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7/11/2009 Kawika's Gorgonian Garden aboard Escapade by Clinton Bauder -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Matt Vieta
Visibility: 3' - 100' Time:9:45 AM
Temp: 49F - 60F Surge:  
Max Depth: 130FSW Avg Depth: 115FSW
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:17
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
Deep Stops
5,2,2,3,3
10,5, Slow Up
 
The last 6 weeks or so have been a bit of a rough patch for me as my usual background melancholy slipped backwards into a rather profound depression. I'm not quite sure how this happened but I guess it's how life works sometimes. Now frequently depression dulls your sensations and makes it hard to care about much of anything, but other times, such as recently for me, it makes things seem that much more intense. It certainly seemed to work that way on this day and I have a funny feeling I'll be remembering the dive for a long time. Maybe not so much for any specific thing that happened, but somehow the gestalt of the day really hit me in a profound way.

Our plan for the day had been to Dive E3. Jim was taking a day off from running the boat and was diving today in the hopes of making use of his shiny new Tech 1 certification. Unfortunately the weather didn't want to cooperate and strong winds forced us to turn around before we even reached Point Pinos. Our backup plan had been the Mile Buoy Reef but there were two fishing boats already working the area so we went to plan C; a spot on the deep shale called Kawika's Gorgonian Garden.

Kawika had discovered this spot a few years ago after the CSUMB bathymetry data had been released. It is a really pretty reef with 20-30 feet of very dramatic relief and structure, especially given that the bottom is shale. It is covered in lush gorgonians with patches of Metridiums and sulpher sponges. Some of the last dives I ever did with Kawika were at this spot. I've always liked it but before today I'd never really seen it with good visibility.

This time it looked like we'd get our good vis with beautiful blue water on the surface. We jumped in with 3 teams of 2; Myself and Matt, Jim and Joakim and Allison and Kevin. Descending down the line our joy over the clear water turned to despair as the visibility at around the 20 foot mark disappeared entirely; literally going from 60 feet to less than 3 in a few inches. Happily it just as quickly cleared and as we exited the murky layer at 30 feet we could already see the Metridiums on the bottom below as we felt a chill from the clear, cold water underneath. Later we all agreed that our first thought was that we must be at the wrong spot as there was no way we should be seeing the reef at 120 feet from 30 feet. But see it we did and the vis, was, in fact spectacular.

Arriving on the bottom we first squared away a few minor equipment issues; both Kevin and I had backup lights turned on from the pressure. Then, unknown to me, Kevin and Allison inspected the downline and noticed the large lead ball anchor was missing. More on this later. Meanwhile I got out the camera and started thinking about taking pictures. Except that I couldn't think about taking pictures. I had brought the macro setup which would normally be a great choice for this site but the visibility was about 100 feet! And there were schools of rockfish of every size and variety everywhere. And the gorgonians seemed to have been placed as in a finely manicured formal garden. I was dumbstruck by the beauty of it all but also overcome by a deep sense of sadness that my friend Kawika wasn't there to see it. Jim told me after the dive he felt the same way.

After half an hour of just soaking it all in Matt and I wandered back to the top of the reef where we had begun the dive. The first thing I saw was a large surface marker, mostly inflated. I checked my bottom timer and it said 30 minutes. "That's odd" I thought. "We planned for 40 minutes, why are they sending up a bag now?" I looked at Matt and he just shrugged. Getting closer we realized there were 2 bags deployed and both of them were attached to our lead ball anchor which Kevin had apparently found and retrieved from a crack. One of the bags had a constant stream of bubbles leaking from it and the ball was clearly nowhere near neutrally buoyant. Matt and I decided to get out of the way lest we get brained by a falling ball from a failed lift bag.

While we were keeping an eye on the salvage operation I found a nice little basket star on a gorgonian and managed to get my one decent picture of the day. I think Kawika would like it. Certainly it seems appropriate to only post one picture from a dive at his site since he was so picky about pictures that he would rarely post more than one himself.

Finishing up my picture taking I looked up to see that the ball was now off the reef, but only barely. There was a line going from the ball to the surface so I assumed (correctly as it turns out) that there was a third bag which was on the surface also pulling on the ball. Matt shot our bag and we started our deco a prudent distance from the salvage. The deco was incredibly smooth and we could still see the reef up until we hit the 30 foot stop. We even had a small contingent of blue rockfish keep us company until we disappeared into the murk. Now I must say I don't like not being able to see more than 3 feet but the murky water and everything above it was 60 degrees! Certainly does make the deco more comfortable when you're warm.

Back on the surface we had an extended and completely hilarious debrief of the salvage effort. Many sarcastic comments were made about the merits of gate snaps, various types of knots, different brands of lift bags, lift bag techniques and Jim's reaction when Kevin and Allison showed him his expensive anchor separate from the upline which had already been retrieved by the boat. Jim does a really good Alan Raabe impersonation both underwater and above.
:-D

Dive two was at Eric's Pinnacle Dammit. Vis was nice there too, being at least 50 feet once you got under the layer. I tried to take pictures there too but it was just too damn nice to shoot macro and instead Matt and I decided to meander around in the kelp with the scooters admiring the nice vis and schools of fish.

My one, lonely, picture is here:
7/11/2009 Granite Point Pinnacles by Harry Wong -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Harry Wong, Ian Puleston, Mark Lloyd
Visibility: 20' - 50' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 53F Surge: 2'
Scooter: Gavin Long Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 75FSW Avg Depth: 50FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 30/30Deco Gases:O2
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
Minimum deco
 
And I thought the winter of wonderful viz in Monterey/Carmel was over, apparently it isn't! It turned out to be a perfect day to fuel my curiosity of the diving between Whaler's Cove, Point Lobos and Monastery Beach. On the underwater topo maps, you can see a never ending topography of pinnacles and reefs in that area.

Today the viz was up to 50 feet and in the summertime too!

The day did start overcast, so perhaps this kept the algae blooms down. Driving down into the parking lot of Whaler's Cove, I could see that the swell models were pretty accurate with some smaller waves crashing into the right side of the cove, definitely not a day to visit the Coal Chute Caverns. In our pre-dive briefing, Ian, Mark and I talked about possible low viz conditions and whether or not we would want to continue navigating to Mono Lobo Wall. We just left it at: "anyone can call the dive at any time." I was half thinking that this dive was just going to be a navigation exercise anyway. It turned out quite the opposite.

The plan was to traverse at 30 degrees from the end of Granite Point Wall to Mono Lobo Wall. We actually didn't know if this was doable as the route we chose traversed directly over the uncharted part of the topo maps. Still we set as our goal to head towards Mono Lobo Wall and see the hydrocorals there.

So off we go, 30 degrees from Mono Lobo Wall and we shortly came to another wall that towered straight up. The viz was so good that I could see that the top that was about 20 feet below the surface and I could see the characteristic air bubbles from the churning action of waves. That was a dead end. So much for traversing in a straight line. So continued north, then north-east to get around the various structures. There were pinnacles, valleys, channels, outcroppings and came up to yet another wonderful structure, a beautiful tall vertical crack full of gorgonians and hydrocorals.

The viz was wonderful and the topography stunning. Each area, unique and stunning, scootering in, out and through the various pinnacles.

Then as I rounded another large pinnacle, I saw what appeared to be a large dark, black chasm. I slowly and cautiously descended into it, not knowing what surprises were in store for us. Sinking down into the blackness, I got to the bottom and saw light. Mark followed with Ian watching over the top and followed after seeing that we were still going into it. It came out the other end and turned out to be a very cool and entertaining arch! I got Mark and Ian to go thru a few times to get some video footage.

We continued on a bit further and realized that the zig zagging traverse we made used up our planned run time, so we turned the dive and headed back south-west back into Whaler's Cove.

What a spectacular day of diving in a new area, I'll definitely be making a lot of future dives in this area.
7/5/2009 Granite Pt Wall by Clinton Bauder -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, John Heimann
Visibility: 35' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 54F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 65FSW Avg Depth: 35FSW
Bottom Time: 1:10 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single LP95,HP100Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
John and I got a bit of a late start as he'd been camping and I'd been diving on the 4th. After stopping for coffee and breakfast and then fills on the way in we arrived at Lobos to find the parking lot half empty and really nice looking conditions. It was partly cloudy with no wind nor waves. Water was a bit green looking but clear at the ramp. For the first dive we scootered out to Granite Point. Vis varied a bit but was generally good at around 35 feet.

Arriving onsite I stowed the scooter and was getting the camera out when I realized John had suddenly become obscured by a mist of fine bubbles. The coupling for his power inflator to the hose had come unscrewed about 1/2 a turn and the o-ring had unseated. In about the time it took me to stop laughing he had it fixed and we were off to look for slugs.

Surge was minimal and we spent about 40 minutes on site. Best finds were a very nice Phidiana hiltoni and a Dendronotus albus.

My suspect navigation took us on the scenic route on the way home via Hole In the Wall. Seems like every time I come back from Granite Point Wall I never go far south enough and always over-shoot the end of the Middle Reef.

For dive two we surveyed transect five and then meandered around the Middle Reef. The warbonnet on transect four is still missing and there is still an octopus in the hole, Itchy and scratchy weren't home either. We did find a warbonnet out in the open up behind transect four.

Pictures Here
7/3/2009 Ed's Wall aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Robert Lee, Allison Lee
Visibility: 20' - 50' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 48F - 55F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 218FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: LP104,HP120Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
 
Robert and Allison organized a birthday dive for Susan on board Capt Phil's boat last Friday. The Weather Gods gave Susan an additional gift of super diving conditions for July 3th. Flat ocean, no swell, and no fog :-).

With such good conditions we decided to head for Ed's wall which is located on the west side of Point Lobos.

As we motored out to the dive site we encountered a large pod of Risso dolphins (AKA: Birthday Dolphins). Suddenly, a random, unfortunate boating maneuver accidentally caused all divers to fall into the water. Before we were able to exit the water, we had a great underwater view of the pod ;-)

As a group of dolphins passed under & to the side of us several times, one of the dolphins repeatedly turned around and looked at us. I think it was wishing Sue a happy birthday dive :-) Yay.

We continued on and anchored at the site, geared up, and went for our dive. The water was warm near the surface, but clear and cold (48) at depth, and it promised to be a beautiful dive. Once we landed at the 130ft mark we looked at the wide, deep hole (30x30x20ft) situated at the top of the wall and headed north-west along the wall.

We soon reached a deep canyon that we have always wanted to check out and followed the right side for a few minutes. We found a basket star, two Tochuina tetraquetra feeding on gorgonians, and a large vase sponge which was a little too deep for us to have a detailed look at it.

From there we followed the wall south-west. In a horizontal crack we found a gigantic gunnel of some sort (possibly a 6-spotted?) approximately 7 inches long, just sitting on the ledge as though admiring the view from its perch. We continued on, and immediately came across a huge school of rock-fish at one of the shallow peaks. There had to be a thousand fish forming dense & ever-moving dark clouds over the pinnacle!

We considered following the contour of the wall to begin our ascent at the 70' peak, but the lure of the schooling rockfish drew us back to the 120' peak area to conclude the bottom-portion of the dive.

We amused ourselves by observing 'deco-critters' on the way up. Perhaps due to the warmer water (55-57 degrees), there were hundreds of tiny jellies pulsating their way through the water column at various tempos.

On the 20ft stop, I heard squeaking & clicking noises, and began looking for dolphins. We weren't able to see any, but Phil confirmed that the pod had indeed swam right by us on their way out to deeper waters.

For our post dive decompression we had (Kitty especial) Russian Chocolate Pavlova which made for a perfect birthday dive day :-)











7/2/2009 Pondarosa by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team:
Visibility:   Time:10:19 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth:   Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
7/1/2009 Pondarosa by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kevin Dow, Joseph (Karl) Haywood
Visibility: 50' - 100' Time:10:19 AM
Temp: 81F Surge:  
Max Depth: 49FSW Avg Depth: 25FSW
Bottom Time: 1:50 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double AL80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Today was the first day of Karl’s cave trip in Mexico. After spending the first part of the morning working on getting tanks, checking in with Zero-G on the latest info nd grabbing our tanks from the local fill station.

For a shake out dive we chose to go to an old favorite and dive at Pondarosa up the Little Joe line. This is a line that starts just to the left of the cavern line right at the halocline before briefly jumping above it before descending below it for the next 500 feet or so. Eventually it takes a sharp left and rises above it and passes by the Cenote Little Joe. Looking up into the Cenote I was surprised to see a murky green layer. Normally it is very clear on the surface and you can see the tree branches waving above, but I think the recent rains had washed a bit of schmutz into the entrance.

Continuing on past Little Joe we passed through the minor restriction and quickly came to Cenote Zacil Ha. This is a really beautiful cenote that meanders for quite a bit. At various points there holes in the roof that allowed light beams to penetrate and light up the surface. It is right around Zacil Ha that the cave becomes incredibly decorated with various orange tinged decorations everywhere you look.

Shortly after passing the double line arrows we attempted to jump to the right to the Dune room, but unfortunately what I though was the unmarked jump turned out to be a false lead. We quickly retraced our steps and continued just a short way further before turning the dive on gas. On the way back I showed Karl the jump where the cave changes from upstream to downstream back by Cenote Zacil Ha.

Eventually we made it back to our reel and after a quick check of gas decided to run the cavern line. Cenote Coral was also showing a heavy green tinge in the surface water as well as a noticeable hydrogen sulfide layer. We made it to the end of the cavern line and spent a few moments looking at the tree roots that were hanging down in the water before heading back out.

All in all a great first dive for the trip.
6/27/2009 Pt Lobos by Dionna House -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Nathalie Udo, Mark Lloyd, Dionna House
Visibility: 10' - 40' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 51F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 100FSW Avg Depth: 60FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:10
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 

Thanks to all that came out to the BAUE Invitational Summer Solstice. There were definitely lots of friends, laughing and plenty of fruits, veggies, chips and salsa to share. We gathered at the usual time and pondered at the conditions of the sea. Some chose to sit and socialize, some chose to hike, and other did the usual diving. The beauty of Pt Lobos is there is always something to do for the outdoorsy people. Todd Sieber’s son spotted a baby octopus on the boat ramp. We all performed operation “Octopus Rescue”, without being inked we watched the little cephalopod dart out to safety. The birds were looking fairly hungry for sushi. I teamed up with Mark L and Nathalie Udo. We decided to go out to the Lone Metridium and evaluate the conditions to swim out to the Sisters. We geared and started a long kick out. Mark led the dive. Conditions were about 30ft at the Lonely Metridium. Not bad so we continued a little north west… better vis at different spots. Then we turned due North and swam out to Beto’s Reef. We hung out there until turn time came. Mark spotted a cool Dirona out at Beto’s Reef. On the way back, there were several lingcods out. We got back near the Lone Metridium and swam east to Hole in the Wall. Once we hit 40ft, I swam up to stop Mark, Nathalie wanted to practice an ascent for her check out tech rating dive the next day. Poor Nathalie had to witness two buddies duking it out. ;-) We came up and swam in.

Lunch time was filled with food, dive stories laughs and lies. We talked about possible solutions for keeping Pt Lobos open, and had some good laughs. The tide was coming in and Mark started talking about dive 2. Ugh, I was so tired. He wasn’t going to take my maybe as a NO. Fortunately the next dive was going to be via scooter. With the tide coming in, it was easy getting the scooter and extra bottles in and out. It is the cure for being lazy!!! I’m glad I was talked into diving again.
Dive 2: More exploration out near Lonely Metridium, canyons near-by, structures that run north east of the sisters. We came back on the 70ft contour north of Middle Reef. The vis was spectacular, about 50-60ft. We came in on the west side of Middle Reef and surfaced laughing. Great Dive!!! Sun was out and the conditions were obviously beautiful.

Dive 3 was at Plumes: I had the extra extra octane coffee. Than off to Siamese Bay for more food and laughs.

After 3 long quarters of Nursing School... this was a great way to start the summer!!!
6/14/2009 Montana by Dionna House -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Harry Babicka, Mark Lloyd, Harry Wong
Visibility: 30' - 60' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 52F Surge: 1'
Max Depth: 145FSW Avg Depth: 130FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Double LP95Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
 
On Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to dive with Mark L, Harry B and the Doc. Since none of us were able to get on the tech boat, we decided as team to take a trip out to Montana. Harry was ranting and raving about how great the visibility was on Thursday. The seas have been continuously flat. We socialized a little bit and schlepped our tanks and scooters out to the float. We got specific instructions from Doc about how he wanted to video the reef and that we were to look like we were having loads of FUN!!! We did our GUE EDGE and off we went. Harry B and I were one team and Doc and Mark was the other. Doc led the three of us out to Montana. We made it out to Granite Point Wall and shot out North West with the Granite Point Pinnacle to our right. We found Doc¡¦s favorite tie off rock and ran the reel out to Montana. The plan was to circumnavigate around Montana while Doc took video. We stopped at one point to admire the huge school of juvenile blue rockfish, it was very peaceful. The vis was about 60feet, the temp¡K well let us just say¡K I was not cold. Doc signaled us to do our modeling and fly bys with the scooter. We zooooom zoooomed pass him with big smiles on our faces just like synchronized swimmersƒº. At one point of the dive I actually heard Mark L laughing. God only knows what Dandy Melonway was doing while on camera!! LOL!! I gave Doc my big smile and posed and off I went. Time flies when you are having fun out there. It was time to go back to the reel and make our way back to Granite Point Wall for deco. Doc reeled in as we watched attentively. As we cruised along the wonderful pinnacles I was thinking how great this experience is. We arrived at our deco stop on time. We all made our gas switches with our primary buddy and paraded back into the cove for a relaxing deco. We managed to zoom past Chad and Doug in the sand channel. I heard Chad came down to our 20ft stop to say Hi¡K I never saw him though. He said we looked focused!! ;-) We came in and had a wonderful lunch together and debriefed. I guess I have to get better at holding my light at a 45 degree angle ƒ¼ while being videoed, such minor details for such a wonderful dive. Thanks Doc. You did a great job!!!! It is awesome to go out there with a team of 3-4 divers, it¡¦s the only way to travel.

Here is the video: http://www.baue.org/images/galleries/v/videos/scootering_montana.mp4.html

Enjoy
6/13/2009 Midway Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava, Joseph (Karl) Haywood
Visibility: 30' - 50' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 53F Surge: 3'
Scooter: Gavin Short Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 201FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Every year BAUE organizes some diving trips to the Big-Sur area. These trips vary from recreational diving near the coast, to more advanced sites including Big Sur Banks Pinnacles.

July and August typically bring the calmest weather of the year, although this can change from year to year. For example last year October was actually the calmest month for going down the coast, and we had to endure some pretty bumpy rides on our July-Aug trips.

On Saturday we decided to push our luck and see if we could made it down the coast. We have had 2 weeks of incredibly calm ocean, so we were crossing our fingers for another smooth day on the sea.

On Saturday morning we woke up and opened the shutters to look at the ocean from our home in Seaside. Unfortunately we could not see the ocean as a thick bank of the fog had moved in to threaten our ocean view. We decided to ignore the fog and hope that it would lift by the time we got to our dive site destination, Mid-way Pinnacle.

Between the Big Sur lighthouse and the famous Big Sur Banks pinnacles there is a forgotten series of rocks which we have been calling Mid-way Pinnacles. It's too deep to dive during the recreational trips and not too far out that the site is attractive to the adv tech divers looking for the Big Sur Banks hydrocorals, so divers seldom visit this pinnacle.

The top of the pinnacle is at 120-130ft and the base is at 200ft. The top is similar to the 19SUR and 20SUR sites with tons of healthy bushy hydrocoral.

The base of the pinnacle is different to 19-20SUR because it actually goes deeper. At the base there are big boulders, small arches, and a tall wall which gives protection to many species of fish. We often see more Yellow Eye rockfish at this site than any other in Big Sur. The yellow eye rockfish are of all sizes, from 1 to 2 inch juveniles, to 2 - 3 ft healthy adults.

By the time we arrived at the site the fog was high in the sky, the swells were small, and there waasn't much current at the surface.

Capt Bligh's crew deployed the hook, and soon after the three teams jumped in the water and went for their dives.

There was minimal current all the way to 100ft, but the moment we reached 120ft you could see a big curve on the down-line as we encountered a strong bottom current.

We headed west towards the base of the structure and did a 360 degrees loop around the perimeter at the bottom. We saw tons of fish and my favorite area was the SE portion. The current was quite strong so we motored against it for a while and rode it back as we completed our circle.

After about 20min at the bottom we decided to move shallower to enjoy 15min of looking at the hydrocoral bushes. As we tried to move up, the current was super strong and kept pushing us down. We had to point the scooters up-hill and get in good trim position in order to reach the shallows and it took a good 3 minutes to 'climb the hill'. About 15 ft above us we could see the swimming team of Clinton, Jo, and Matt kicking for dear life so as not to be pushed down the pinnacle.

While at 150ft we looped the pinnacle one more time and we saw Clinton, Matt and Joakin holding on to the down-line :-0, looking like 3 flags blowing in the wind. Shortly after we saw the Kitty Team working on photo composition at the SE top area.

We soon deployed our SMB at the top of the pinnacle to drift our deco. The strange thing was that once we left the top, the current was much milder. Once our bag was up, we stayed near the upline for quite a long time.

Because of its remote location and the fact that Mid-way sticks up from 'out of no-where' like a sky-scraper in the middle of the desert, this pinnacle seems to get some wild & erratic water flow. More than one current converges here, and you basically never know what to expect when you dive this site!

For the second dive we spent about 30min diving the shallow portion of Lobos Rocks while getting buzzed & barked at by sea lions :-). This is the funniest diving in the North Coast... not only because of the barking lions, but due to the roller-coaster surge close to the rocks. While clouds of white-water explode over your head, your sinuses had better be in good shape to endure the 'rodeo ride' at Lobos Rocks.

We scootered around the west rock, and attempted to look composed while posing for our extremely optimistic BAUE photographers-- who were seemingly undaunted by the surge.

It was another great day on the Big Sur Coast!




6/13/2009 Midway Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kevin Dow, Allison Lee, Robert Lee
Visibility: 20' - 40' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 54F Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 170FSW Avg Depth: 150FSW
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:20
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double HP100Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
 
With the seas so flat we were able to head farther south then normal for a tech trip. The site selection was to be Midway pinnacle. I had heard about Midway from others but never gotten a chance to dive it as normally when we head that far south, we are very Big Sur Banks focused. Beto showed me the site in Global mapper a week prior and it looked like a lot of fun.

Team Kitty was staying down in Montery overnight on Friday so there was talk of a group buy of Breakfast burritos at Baldamero's in the morning. Unfortunately when morning came we has a wussification in the team and it looked like the plan was falling apart. At the last minute though we pulled a backup plan together and I went over myself to purchase the BBs for Beto and myself.

The ride out to the site was nice and smooth and the weather ceiling kept rising which brought out smiles with everybody.

At the site after a first failed attempt the Escapade got the hook and float set on the pinnacle and announced that there didn't appear to be any current running as the float and line was upright. Jumping in seemed to confirm this as we had all the time in the world to get to the float and start our descent.

On the way down however things began to change. Soon we could see the down line vibrating intensely in the current and we started to have to use the scooters to keep position.

Once we hit the top of the pinnacle we exchanged a quick series of okays before heading down to our target depth. The side of the reef is very colorful and I saw a newer type of Nudibranch that I had not seen before so I attempted to call Allison over as she is my "expert" Allison though was occupied with looking at a warbonnet so I waited a bit before she came over looked at it and gave me a "its a common one" look.

At this point we were feeling a bit battered with dealing with the current, so we elected to move clockwise round the pinnacle to get into the lee side. As we rounded the point the current kept getting strong and stronger until we had to kick the scooters up to 5 just to make headway.

We soon found out that there was no lee side for the current as on the opposite side we found that instead of pushing us down and away from the reef it was now pushing us into and up the reef.

After a few more minutes of this we headed to the top of the pinnacle where things were whipping over the tops of the bushy hydrocoral. This was perhaps the funnest part of the dive as it was essentially a drift dive. We would use scooters to get to one end reef then drift back across the reef looking at the scenery. Once on the far side it was back on the scooters to get into position again. After about a half dozen times of this we were at our allotted dive time and shot the bag and started our ascent.

There were lots of little deco critters to keep oneself occupied on the way up. The temperature slowly rising as we ascended through the water column also made for a relaxing deco.

For the surface interval we pigged out on Breakfast burritos and Pineapple slices. The Escapade had laid out a feast for us with Cup-a-soup, sandwiches, hot tea, goodies & new KFC grilled chicken. Everybody agreed that the chicken was a big hit.

For dive two the rest of the boat elected to do a recreational dive at Lobos Rocks. Karl and myself were already in dry clothes and content stayed on the boat and relaxed.

Gallery here: http://www.baue.org/images/galleries/v/local/June+Tech+Boat/

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