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2/11/2005 E3 aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 20' - 40' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 54F Surge:  
Max Depth: 192FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Susan and I went diving at Point Lobos this past
Friday. We dove one of the Pinnacles on the E3 area. Phil said he has dove it before as E3, so
maybe "The other E3" but I'm not 100%.

There were a lot of rock fish of all color & sizes
and the usual deep water invertebrates. Vis was 25 ft at depth and 50 at the top. Water was 50 to 54.

I was brave enought to take my video camera on the
dive (first deep video dive :-0), so here are some
video frames. My kudus to the guys that do deep video in cold/dark water..... it's difficult.... and you want a lot of He ;-), at least the next gas down the list



Video frames


1/29/2005 Mile Buoy aboard Escapade by Clinton Bauder -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Susan Bird
Visibility: 50' Time:9:30 AM
Temp: 55F Surge:  
Max Depth: 150FSW Avg Depth: 140FSW
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:40
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double LP80,LP104Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
7,5,5,5,5,12 on,6 off, 6 on, 6 up.
 
The original plan for the day was to dive Flintstones but a big west swell kept us from going around the corner so we decided to dive the Mile Buoy instead. Protected from the weather conditions there were actually quite good and Susan and I had a nice leisurly dive. Visibility was in excess of 50 feet. Highlights included a big school what I think were rainbow surfperch, several very large vermillion rockfish, 2 juvenile yelloweye rockfish and at minute 38 or so a small wolf eel.
1/23/2005 Pt Lobos by Susan Bird -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 20' - 50' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 55F Surge:  
Scooter: Gavin Short Burn Time: 45:00
Max Depth: 77FSW Avg Depth: 44FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:51
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double AL80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Beto and I opted for a shallow scooter run towards Moss Cove, in search of an arch described to us Pat Lovejoy. We zig-zagged among the canyons and kelp forests bewteen Whalers and Moss Cove. Highlights of the dive included pockets of multicolored hydrocorals, several schools of hearty blue rockfish, gangs of Sheepheads, a med-sized wolf eel sharing a crack with 2 dendronotus albus nudibranchs, a monster lingcod lying across a kelp holdfast, and a few shy but well-fed harbor seals. Although we had a great dive, we did not find the arch, so we will have to Dive Another Day. We concluded the dive in the shallow sand channel at Lobos, where we practiced scooter skills in preparation for future adventures.

Here is a small map:

1/16/2005 E3 aboard Escapade by Susan Bird -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 20' - 40' Time:2:00 PM
Temp: 54F - 55F Surge:  
Scooter: Gavin Short Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 187FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:43
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
 
Fantastic day on the Escapade w/the BAUE gang. After a gorgeous run south including numerous grey whale sightings, surface conditions dictated that we abort our original plan of going to Yankee Point, so Capt Eric headed towards the more protected area near Lobos.
To accomodate our mixed boat of rec/tek divers, captains dropped Sue & Beto and our scooters at E3 and proceeeded to the Needle, where we would meet the rest of the divers underwater.
Our scooter run past the familiar canyons and crevices was fun and included fly-bys of the usual marine life for that depth range-- gorgonians, elephant ears, schools of various rockfish, sheep heads, and territorial ling cod. I kept looking for the tell-tale suckers of Giant Pacific Octopus in every crack and crevice we passed, without success.
Once we arrived at the Needle, we saw pairs of lights from the teams of our boat buddies, and enjoyed a colorful ascent and deco profile circling the pinnacle. At our 70 ft stop, Beto found what would have made a perfect octopus-condo in a crack along a wall. Sure enough, there was a nice GPO, with a crab leg attached to its suckers. Fortunately Clinton and Dionna were in the vicinty to verify the sighting!
Great day-- second dive at Aumentos was sweet, and hopefully Clinton will post a report with the scientific name of the really cool red fish we saw. (It was a Red Brotula; Brosmophycis marginata)



Pictures here.
1/14/2005 Yankee Point aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Pete Gelbman -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: John Heimann, Pete Gelbman
Visibility: 30' - 50' Time:10:45 AM
Temp: 54F Surge:  
Max Depth: 255FSW Avg Depth: 250FSW
Bottom Time: 0:25 Total Time: 2:10
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2,35/25
Backgas Config: Double LP104Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
180  1
170  1
160  1
150  1
140  2
130  2
120  3 35/25
110  2
100  2
90   2
80   3 backgas
70   7 50%
60   7
50   6
40   6
30   7 backgas
20   12 O2, 6 off, 10 on, 9 up
 
John, Beto, Susan and I headed out on Phil's RIB today from Lobos. John
had booked this charter weeks ago and ended up nailing most excellent
conditions! As anyone can tell from last few dayís swell model, the ocean
was a LAKE... and awesome blue skies. Usually with Philís boat we don't
stray too far outside the park, but since conditions were so good we
decided to go south a bit to check out a spot off Yankee Point that Beto has wanted to
investigate for some time. We'd scouted this area on depth finders
previously and had a rough idea from maps that there would be good deep
relief here. On the ride south, we had a pod of large Rizzo Dolphins
scampering about, then 2 whales blowing and diving in tandem right near
us. Susan was in heaven!

Located our spot fairly easily, dropped anchor in about 200' and went
for it. Diving as two teams of two, the teams were offset in time by about
5 minutes but did roughly the same dive, generally moving southwest into
some current then turned and headed north drifting back towards a
shallower region. Moderate current all the way down to the anchor, where
it tapered off and we had plenty of relief to tuck up close to and get out
of it. Phil had been reporting lots of brown water due to Carmel valley
runoff after all the rain, and on the way out of Whalers cove it looked a
bit murky green. On our way south, water cleared significantly was
actually quite blue in the shallows. Got a little hazy as we moved deeper
but still quite spectacular - probably 50' vis at depth.

Anchor was on side of a sloping pinnacle system with interesting cracks
and formations. John and I headed due south following natural contour, and
then suddenly reached a sheer ridge. It rose a bit into a gentle crest
ahead of us and the water looked very dark and ominous on the other side.
We swam over it and were suddenly looking straight down from 250' into a
system of small canyons in the 280-300' range. Too deep for our mix and
plan, so we wistfully hovered there taking in the view for a while, then
meandered our way slowly around the edge of the ridge and headed back
north, working out way around and up the sloping face where we had
descended. Our 25 min BT was up all to quick...

Been a few weeks since I've been diving locally and this was an
awesome welcome back, dense schools of blue rockfish and all the usual
suspects. Nothing overly spectacular fish-wise today, but terrific
terrain. Although there was lots of small life, the colors here arenít as
spectacular as other shallower areas. Lots of thin,
bright-red Gorgonians here - interestingly there were none of the usual pink
fluffier Gorgonians. Every site has its own character... Highlight
of today was a crevice with 2 vase sponges, which John claims we should
now officially be calling "boot" sponges.

Lazy ride home enjoying dolphins, drinking some custom Phil Sammet tea
brew and generally having more fun than should be legally allowed.
Tried adding a 3rd deco gas today instead of a bottom stage and that
seemed to work very well. I literally felt better after the dive than
before - but then again I usually do!!

Surface conditions don't get much better than this and considering this
is January things are really spectacular. Those of you headed out on the
boats this weekend should be in for a terrific treat!

12/2/2004 Uncle Phil's Deep Trench aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Pete Gelbman -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Nick Radov, Pete Gelbman
Visibility: 30' - 80' Time:10:53 AM
Temp: 50F Surge: 10'
Max Depth: 222FSW Avg Depth: 210FSW
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 2:10
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double LP80,LP104Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
1 min deep stops from 170 to 130
2
2
2
2
3
3
7 50%
6
6
6
6
12 on O2, 6 off, 12 on, 10 up
 

We were shooting for 240' ish dive at Uncle Phil's Deep Trench but after some anchoring adventures, we actually ended up on a little ridge between Uncle Phil's and Deep E3.

Based on Phil and Susan's prior experiences at this site we were prepared for some potentially wild mid-water column currents, but were pleasantly surprised to only have a fairly mild current in one direction and were able to make it down the anchor line pretty peacefully. Flying squirrel descents in blue water straight down to 200+ are great!

Stunning clarity on the bottom, we worked our way slowly around a fairly sharp pinnacle face and several colorful smaller reef structures. A sea lion put on a show for us at 210', coyly covering his eyes with one fin and waving at Susan.

Several large clusters of Vase Sponges, large Lingcod. Susan pointed out a pretty Spiny Lithoid crab and also a cool Crinoid, neither of which I had ever seen before... About halfway through the dive Nick spotted a 2' Longnose Skate that let us check him out for a while. Since our depth was shallower than planned we extended our bottom time to enjoy the scenery.

Some of the prettiest part of the dive was at some shallower reef that we swam to during our deep stops in 150-160'. I think this was deep E3 foothills. We we ended up playing around here for a while, no one wanted to leave the bottom today! When we finally decided to depart, a dense cloud of Blue Rockfish bid us fairwell.

Per our plan, Nick shot a bag at 120' to make sure Phil knew our whereabouts as early as possible. Good thing we did, because Phil said we drifted about 1.5 miles from the time he saw it, he ended up picking us up outside of Pinnacle cove on SW side of Lobos.

If vis is anything like it was today, weekend diving should be fantastic.

11/20/2004 Butterfly House by Nick Radov -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Devin MacKenzie, Nick Radov
Visibility: 30' - 40' Time:12:19 PM
Temp: 52F - 54F Surge: 3'
Max Depth: 82FSW Avg Depth: 53FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:06
Bottom Gases: EAN32,30/30Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single,Double LP80,LP95Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
I hadn't dived Butterfly House in about a year and Devin had never been there at all so we decided to have a look. Surface conditions were marginal with some occasional large waves, but just barely good enough to be safe. We swam straight west out to the edge of the main kelp forest and descended where it's about 45ft deep. Visibility was excellent with a lot of sunlight. Turned left and swam south-southwest through the forest and into deeper water. There were at least two, maybe four harbor seals shadowing us the entire dive. Saw the usual nudibranchs (Peltodoris nobilis, Doris odhneri, Cadlina luteomarginata) as well as one tiny Tritonia festiva. Not too much in the way of fish life, mainly surf perch and copper rockfish. After about 25 minutes we turned the dive to head back north slightly closer to shore. That was the best area of the dive with a really nice array of hydrocoral and some interesting rock formations. By the time we returned to our starting point a large school of juvenile blue rockfish had arrived so we did a slow ascent through those. Surface conditions had deteriorated further so the long surface swim back in was a real workout, but it was worth it (and I needed the exercise).
10/2/2004 Ballbuster aboard Escapade by Nick Radov -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Gary Banta, Nick Radov
Visibility: 15' - 70' Time:10:39 AM
Temp: 52F - 55F Surge:  
Max Depth: 97FSW Avg Depth: 65FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 0:37
Bottom Gases: 30/30Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP104,HP100Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
There was a layer of brown muck from 10ft to 30ft but as soon as we dropped below that the visibility was the best I had ever seen at this site. We could clearly see everything on the bottom from 30ft. As soon as we hit the bottom Gary signalled me and pointed out a large bat ray flapping by just to our left. We trailed it for a couple minutes but it effortlessly left us behind. With such good visibility and 10 other divers in the water this site actually seemed a bit crowded. After doing a full clockwise circuit of the base of the pinnacle we moved off a bit just to take in a full view of the huge metridium fields. Then we swam up along the peak to check out the hyrdrocoral. Would have liked to stay longer but we were on a time limit and had to get back.
10/2/2004 Pinnacle of Tremendous Proportions aboard Escapade by Nick Radov -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Gary Banta, Nick Radov
Visibility: 40' - 110' Time:8:19 AM
Temp: 52F - 54F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 120FSW Avg Depth: 80FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:03
Bottom Gases: 30/30Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP104,HP100Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
 
Gary and I were originally supposed to be on the Cypress Sea extreme charter but when it was cancelled we were able to switch over to Joe's charter. Got to meet some of his students and prospective new club members.
We dropped down the anchor line to about 60ft, then turned around and kept going down the side of the pinnacle. Hit the sand channel on the west side and followed it northwest, then north at about 110ft. Saw a couple Tritonia festiva on the wall as well as the other usual rock fish and nudis. Visibility was spectacular; on the way back we looked up from the bottom and could clearly see the boat on the surface. We gradually made our way up the pinnacle and then switched to deco gas right above the anchor at about 60ft. The regulator hose o-ring extruded on mine so even though I could breathe from it with no problems the first stage was bubbling in my face during the whole ascent. Kind of annoying.
9/26/2004 Tacoma (Wreck), Seattle, WA by Pete Gelbman -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Nick Radov, Andrew Georgitsis, Pete Gelbman
Visibility: 5' - 12' Time:2:45 PM
Temp: 54F Surge:  
Max Depth: 218FSW Avg Depth: 200FSW
Bottom Time: 0:25 Total Time: 1:28
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double LP104Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
Relatively quick ;-)
 
We had several great dives in Seattle but I'll just report on our last
one.

Our dives over the previous days had all been in Lake Washington freshwater, this last
dive was our first in the saltwater sound. We were meeting the boat in
Alkai, which apparently is thier equivalent to our Breakwater. We got
there early and munched some clam chowder and fries while watching Joe T
teach a fundies class. Our boat arrived on time and some SCRET guys were
offloading from an AM dive - they had attempted to scooter another wreck
earlier in the morning but had 2' vis and couldn't find it on the
bottom, plus a few of them apparently scootered through some jellyfish
and had some nasty stings on their face. High tide was just arriving and
we were hoping for better conditions than they found. It was a just a
short boat ride from the dock to our wreck location in the middle of the
local shipping channel.

The captain sounded the bottom and I dropped the shotline when we were
over the wreck. No current, sun just starting to pop out, a fine day for
diving. Delia had to head off to NY early so today it was Nick, Josh,
Andrew and myself diving as one large team, with AG running video. The
boat is beautifully laid out but a bit small, so Nick and I gear up,
Josh helps us load up our stages and we hop in first and hang out on the
shotline buoy while he and AG gear up. They join us in a few minutes, we
do quick equipment check and down we drop. We pause at 40', get
ourselves comfortable, exchange ok's then continue the descent.

Its my turn to lead on this dive. The captain seemed to indicate that the
shotline was dead on the wreck. As such I didn't bother (ie forgot) to
note any directional information on the surface. Below about 80' there
is no ambient light and the water is B-L-A-C-K! Without lights, we can't
see our hands in front of our faces. Nick and I had some battery related
light failures already on the last two days and we learned the hard way
that backups lights with good batteries are just as important on these
type dives as in cave diving. We hit the bottom at 218' and we might as
well have arrived on the surface of the moon. The only thing I can see
is is the downline and a shot ball shaped indentation in the silty
bottom. No wreck, no nothing. We panned around 360 degrees, nothing. I
can only see about as far as my light penetrates this murky gloom, about
8-10'. Guess we're going hunting - we know the shotline was close to
the wreck, its just a matter of finding it in this low vis. Wish I had
thought a bit more about directions... Nick brought the reel so I asked
him for it, tied into the shotline and head off North. I have no clue
what direction to look and I'm pretty sure no one else does either so I
decided to just look purposeful and head off North, hoping that I might
get lucky and appear to know what I'm doing. Swam out for about 50',
nothing. I lock down the reel, and turn West, deciding to swim a
counter-clockwise circle patterns, increasing the radius until we find
the wreck. While we're swimming we pass a small cluster of Metridiums
and some simlilar shaped bright orange anenomies. Cool, nice to be be
back in saltwater, we have some life here! Suddenly something catches my
eye, a huge fish starts to take shape at the edge of vis directly in
front of me. I'm thinking hey maybe one of those famous 6-gill sharks
they have up here. As I swim to it I realize its a linkcod. The
grandaddy of all linkcods! No kidding this thing was a good 6' long! I
flashed my light on him to show the others and that spooked him away. I
could feel AG's twin 18w video lights just over me and was hoping he
caught it on video. Turns out he saw it too but didn't get it on camera
because he was using the camera lights to look for the wreck. Another
few minutes swim and we come across a piece of man-made rusting pipe
structure. I pause a minute and try to decide whether to continue my 50'
radius search or not. I figure this peice of junk might be from the
wreck so I unlock the reel and venture out in this direction to go see.
A few mintues swim and presto the vertical side of a ship appears
magically in front of us.

Cool, we found it, but darn we've been down here a while already. I look
at my watch and see we've been farting around at about 220' for 12
minutes. Including our descent we've been breathing our stage bottles
for about 15 minutes now. We were planning a depth of 200' and figured
we'd smoke our stages at 15 minutes runtime. I look down at my stage
SPG and sure enough I'm at 200 psi. Should I tie the reel into the
wreck or change to backgas first? I remember we tied into the
shotline with no current, and local protocol is to just leave
the reel parked in the sand so it can be pulled up with the shotline
from the surface rather than us burning bottom time to mess with it
when we're done. Josh is nearby and gives me the "drop" signal which
confirms what I was thinking. So I lock it down and dump it in the
sand. My stage is starting to pull hard, so I signal the team to
switch to backgas. Its fun to be at 200' in pitch black and breath a bottle dry. We get on our longhoses, turn off and stow our stage regs, and then
proceed up the side of the ship to the main deck at 200'. AG is
already there, waiting for us. Suddenly I realize we should have
ascended to this shallower point before taking time to clean up our stages bottles rather
than do it on the bottom. Oh well, lesson learned. Based on our
planned BT of 25 minutes we only have 10 more minutes to see
this darn wreck. Oh well, might as well make the best of it.

The Tacoma was apparently a passenger ferry which was later converted to
a freighter. There are lots of structures and openings to swim through
and poke around. Several huge linkcods, all in the 3-4' size range are
hanging out and there are Metridiums and other red anenomies growing
here and there. We arrived at the wreck in the middle of the port side.
We swim around the middle section of the main deck then make our way to
the starboard side and work our way up around the bow section. We swim
through some twisted i-beams that must have supported some sort of large
machinery and I take a minute to poke my head down into a huge opening
in the deck. Any contact with the wreck creates an instant rusty red
silt cloud. Man it would be fun to go inside... Josh is investigating
something on the port side and we're getting close to end of our time so
we head over to him and he leads us down the port side rail towards
where we left the reel. We're at 23 minutes BT and assuming we'll need
2 minutes to head back along our reel line to the shotline, so I give
him the "turn around" sign, motioning to our line. He says no lets stay
here. As deco clock man on this dive, he's officially running the clock
and seems to know what he's doing so I gather were not returning to the
shot line. No current, so works for me. We swim around for a few more
mintues then Josh thumbs it. I relay the signal to Nick and we start up.
The ship has a huge tower-like structure that reaches up to 150' so
we're able to meander around and through it enjoying the life growing on
it during our ascent right until we hit deep stop territory. In
hindsight we meandered a bit too long, as it took us a good 6 minutes to
get from 200' to 150'.

Jumping from fresh to salt somehow I didn't have enough weight even though I was using what I normally use around here (can salt water vary that much from place to place??) and found myself
a bit light on ascent which is the worst feeling there is. Fortunately around 100' Josh blew a bag and we sent up the empty 80's which helped, but I couldn't
achieve normal relaxed trim position due to having to contort myself to
get every last bit of air out of my suit and wing. Fortunately I finally got settled down and from 50' up deco was pretty relaxing.

This is a pretty long boring report but wanted to give some flavor of
what deep, dark spooky wreck diving is like. Its definitely a different
ballgame from our colorful, rich reef diving, as well as much different
from cave diving. Both of which are so peaceful by comparison. Basically
from my limited experience so far, deep wreck diving is an adreneline
rush from the time you jump in until you hit deco. Great fun, we need some wrecks around here!




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