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2/20/2010 Montana by Harry Wong -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Harry Babicka, Harry Wong
Visibility: 20' - 70' Time:11:00 AM
Temp: 51F - 54F Surge: 1'
Scooter: Gavin Long Burn Time: 1:05
Max Depth: 121FSW Avg Depth: 110FSW
Bottom Time: 1:05 Total Time: 1:52
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double HP120Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
7,2,2, 3,2, 10,10
This is a dive that I've been wanting to do for awhile. It required the sun, moon and stars to line up, well at least a good combination of equipment, buddies and conditions. This was to be a scootering grand tour of the countryside, so to speak.

The day started out not too promising with swells predicted at around 10 feet with a 15 second swell intervals, but still Harry B and I decided to go down to Lobos and see what we could do. Passing the tall flag at the Seaside hotel showed no wind which was a good sign. Then passing Monastery Beach we could see several divers gearing up to dive Monastery, another good sign. Still, it was a west swell which meant while Monastery is protected, where we wanted to go may not be.

Nice, the view of Whaler's Cove revealed calm conditions as we were driving into the parking lot. Many of the usuals were there, Ted and Adelle (from Wallins) just finishing their dives with big smiles. Adelle did say she slipped on the very mossy ramp but was ok. Suzanne and Natalie, Clinton and John, Karl and Cynthia were all gearing up to go in as we arrived. Such a fun and social cadre of people. :-)

Our plan was to do the The Grand Tour and it definitely looked like a possibility today. Entering the water we had about 20 feet of viz in the cove, after doing our checks we headed out on the surface scootering in the Sand Channel until we got to Worm Patch where we descended to about 30 feet of water. Then we continued scootering to Granite Wall where the viz was still about 20 feet, maybe a bit more.

There was no surge and the water seemed calm so we continued going north and north-east around the structures of Granite Point Pinnacles. It never ceases to amaze me, the plethora of pinnacles, nook and crannies here. Staying NE at about 30 degrees at 70 to 80 feet we easily got into the Moss Cove Sand Channel, easily identified by the smaller "Monster Berry" sand. Visibility opened up to a good 30 feet.

We then traversed over other various pinnacles to arrive at Mono Lobo Wall. It's nice to see the different color lichens, moss and sponges in this area, definitely gives a different feel than any other place at Point Lobos, taking on a yellow coloration. Visibility was still about 30 feet here, still more than adequate for navigation.

Heading west we get to the northern face of Thumbs Up and sightsee for a moment or so. I stop to video a school of rockfish. I love the schools as they don't seem to mind if I'm close or in the middle of them. They must know I'm there just to shoot video and nothing else.

We get to Wall Street, first coined by Gary, marked by bountiful color and invertebrate life and fingering outcroppings of structure. Kind of like a flower garden actually. We hang out there for a bit where I took some video. Visibility started getting better at around 40 feet...a good sign and no surge. With a predicted 15 second wave interval I still expected to see a stirred up bottom an surge here, but it was calm.

Conditions were looking pretty good, the question was, could we go west from Wall Street and hit Montana? Traversing a bit south-west, we got to the structures before Montana. There was plenty of light, even at 100 feet and I could just maybe see a shadow of Montana, but maybe it was just a mirage. So here we were at about 110 feet and I could clearly see the bottom which was at 130 or 140 feet. This allowed us to stay shallow, avoiding an extended deco.

We ventured west, over open water and the mirage got darker and the huge shadow transformed into the top of the beautiful pinnacle we call Montana. The viz had opened up to over 60 feet! A quick hi-five and fly-by of the upper part of the pinnacle at around 120 feet and we were off in a south-east direction back to Granite Wall.

So all in all what started as a so-so day for this dive turned out quite well. All of the previous scheduled stops and depths and timing had to be on schedule for us to get out to Montana to keep our deco demand reasonable.

The sun, moon and stars did line up and we were pretty pleased. ;-)

Scooter trigger time: about 65 minutes
Dive Time: 112 minutes
Max depth 121 feet
Temp: 51 - 54 degrees F
Visibility: 20' to 70'
Round trip distance 6,100 feet
Gasses: Tx 21/35 50% and 100%
Deco: 7,2,2, 3,2, 10,10