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8/28/2009 Flag Rockfish Triangle aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Robert Lee -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Robert Lee, Allison Lee, Kevin Dow
Visibility: 60' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 226FSW Avg Depth: 220FSW
Bottom Time: 0:25 Total Time: 1:34
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double HP120Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
 
For reasons unexplained, Allison, Kevin and I decided to revisit the site of our last T2 experience dive, the SS Sand, aka Flag Rockfish triangle.

After spending quite a bit of time going back and forth over the GPS numbers trying to get some kind of relief to register on the depth sounder, we finally threw the hook and took our chances. As we geared up, I kept nervously looking at the drag on the GPS, but Phil assured us that we weren't dragging.

We splashed into a murky layer of 5' viz that went down to about 40' or so, and thick with sea nettles. After clearing about 50' or so, the viz opened up quite nicely to give us clear, dark water all the way down to the bottom. At about 180' or so, we could start to see the many metridium that are growing on the rock pile below, so we were excited that we would at least have something to dive :-)

As soon as we reached the bottom, I came face to face with a large basket star and a vase sponge (or boot sponge for those sticklers out there). We worked the rock pile (which is probably only 5-8' off tall, finding tons of little baby lingcod (some as small as 12-18"). At one point, we took a jaunt out over the sand to look for the mysterious pink worm-like critter we had spotted previously, but we didn't end up finding it. As we headed back to the "reef", I found a crinoid (my first) (though I found out later that a much easier way to see crinoids is to go to British Columbia... :-) )

Deco was spent dodging sea nettles. The top murky layer was much warmer (high 50's), so that was a very welcome way to finish out :-)

Some pictures here.

8/15/2009 19SUR aboard Cypress Sea by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Joseph (Karl) Haywood, Marc Hall
Visibility: 60' - 60' Time:10:30 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth: 160FSW Avg Depth: 140FSW
Bottom Time: 0:45 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 21/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Our first Big Sur trip of the year was on Aug 15th :-). We spent a lot of time planning and organizing the trip so it was great to finally “go diving" :-).

We boarded the Cypress Sea at 5:30am and the boat left the dock on time at 6:00am.

We arrived at the Banks to find reasonable weather conditions. The fog was high on the sky, swell were in the 4-5ft range and the current did not look too bad at the surface. What else can you ask for?

We have decided to conduct 3 dives instead of 4 in order to relax the schedule and allow for more time to set the hook, and get the divers in and out of the water.

The target for the first trip was Sur 19. This is the most colorful of the pinnacles in the area so it made sense to dive this one first and increase the changes of getting down and doing some documentation work.

The divers on the first shift were Clinton/Nick and Matt/JohnH. The teams were dropped upstream on the down-line and they were able to reach the ball and head down without major issues. After surfacing they reported very little current, great visibility and a large wolf eel in the open, as well tons of rock fish including adults and juveniles.

After such a report the second shift of, Karl/MarcH/Beto and Allison/Robert/Kevin got on the way for their dive. In order to limited the dives to 3 the second shift did a longer bottom time (but only one dive). 45min was the set bottom time for the divers and they spend quite a lot of time taking photos and video of the site. A large school of rock-fish rushing down from the top of the pinnacle was one of the high-light of the dives, as well as the amazing hydro-corals at the shallow peaks.

Here is a link to photos from the trip as well as a short video clip.

We’re looking forward to the second trip of the season.
8/8/2009 Naia Wall aboard Escapade by Matt Vieta -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Jim Capwell, Matt Vieta
Visibility: 60' - 80' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 48F Surge:  
Max Depth: 152FSW Avg Depth: 140FSW
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 1:05
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
5, 2, 2, 3, 3, 8, 8 + 3up
 
The plan for Saturday was to go out to Naia's wall on the Escapade. It is a site Clinton and I had never been to before, and came highly recommended by Jim - who was getting wet! We were joined on the boat by the kitties and Karl/Marc Hall.

Driving into Monterey there was quite a bit of fog, and I was worried it might not bode well for a trip just south of Lobos. It started to clear out as we were loading the boat, and as we rounded point Pinos, it looked like less of a concern.

The seas weren't quite as calm as last weekend; at one point a set of doubles decided to make an unannounced departure from their resting place. The wind stayed down, the fog cleared up a bit, and we dropped the ball at Naia's Wall.

The vis had cleared up substantially from last weekend. The water was nice and blue as we headed down the line. The wall itself goes from about 70' down to 200', the topography is pretty spectacular. Most of the invert life is above about 130'. There are interesting overhangs and bulges further down.

We saw the kitties as we shot our bag at 70' on the top of the wall. Deco was uneventful. We motored back to the bay for our SI, and ended up deciding to forgo the second dive in favor of whale watching. (Hoping I'd actually get to see a breach this time) We found a couple of whales, and a big mola mola hanging out on the surface. Most people were out of their drysuits by then, but Rob and Allison were still suited up and jumped in for a visit. The mola actually hung around for a while and Rob managed get a decent picture of it.

Here are some pictures from the morning
8/2/2009 Flintstones aboard Escapade by Matt Vieta -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Matt Vieta, Ted Pimentel, Leah Wadler
Visibility: 15' - 30' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 51F Surge:  
Max Depth: 90FSW Avg Depth: 60FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single,Double HP100Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
min
 
Got a bunch of friends together to do a long-range charter on this Escapade this Sunday. First thing on the boat I got reprimanded for commenting on the forecast... Hopefully this time I'll learn!

There was almost no wind, and almost no swell. We headed south to Sobranes wash rock for the first dive. We encountered a pod of dolphin, and several whales on the way south.

The water was filled with hundreds of thousands of salp-like-creatures, giving us a 20' or so chunky soup sort of vis. The pelagic critters made the bottom dark, which I actually enjoy. There were also lots of egg yolk jellies in the water.

The second dive was at Flintstones - a site that I had not yet dived before. We've dropped anchor there several times while I've been on the boat, but the current had always been too strong. There was current, but Clinton was thrown in as a test, and the site was declared diveable. Ted led us down and around the corynactis covered pinnacle. On the way way back to the boat we dodged (or not) egg yolk jellies as they whizzed by.

We had the boat all day so Jim led us on a whale watching adventure. A humpback actually breached! Twice! I happened to be changing. (very sad) Jim got a great shot of it, which is posted on his site.

Despite the marginal visibility, Clinton managed to get some pretty decent shots.
7/25/2009 Mount Chamberlin aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Joseph (Karl) Haywood, Alberto Nava, Susan Bird
Visibility: 40' - 80' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 46F - 53F Surge: 6'
Max Depth: 247FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:50
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Last week was a book example of coastal weather pattern during summer. As most of bay-area residents experience very hot conditions, coast residents experience quite a lot of fog. From Monday to Wed there was so much fog in the area that we could not see Monterey from our house in Seaside :-(. This had us worry about the upcoming tech trip on July 25th.

However, on Friday the fog started lifting and by Sat morning it was high in the sky that it did not present a problem for our divers :-). The fog was thick again Sunday morning so I can only understand this as a gift from the gods to BAUE members :-)

For dive 1 we headed to Mt Chamberlin and did the K3 to K2 traverse. The dive starts close to the K3 peak and divers scooter west to the find the west wall of Mt. Chambelin. From there they enjoyed 20min at the bottom and then find the east side of K2 and follow that up on towards the top of the pinnacle.

The west wall goes from 200-280ft and the East side of K2 goes from 180-70ft, making this the perfect multi-level dive :-). You get to see all different types of marine life. From deep water basket-start and red gorgonias, to school of blue rock-fish and sea-lions playing around you on the shallow peaks.

The afternoon trip headed for E3 (E-cube) and enjoyed some nice a relaxed time while checking the marine life in the area.

We have great visibility ranging from 40 to 80ft and there were tons of jellies in the water.

Here are some images from the trip.

Also on the way out we encountered two humpback whales slapping their pectoral fins near the surface. It was amazing to see these huge animals try to remove the barnacles that have attached to their fins. We hanged around for about 10-15min while capt CAP took some photos. Hopefully he will post some images from the surface activity.


7/15/2009 Naia Wall aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Jim Capwell, Joakim Linde, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 70' Time:11:00 AM
Temp: 51F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 162FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 1:10
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
The weather forecast for this week looked really nice, but as we had spend many hrs at the pool during the weekend I was trying to stay dry until Sat/Sund when we will do the Fundies ocean dives. However, a mid-week email from Capt CAP got me excited about a going diving.

Joakim, Jim and myself headed out to sea with Capt Ed driving the EsCAPade. We wanted to dive K2 pinnacle but as we approached the south end of Lobos the fog got denser so we decided to head back towards less foggy territory.

The ocean was super flat so we dropped the ball at Naia's wall.

We descended following the line and found a big patch of Palm Kelp in the 50-40ft range. The down-line continue on the East side of the pinnacle. We moved away from it and headed west where the wall is the most impressive.

Joakim, Jim and I stopped for a couple of seconds at about 90ft while smiling at each other before starting our free-flow descend to about 160ft. Naia's wall is almost vertical and it starts at about 60ft and it drops down all the way to 180ft. There are a couple of 2ft ledges on the way down but not much to stop the descend. It was totally cool to do the sky-diving descend on it.

We cruised the wall going South for about 15min after which we headed back north for another 15min in the 130ft range. The vista was amazing and I kept looking west and up and down to try to take the whole view. Visibility was at least 50ft with not layer of warm/green water.

There were tons of decorate crabs and some very large nudibranches on the wall, as well as large school of juveniles rock-fish.

All in all a great mid-week dive day :-)

7/12/2009 Eric's Pinnacle Damnit! aboard Escapade by Matt Vieta -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Matt Vieta, Leah Wadler
Visibility: 3' - 50' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 56F Surge: 1'
Max Depth: 50FSW Avg Depth: 40FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single,Double HP100Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
min
 

Leah had a rare weekend day off today and, given the spectacular visibility yesterday, we decided to hop on the Escapade.

We dropped through a layer of warm scuz that was a bit less distinct than Saturday. We still found the viz open open up to 60' or so below the layer.

We saw several smallish ling cods, and found an octopus hiding in a hole while exploring the pinnacles. We also hopped off the main pinnacle to inspect some of the surrounding boulders. It was a pretty dive!
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

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