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1/23/2010 Ballbuster aboard Escapade by Kenn Hwang -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Allison Lee, August Gugelmann
Visibility: 10' - 15' Time:9:00 AM
Temp: 55F - 55F Surge: 10'
Max Depth: 97FSW Avg Depth: 67FSW
Bottom Time: 0:47 Total Time: 0:55
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
min deco
 
We have a great showing on the first BAUE recreational charter of 2010. My buddies for these dives were Allison and August. The on-going El Nino storms were calling for 14-16ft west swells for the day, but the seas were actually fairly calm in the bay. We stayed within the protection of Point Pinos, and opted for sites inside the bay.

The first site chosen was Ballbuster. This was my second time there, the first being in somewhat spotty conditions that didn't give me a very good lay of the land. Seemed like this time would be the same. We dropped into a stew of sea nettles from 10-50ft, as in, you can't even look around or else you'd end up with your face in one of them. Allison got stung, as did August, but I was hyper-vigilant in protecting my delicate countenance and finished my descent unscathed. Because of the nettle canopy above, the site was dark as night, with intermittent and strong surge that pushed us 15ft back and forth and 10ft up and down. Wow. Everyone got a look at the GPO, which I just missed completely (even after Allison pointed it out to me)I probably thought she was pointing at nudibranch nearby. We tried to make our way around the pinnacle a couple of times, and got washed any which way by the surge, eventually calling the dive at 47 minutes. The way up was naturally more fraught with peril than the way down, as the sea nettles had multiplied during the time we were down. The anchor line was slimed with nettle tentacles and we made haste back to the boat. Once everyone was accounted for, we noticed that the patch of kelp cover over the site wasn't actually kelp, but a huge colony of nettles on the surface. Glad we didn't jump directly into that.

After contemplating a few other sites, we decided to make Dive 2 at Anchors 2 and 3, also my second time there. It took 15 minutes to get there, so we loitered around the boat until we accumulated at least an hour of SI--I think I downed way too many pastries during that time. Unlike the first site, there were no nettles and no surge at the anchors. We dropped right over the anchors, and watched the resident vermillions (nicely camouflaged against the bryozoans). We then followed a line that somebody laid to the shale layer, and Allison took us on a nude-hunting tour. Though I'm probably getting the names wrong, we saw a good number of flabellina iodinea and hermissenda crassicornis, but I think I'll continue to refer to everything as sea lemons. On our way back, the line had been removed (isn't there some rule about not following a jump down someone else's line?) but there was a new, shiny anchor chain in its place. We contemplated this for a few minutes, but when we got back to the anchors we figured that the boat had re-anchored. Deco was uneventful, though Allison showed us that a real 30ft/min ascent rate was way, way faster than the pokey pace we were used to.

Lunch was at Turtle Bay. As usual, I over-gorge myself after a dive and was super-sleepy for the ride back home, glad I wasn't driving :)

Thanks for a great set of dives everyone, hopefully the waves on the next boat will be under 15ft :)