minutes we circled it.

Just goes to show, you don't need great viz to have a great dive!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJfU1x_t9_Q

It was good to see Beto back in the water! He and Susan arrived after we started our dive, and emerged as we were finishing our clean-up.
6/22/2010 Uncle Phil's Deep Trench aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kevin Dow, Joseph (Karl) Haywood
Visibility: 60' Time:9:44 AM
Temp: 50F Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 278FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:20 Total Time: 1:51
Bottom Gases: 15/65Deco Gases:EAN50,O2,21/35
Backgas Config: Double HP120Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
6's, 30 6 up
 
A tale of three dives – Part three

Uncle Phil’s Deep Trench/Crinoid Canyon-n-n-n

The final dive was to be Karl H’s going away dive. Karl had completed his Masters degree here in Monterey and was in the midst of packing for his move down to San Diego. He graciously took a day off to dive with me on Phil’s Rib.

For this dive we targeted a bit of new area that is marked on the map as Uncle Phil’s Deep Trench but has also been referred to Phil as Crinoid Canyon. Phil had dove it just the other day and he said that for sure we would see Crinoids.

After gear checks and a quick splash we headed down to do our final checks and adjustments of equipment that may have gotten moved around after the back roll we traded okays, pointed our scooters down and hit the trigger. As it got darker and darker we started wondering when we would ever hit bottom. Thankfully we did and after a quick orientation we headed down the slope into the canyon. One the way down we had a positive moment as we immediately saw a rock with two crinoids sitting on top.

We meandered right along the canyon without seeing any more crinoids but came upon a nice Rat Fish hanging out on the bottom. I made sure to point him out to Karl as just a few minutes prior on the boat he had been remarking that he had not seen one while he was here. The Rat Fish took the opportunity of having our lights about to quickly chomp down something he had been eyeing on the bottom. We were happy to be of service!

After seeing a single lonely basket star on a Gorgonian the wall petered out so we reversed course and headed in the opposite direction. Here was where all the Crinoids were hanging out. It seems like every rock had at least four or five of them! No matter where you looked there they were in all sizes. Also in evidence were quite a few juvenile fish.

All too quickly we were out of bottom time so we it the trigger to start our ascent. We quickly passed by D3 and a small pinnacle west of E3 before ending up F3/G3 where we completed our ascent. All in all a wonderful dive.
6/20/2010 Outer Outer Pinnacles aboard Escapade by Clinton Bauder -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Jim Capwell
Visibility: 70' - 100' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 46F - 50F Surge: 1'
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 165FSW Avg Depth: 140FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80,HP120Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
Deep Stops
5,3,3,3,3,
17, 6 up.
 
This has been a rough year for local diving and for me personally. The weather has been consistently awful, and the worst of it has consistently coincided with dates I was to be diving. Add in some distractions and illness and I'm way behind on my dive quota for the year. Saturday was a good start in erasing that with a great dive at the East Pinnacle followed by some low-vis branching at the shale. Sunday I was diving with Jim for a T1 dive and we hoped to repeat the previous day's "run down to Carmel and get a dive in before the wind kicks up" plan.

As on Saturday the wind hadn't really started when we left the dock and we headed South. As on Saturday the water cleared up at Cypress Point and we dropped the downline at Lunaticos Annex at the Outer, Outer Pinnacles. Immediately upon descending we knew it was going to be epic. The reef was visible below us almost immediately and we knew the top was about 110 feet. The upper water column was filled with jellies promising an entertaining deco.

Arriving on the bottom we were presented with the sad sight of a relatively newly dead sea lion. Well, I guess starfish have eat too. Moving deeper John, Matt and Kevin found a ratfish cruising at the base of the wall and it patiently hung out as I tried to figure out how to take pictures of a 2 foot long fish with the 105 mm macro lens. Yes, I'd brought macro. I was tired from the previous day and didn't feel like re-configuring the camera. I was also worried that we might be limited to something in the bay where wide angle would have been pointless. Instead I was in Carmel in 100 foot vis. Ah well, time to look for macro subjects...

...And it didn't much looking to find said macro subjects. There were interesting nudibranchs everywhere. So many that I didn't really do justice to some of the photo ops as I buzzed around like an over-caffinated hummingbird in a field of flowers. Good fun. Highlights included Cuthona albocrusta, Catriona columbiana and Doriopsilla spaldingi.

All too soon our bottom time was up and Jim send up our surface marker. About this time it began to occur to me that the water was cold. Really cold. I hadn't noticed while I was busy with the camera but now that we were sitting still, decompressing I started getting really cold. Note to self: Get that new drysuit and undergarment ordered ASAP! Eventually as we settled into the long 20 foot stop I unclipped the camera and started shooting the weird little critters floating by and this started warming me up, or possibly just distracting me from being cold. Either way the rest of the deco went by fairly quickly.

Back on the boat everyone had a grin from ear to ear. Definitely the best dive of the year so far. With the wind coming up we decided get out of dodge and call it a day. Next stop was Henry's BBQ on Lighthouse Ave. Summary: Great pulled pork and sweet potato fries, Meh tri tip and friendly but very slow service. Good thing I drank lots of Iced Tea or I think the food coma might have been a problem on the way home.

Pictures here:

http://www.baue.org/images/galleries/v/local/TechnicalBranching/
6/20/2010 Lunaticos Annex aboard Escapade by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kevin Dow, John Heimann, Matt Vieta
Visibility: 80' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F Surge: 1'
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 187FSW Avg Depth: 81FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double HP100Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
5,3's 9,9
 
A tale of three dives – Part Deux
Lunaticos Annex

Sunday dawned not quite as bright and cheery as Saturday but filled with optimism. We made it around the point on Saturday and had great viz. Today couldn’t be much worse.

After loading gear up on the boat and having a brief commiseration with Allison who was gracefully bowing out of the boat trip to help Rob with video for his class we headed out for out tech trip.

Making it around the point was about the same as before. Snotty at the mouth of the bay and then settling down a bit. We spent the time on the way down watching John H scarf down some cup-o-noodles and telling some of his (in)famous jokes. There was a brief discussion of dive sits and Jim suggested going to a spot he had dove before that was called Lunaticos Annex. As it was in the same area as our dive yesterday and that didn’t turn out to be a bad dive so the group went with it. This would turn out to be a really good choice!

Quickly we pulled up dropped the ball and got into our gear. After a quick gear match/check/plan review we splashed. Once again no current and viz even better than yesterday as it was approaching 80+ feet.

John H, Matt V and I were diving as a team with me videoing. The ball was placed perfectly on a ledge on the side of the pinnacle in about 140’ of water. We descended along the sand channel that runs between the two reefs before jumping a small ridge to see our first cool surprise of the dive. In a little divot/hole were 4 large examples of vase sponges arranged so nicely. After admiring them for a bit we continued on for a bit.
We next came across our second surprise of the day. There hanging out at around 165 was a beautiful example of a Rat Fish. What was so cool to me was how mellow he was. The only other Rat Fish that I have seen took off pretty quickly. This fellow was content to hang around an let us marvel and film him to our hearts content. At one point I turned around to find Clinton attempting to take pictures of the fish from ten feet away as was shooting Macro that day. With the bright clear water, his pictures turned out very well. Our final surprise was found by Matt when he found a couple of mating Doriopsilla Spaldingi. What a pretty slug with its bright iridescent blue edges.

Our deco was amusing as we spent time looking at the various jellies that drifted by. Everyone agreed though that the water temps were a bit on the cold side. Hopefully this will continue to give us clear waters for a while.
6/19/2010 East Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Clinton Bauder -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Melissa Litwicki
Visibility: 70' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 47F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 70FSW Avg Depth: 55FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single HP100Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
The wind had been howling in Monterey for at least a week and the forecast for the weekend didn't look promising predicting 15-25 knot winds. Conditions inside the bay where we might be sheltered were known to be mediocre with recent reports all indicating very bad visibility. Jim sent me an email on Friday asking me what I wanted to do about the charter. As I've missed way too much diving this year for various reasons I stubbornly said I wanted to go diving, damn the conditions.

Having done that I then spent the next 24 hours, and especially the drive down to Monterey fretting that I might have committed other people to getting up early and driving 2 hours for the pleasure of getting seasick and diving next to the breakwater in 5 foot vis. As we first caught glimpse of the ocean near the beach hotel my spirits started to lift as there was nary a whitecap in sight. At the dock Jim seem at least willing to give Carmel a look and off we went.

The right down was a bit bumpy but certainly nothing too scary. We wondered a bit about what kind of ride home we were committing ourselves too and promptly forgot about that as we rounded Cypress Point. There the ugly greenish-brown water rapidly transitioned to a beautiful deep blue. As anchored at the East Pinnacle Captain Greg reported practically being able to see all the way down the line to the top of the reef. Sweet.

I jumped in and went to put my mask on my head to see for myself. Naturally the strap came right off the mask. The buckle has been partially broken for months and I had neglected to do anything about it. Probably a lesson there somewhere. Fortunately in addition to the non-prescription backup in my drysuit pocket I had another prescription mask in my bag which the crew promptly retrieved for me. The delay meant we weren't first down the line but ah well, no real harm.

The visibility, if anything, was actually better than Greg reported. Melissa and I were able to see Allison, Jim and Erik on the reef the second we started our descent. We started off by heading west and then began a slow counter-clockwise tour of the pinnacle admiring the lovely hydrocoral. Surge was minimal and conditions couldn't have been much better. Not having a camera on this dive I immediately found a Cuthona lagunae. For whatever reason I never can find this species when I do have a camera but regularly see it when I don't. We found loads of other slugs as well including literally dozens of Hermissendas and Flabellina trilineatas.

At the East side of the pinnacle we encountered a large, tight school of blue rockfish. This was the first time I'd seen a school like this in at least 4 years which was certainly heartening. Hopefully they will recover now with the Outer Pinnacles being protected by the MLPA. Also saw several cabezon sitting right on top of the reef.

After about 40 minutes we started getting cold so we headed up. Looking at the conditions we decided discretion was the better part of valor and we headed back to Monterey. I might have preferred to go park at Stillwater cove and heckle the US Open but OTOH beating against 25 knot winds and 8 foot wind waves didn't sound like fun so I think we made the right choice.

Being cold (and looking looking at the icky green water at the shale) Melissa decided to sit out dive two. I buddied up with Allison. Visibility on the bottom near Shale Island varied from 5 to maybe 15 feet. Making up for this was the variety of slugs and we had a pleasant dive poking around and looking at small stuff.

In the end a really nice day of diving which all goes to show that forecasts are only good for keeping you occupied at work during the week. Except in extreme cases they shouldn't be used to talk yourself out of diving. Always go look. Otherwise you'll miss out on the days with 70 foot vis and no surge at the East Pinnacle.

Shale Pictures here:

http://www.baue.org/images/galleries/v/local/SlugsAndSnailsonShale/
6/19/2010 East Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Kenn Hwang -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Nick Radov, Andrew Bell
Visibility: 40' - 60' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 48F - 50F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 87FSW Avg Depth: 49FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Diving the BAUE Rec Charter with Nick and Andrew.

I left for Monterey early, expecting a rush from the US Open, but apparently golf spectators are late risers, and traffic wasn't a problem. CHP was out in force along 101 and 152 though.

The first site was East Pinnacles, and considering the marginal conditions from earlier in the week we didn't really know what to expect. When we dropped, I was surprised to see the conditions were more or less phenomenal. 40-50ft (or greater) viz, and if the other dive teams weren't behind one of the pinnacles, you could almost always see them. The pinnacles are covered in densely packed pink and purple hydrocorals, with corynactis packed in between.

Since the wind and swells were scheduled to pick up significantly in the afternoon, we pulled anchor and retreated back into the bay for dive 2. We parked at Shale Island, where Chuck T. and apparently everyone else diving off a boat had the same idea. On dropping, everything was pea-soup green, and viz was maybe 5ft, opening up to 10 in places. The best part of the dive was that the sun would continually break through the cloud cover, and every time it did it was like someone turned on an emerald-green floodlight. Then the clouds would come back in a minute later and everything would go dim again. I also saw my first mermaid's purse (no idea if it's from a skate/ray or shark though). In all a great day to dive.

Short video up on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0WJ4-eadZk
6/19/2010 East Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kevin Dow
Visibility: 60' Time:9:24 AM
Temp: 50F Surge:  
Max Depth: 87FSW Avg Depth: 64FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
A tale of three dives – Part 1

East Pinnacle.

Saturdays started off with a bit of a downer vibe as there was the possibility that once again like many of the past boat trips this year we might not be able to make it around the point. Jim was a bit concerned that all during the week the winds had picked up pretty quickly in day making for some snotty boating weather. Never the less we resolved to poke our nose out and see if we could make it around.

There was a bit of a tense moment once we got just outside the bay as we all were waiting for that tell tale sound of the boat engine throttling back signaling another trip of Monterey Bay diving but the seas settled down a bit after getting through the confused waters out at the point. Soon after we were on our way south to East Pinnacle.

Arriving at the site we found the seas not too rough so we quickly geared up and splashed in the water. We immediately noticed two things. 1) that the water was incredibly blue and clear and 2) no surface current at all. This was going to be a good dive.

Descending down the anchor line and almost immediately seeing the site was just joy. We ended up taking a bit of a northerly heading and just exploring the nooks and the crannies in the various canyons that seem to spread out from the pinnacle. Lots and lots of slugs abounded which made me wish I was more of a slug-o-phile and could name them, but alas. We did find nice example of a Dirona albolineata which I think might be my favorite slug. He was the size of a tennis ball and just curled up along the wall hanging out.

After a few more minute we curled back around the peak to the anchor line before setting off to another pinnacle just in the distance. After doing a slow lap around this just admiring the hydro-coral we came back for a final lap around the pinnacle before heading up the line. Above us was Clinton and Melissa enjoying deco and below was Jim, Allison and another happily sticking their noses deep into the walking stick kelp looking at nudibranchs. All in all a wonderful dive.
5/31/2010 Rock Garden by Matt Vieta -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Leah Vieta, Matt Vieta
Visibility: 20' - 30' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 50F Surge: 2'
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time: 0:25
Max Depth: 60FSW Avg Depth: 45FSW
Bottom Time: 1:18 Total Time: 1:18
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single LP104,HP120Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
min
 
After an exhausting trip back from Montana, Leah and I decided to be lazy on Monday and sleep in. Kevin was kind enough to give us his Lobos reservation for the day, so off we went!

Leah has been wanting to do a fun dive at Lobos with her camera for quite a while, but it kept getting postponed. We finally made it! We headed out to the Rock Garden area and enjoyed a long, relaxing dive. The slugs were out in force, especially Phidiana hiltoni. We also had 2 separate encounters with Cuthona divae!

Turned the dive on cold and met up with the boat divers at La Tortuga for dive #2.

Some pictures are here

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