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Old 08-16-2010, 11:29 AM   #1
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Default 8/15/2010 19SUR aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava

8/15/2010 19SUR aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View in Reports Page]

Bottom Team:Susan Bird, Joakim Linde
Visibility: Time:10:30 AM
Temp: Surge:3'
Max Depth: Avg Depth: 
Bottom Time:0:40Total Time:1:30
Bottom Gases:18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
This past weekend was the best diving of the year :-). We had scheduled a lot of trips on the Escapade this summer with the intention of going as far south as the conditions for the day allows. Before this weekend the weather had been a little bit too rough to venture past Yankee Point, and last Saturday we even had to do Point Lobos/El Paso due to strong weather ;-)

On Saturday we headed south and we decided not to start with a very ambitious goal. We reached Yankee and it was still a 'go'. We went past Bixby Bridge and it was still fine, we reached Big Sur light-house and conditions were still a go, so we headed to the SUR 19. This is the prettiest of the pinnacles at Big Sur Banks and it reaches from 160 to 120ft. It’s totally covered with the most beautiful hydrocorals as well as rockfish of all colors and shapes.

We spent 20min at the base of the pinnacle looking for GPOs but had no luck. There were tons of baby fish so it was fun to scooter around them. Susan found a nice wolf-eel on the wall, and after looking at it for a while we moved up to 130ft and spent another 20min enjoying the amazing view, including large pink and purple hydrocorals, as healthy as you can image.

After the dive we headed north looking for a destination for the second dive. Finally we settled on Lobos Rocks. This has been one of my favorite dives on the coast. Two small rocks that come out of the water by about 50ft, tons of wave action hitting the rocks and often times dozens of sea lions waiting to play with the divers. It cannot get any better.

We started our dive by motoring to the white water near the rocks and we dropped down to about 60ft. We circumnavigated the West rock and found the best visibility in the channel between the two rocks. You could see the bat stars at the bottom from about 60ft away. We ended the dive at the 20ft washing machine area. Here you hover btw 30-10ft as the waves splash violently against the pinnacle and enjoy the experience. As your ears ask you to stop the abuse your brain keeps asking for more. As each wave gets to the washing machine, you hear a loud noise, then it becomes dark and finally you’re in white water. As this is happening 3 to 4 sea lions come by at full speed and bark at you underwater. Doing this with the scooters gives you more maneuvering power which is even more fun as you can try to chase the sea lions back on to the rocks.

On Sunday we were hoping for a repeat of the previous day. However, as we reached Soberanes area the wind picked up and the boat was getting quite a lot of movement so we decided to head back to calmer water. There was quite a lot of disappointment from the divers on board, especially the ones that didn’t visit SUR19 the previous day. As we headed back we looked at our options and decided that K2 could be a good plan B for the team.

After the boat anchored all the divers headed down the pinnacle, and each team went in their own direction. Sue and I followed the valley btw K2 and K1 until we reached 200ft at the end of the wall. The whole area was filled with baby juvenile rockfish, and we really enjoy scootering in and out of the schools. The fish would react to our lights by moving sideways and then as we moved into the center of the school we would get covered by fish. It was a spectacular experience.

After 20min we headed shallower to enjoy the K2 proper wall. The top of these pinnacles is at 70ft and with 60ft vis we had a super view of the top. There were huge, dense schools of rock-fish at the pinnacles tip. As we were preparing to loop the pinnacle we saw a large crack and as we put our light in that direction we were surprised by large white circles all bundled together at the top of the crack. GPO!!!!! We moved to the depth where the animal was and as we approached we were surprised by the animal coming out of the crack. It swam towards us with two of its arms extended trying to reach us. YIKES!!! We did some back-kicking and it finally positioned itself with the head up and away on the rock and all tentacles extended. Susan signaled to me to try to get some more interaction going, but I gently declined the invitation. We had much deco to go play with a 10ft GPO. After about 1min it decided to go back into the crack and we admired it for another 3 or 4min before deciding that it was time to go up. We had an amazing encounter with that animal. We were able to signal "GPO!!!" to Rob and Allison, and they got some images of it. All divers were super happy as we moved to the 70ft top and started our deco.

Another amazing diving weekend at home :-)

here some photos from sunday.

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