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Old 11-15-2009, 03:02 PM   #1
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Default 11/14/2009 Rock Garden by Gary Banta

11/14/2009 Rock Garden by Gary Banta -- [View in Reports Page]

Bottom Team:Nick Radov, Gary Banta
Visibility:30' - 100'Time:9:00 AM
Max Depth:111FSWAvg Depth:70FSW
Bottom Time: Total Time:2:15
Bottom Gases:30/30Deco Gases:
Backgas Config:Single HP100Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Nick and I did a swimming dive at Pt. Lobos. The primary aim was swim out to Shortcut Reef while further checking out "Rock Garden" on the way. We planned one LONG dive. The ramp looked like a well maintained fish tank with perfect viz and the cove was flat and no wind. YES! Our plan was to swim to the east side of Bird Rock on the surface and descend to get to Rock Garden. After visiting the site head off to Shortcut Reef.

We carried 80cf stages of 30/30 so we had plenty of gas. We swam up out to and up to the east side of Bird Rock and found that we could safely approach within arms length since that side is vertical to the bottom. We descended to 20' and moved a few yards to the north. Underwater the rock has a notch about 10 feet wide that you can swim through. As we approached it through mixed species of kelp, backlit by the sun, a MASSIVE cloud of tube-snout (needle fish) swam toward and past us in the notch. It was jaw dropping. Passing through the notch we descended and located the two vertical blocks of granite that mark the beginning of Rock Garden. Turning back at a third block that I now understood to be the north face of Bird Rock Nick and I look up through the beautiful viz to see a big school of Blue Rockfish above the notch with rock, kelp and surface ripples completing the shot. Too bad it was only the camera of memory. We then investigate the full extent of Rock Garden for about 10 min. The site is a boulder field that broke off of Bird Rocks west face in the pounding seas. Many blocks are over 30 feet. They create a maze that is very intriguing. Some are decorated, other are not.

Moving on we headed to Shortcut Reef (SCR) by following the 70 foot contour west until it intersected the rock bridge to Shortcut. Viz opened up as we came around shortcut. While at 110 feet the 145 foot bottom was completely visible. At the end of SCR we jumped to the Great Pinnacle which was just barely visible well over 100 feet way. We headed south and looped our way back south along Marcos Pinnacle and then east along the wall to the cove.

For the first time on a swimming dive I brought a wet-note sized map enabling us to be certain of our path at all times.

I completed a dive site description of Rock Garden, including a maps that is accessible on the BAUE site:


This is a very accessible site for any divers that are comfortable finding Lone Metridium.

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Old 11-17-2009, 02:45 PM   #2
Name: Kenn Hwang
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I'm really enjoying the recent spate of trip reports posted. Even more, I'm happy to discover this new kick-range dive for our scooterless team to explore! Thanks for posting such explicit descriptions and directions Gary.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:31 PM   #3
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Wonderful description and dive report. Makes me want to go check it out!

Looks like we're starting to get that winter great viz days, but dude, tell me your secret, a 2:15 dive on a single HP 100 resulting in a .23 SAC rate? I want that!

Last edited by docwong; 11-17-2009 at 07:40 PM.
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