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Old 09-07-2008, 08:55 PM   #1
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Default 9/6/2008 19SUR aboard Cypress Sea by Alberto Nava

9/6/2008 19SUR aboard Cypress Sea by Alberto Nava -- [View in Reports Page]

Bottom Team:Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility:10' - 100'Time:10:00 AM
Temp:10F - 60FSurge:2'
Max Depth:150FSWAvg Depth: 
Bottom Time:0:30Total Time:1:10
Bottom Gases:21/45Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config:Double Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
Saturday was BAUE's second Big Sur Banks trip of the year.

The weather forecast looked great. Alll divers were ready with tons of
gear including doubles, stages, and scooters :-) . We left the dock at 6:05am and headed towards the banks.
The swells were so small that it looked like Monterey Lake and not Monterey Bay. So far so good.

The moment we got to Carmel Bay we encountered a little issue. FOG.... it was not unexpected as the weather forecast was
"Patchy Dense Fog" and not the normal Patchy Fog we have seen over the last couple of months. We entered into the fog zone and continued motoring south for another hour. The fog got denser and denser as we ventured south. We arrived at the banks and had some interesting discussions about the decision to dive or not dive, and we soon headed east towards the coast looking for a miracle.

We hoped that the fog would vanish closer to the coast. (Based on Friday's Lobos surface conditions & limited visibility due to fog, this was not very promising.) However, as we reached the coast we saw a small clear patch near Bixby Bridge. A circular area on top of Las Piedras Wall dive site was completely clear of fog. We decided to do a couple of dives there and see if the fog to the south would burn off after a few hours.

Las Piedras is a very impressive 400ft long ridge with a sheer, dramatic, & colorful wall on the South end. However, all teams decided to head North and check the area there. The North end is equally as colorful and beautiful, but different, with jutting fingers and many crevices. There were a lot of rock-fish, a couple of nice wolf eels, and a lovely big sheep-head on the top of the wall. Nice dive ... but not Big Sur banks.

After conducting two dives near the coast the miracle happened and the fog lifted enough that Capt Phil decided to run us back down to the Banks, to our original dive destination :-) . We arrived at Sur19 and there was no fog in the vicinity! Hooray! The captain anchored the boat and after delaying to make sure the down-line was at the right location the scooter teams went for their dive. The water past 40ft was amazingly blue and clear. There were hundreds of rock-fish congregating at the pinnacle, and huge hydrocoral bushes everywhere. This is Northern California diving at its best :-) There appeared to be line dancing and much celebration going on during deco, a sure sign of a great dive.

After about 90min the swimming teams were dropped for a drift into the down-line. Crew and divers waited with anticipation to see if the swimming teams would make it... and fortunately all divers were able to reach the downline and make their way down to the site. They reported gentler current than the last outing, and a fantastic dive!

While they were diving it was incredible to enjoy the nice warm/sunny weather on the surface at the banks while the boat drifted along, following the divers. It was a 180 degree change from the morning weather ....

On the ride back home we came across a large school of humpback whales which were working a school of bait-fish together with some sea lions and birds. At times we would count 7 spouts at a time in one condensed area... while more whales surfacing & spouting in the distance. After a magnificent breech and multiple tail flops, we finally headed home.

What an amazing day!

We will do more of these trips next year :-)

Here are some photos.

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