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3/19/2006 Montana by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava, Devin MacKenzie
Visibility: 10' - 80' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 48F Surge: 5'
Scooter: Gavin Long Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 171FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:45
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
 
We finally got a dive in. All attemps to dive during the last 3 weeks have been frustrated by bad weather. We cancelled the BAUE charter on the 12th, cancelled yesterday’s night dive due to gale force winds, etc, etc…

Today Susan, Devin and I decided to go diving no matter what. We showed up at Point Lobos to find the parking lot full (due to a Flipper Dipper and Carmel Fire Department diving day), and choppy seas with 25 mile winds from the north west. It was a bit cold while we observed the conditions from the trail on top of cannery wall. Although it was quite windy the swells were not as big as predicted. Maybe 6ft swells rolling over Whalers Cove every 10 seconds. We had to go diving and we had to go deep to get away from the swells. We went back and forth discussing whether to go to Twin Peaks or Montana. We finally decided on Montana, to take advantage of the fact that we were diving as a team of three, which gave us more redundancy for the longer dive.

We deployed all the stages and scooters and headed out for our dive. As we approached the end of the middle reef we were surprised by 60ft visibility and really blue water. We could not believe conditions were so good. I could see Susan saying through her regulator "this is amazing vis".

We followed the reefs in a north westerly direction while moving through big schools of rockfish. It was such a pleasure to dive with such a good vis. It was at least 80ft, and we could see all the ridges and pinnacles on the way to Montana. It’s rare to have visibility good enough to enjoy this kind of ‘topography’ dive.

Just before getting to the pinnacle we took our reel out and made a small jump from the main reef to the south wall of Montana. This was to insure that we would get back to the main reef after looping around the structure.

Circling Montana in a clockwise direction we followed Devin through a small canyon which cuts the pinnacle in two. There were all kinds of rockfish in this canyon and we saw huge elephant ear sponges as well as several lingcod patrolling the area. Devin found a group of shrimps in a small crack and signaled to Susan and myself to come and see them. He made a lobster sign and we got really excited about seeing a lobster. Of course it was not a lobster, but we didn’t have the heart to tell that to the shrimps (better to let them think big). Had it been a lobster, I would have woken up somewhere in the Caribbean in a nice warm hammock.

The end of the canyon opens into a very wide plateau which ventures down to a nice sandy area with some billowing sea pens. Devin started working on some barrel rolls which was a good indication that he was enjoying the dive ;-)

After about 20min of playing around on the pinnacle we headed to the south wall, picked up the reel and head back to the main reef.

I think I'm going to ignore the weather reports and swell model from here on out. Based on the weather I should have stayed home doing some homework, but in reality it was an amazing diving day, made all the more special after an involuntary 3 week hiatus.

You never know if you don't go :-)