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8/19/2006 Las Piedras aboard Cypress Sea by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 30' - 60' Time:9:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth: 150FSW Avg Depth: 120FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Diving again on the Cypress Sea for another "go as far south as you can trip". After last Sat's amazing diving trip we were wondering where else to dive. Do we dive north of Point Sur or south of Point Sur? It felt like so many different choices...

We settled for a first dive on a site none of us has dove before. It's always tricky to go site hunting because it can look really nice on the sonar scan but sometimes there isn't much marine life when you actually dive the site. But as they say about the lottery, 'you need to play to win'.

The target was a 400ft long wall almost in front of Bixie Bridge down the Big Sur Coast. The area is in front of "Las Piedras Canyon" and a little bit north of Castle Rock. The pinnacle comes to about 60ft on the South-east side and there is a long narrow ridge running at a 300degrees direction until it meets the sand at 150ft.

We anchored at the south east top. The weather was perfect: no wind, no current and the sun was slowly coming out of the fog. The water looked a little bit darker than last weekend which made us second guess the decision of diving north of Point Sur. Too late for second guessing-- we're going diving!!!

The moment we reached the top of the pinnacle we knew we had made the right call. Visibility was probably 60ft, we could see a little bit of kelp at the top and then a straight wall dropping all the way to 120ft. As we gently descended without using the scooters to propel us we were surrounded by all kinds of rock fish. There were 3 or 4 very curious vermillions whom I guess had never seen divers in doubles, stages, and scooters ;-). They swam around us for awhile looking more than a little bit perplexed!..

We decided to start the scooter run and followed the wall going north-west. The structure of the wall was mind blowing. There were an abundance of overhangs, gigantic 'rock-knuckles', and mushroom shaped rocks. It looked like a very strong river or pounding waves had carved out this structure many years ago when it sat above the water. It was amazing terrain. After about 5min we reached the north end. Then we jumped to another (samller) parallel pinnacle on the north side and immediately ran into a nice wolf eel with an enormous head. We stopped to admire it for a while. A couple of minutes later Susan started signaling for me to turn around. The moment I did I experienced a really cool view. There were many rockfish that were following us on the trip: Vermillions, Blues, Canaries and many more. I also noticed 3 XL size lingcods on a rock on the bottom. We descended a little bit and got a couple of ft from these ornery individuals. Two of the 3 lingcods were "attacking each other" and it looked like we were sitting on their favorite spot. They swam around us while pushing and vying for the best position on the rock.

We left this 'appendix' rock and returned to the main wall and headed back south. Again we found amazingly carved and complex terrain for 200-300 ft.

The moment we reached the south wall we were awed by the size and abruptness of the drop. The wall there went from 80ft to a 130ft at the base, and it was completely vertical. It was covered with all kinds of invertebrates, fish and more. We had to go back and forth several times at different depths just to admire the view. During one of these passes Susan found a nice hole with a light colored Cabezon and a little yellow-eye juvenile rockfish.

On the way up the wall we found a humongous wolf eel that was coming out of his hole 2 or 3 feet, turning upside down to try to get a better look at us. He seemed to be saying, "Come on divers get close to me!" ;-).

Once at the top we looped the nice terrain of the ridge a couple of times while enjoying the fish life and the terrain.

Once we surfaced Susan said this was her best dive on a scooter EVER.. and I had to say ... "This is better than Flintstones"... just to try to describe the site.

On our second dive we went back to Compost, South of Point Sur for the people who weren't on the boat last week to enjoy. Doc Wong joined us to hunt for wolf eels. On the way back north we dove a site called G-spot. This was an old time favorite of Ed Cooper's. The current had picked up by that time so it was more of adventure dive. The best thing we found was a deep crack on the west side with a Territorial Monster Size Lingcod inside the crack. We went inside the crack as deep as we could to get close to the animal. After a few minutes of looking at it face to face.. I was glad to be able to back-kick out of the place... It was a MONster... When we turned to swim away from the crack, the maze of blue rockfish was almost too thick to swim through (kind of like Bourbon Street at mardi-gras). Several cabezon waved to us from the top of the pinnacle at the completion of the dive. We spent our deco hanging in the strong current like 3 sumptuous pieces of bait at the ends of stands of bull kelp.

This past couple of weekends has given us some of the best diving of the year.

Here are some of the images from Clinton.