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8/20/2006 Pt Lobos by Dionna House -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Dionna House, Sandra Tullis, Jason Warshawsky
Visibility: 20' - 45' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 52F - 56F Surge:  
Max Depth: 100FSW Avg Depth: 70FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP95Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
I was asked to be a third diver with Sandra Tullis and Jason Warshawsky to dive out to Beto’s reef at Pt Lobos. Jason wanted to take as many photos as possible. Whalers cove was a lake when I arrived. The Beachhopper was anchored in the cove while divers were swimming out to board the boat. Ranger Chuck was patrolling a group that were caught fishing in the Reserve. Lobos’s parking lot was empty as I arrived at 9:30am. How weird is this I thought? We discussed our dive plan, geared up and got in the water. We surfaced swam out the sand channel as far as we can swim. Made our descent and off we went. The plan was to kick slowly to give our photographer plenty of time to take pictures. We eventually arrived at Beto’s Reef with plenty of time to spare for the photo moments and to admire the beautiful reef. I didn’t really see anything out of the ordinary there. It was sure relaxing and nice though. We got to our turn time and made our way back towards the cove. After departing Sea Mount we headed south east. We came up on a kelp hold fast that was tied between two kelp stalks. I felt a little giddy and swam under the hold fast and poised in a lying down position. I thought Sandra was going to loose her regulator laughing. Another poise as the hold fast was now my new hat. Not sure if the photos came out, Jason had trouble with the strobe. Okay!!! Enough silliness!!! Back to navigating. As we approach Hole in the Wall, we came across HID lights. Oh I wonder who this is. We waved and exchanged smiles to David Henze and his buddy. Back to the sand channel as we cruised along Cannery Point Wall we saw a cute little decorator crab trying to put a white sponge on his/her back like it was a shawl. We admired that for a moment. Then back to the dive still cruising Cannery Point Wall, in the corner of my eye I noticed Sandra signaling me with her light, I quickly turned around and she had both her arms out signaling “BIG”. I swam over and finally got to see “LINGZILLA” WooooW. He was wedged in between some kelp stalk. I thought about lying next to the monster just for size perspective, but he looked like he was enjoying a Sunday afternoon too. I think Jason was able to get some of the fish. No sooner after leaving Lingzilla, Sandra is flashing her light once again. I turned around and saw her “BIG” signal again. It was MRS. LINGZILLA. She was a little more protected under a wedge. Two Monster size fish back to back. They didn’t seem to mind us watching them. Mrs. Lingzilla had her dorsal fin up and looked more alert. I’m so glad there is regulated protection at Pt. Lobos. We finished up our multilevel ascent as planned and Sandra got to practice deploying her 40cft bottle as I watched. After surfacing, I went down again and did a weight check, Sandra and I practiced OOA as I shot the SMB for practice. All in all, I fun dive by all.
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.

8/12/2006 Big Sur Pinnacle aboard Cypress Sea by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava, Clinton Bauder
Visibility:   Time:10:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth:   Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
You know you had a good day of diving when you managed to do 3 dives south of Point Sur :-). Yesterday Susan, Clinton and myself boarded the Cypress Sea at 6am for a long range trip down to Big Sur Coast. The weather was not the best as we motored from Monterey Bay towards Point Sur but we just held onto the boat and continued South until we crossed Point Sur. That gave us good protection from the swell :-)



The first dive was at a new pinnacle just south of the very large Kelp bed south of Point Sur. We located this site on the sonar and it looked like a promising site (Mt. San Michelle).



The base was at 100ft with a small area at the top at 40ft.



We anchored and started our dive. During the descent we found 100ft visibility at the surface. We used the nice kelp branches to descend and swam through a thick school of rockfish. Once at the base of the pinnacles we found a flatter structure than what we had expected, but it was still really nice. The best part of the pinnacle was from 60ft to 30ft. The shallowest area consisted of a very nice peak with an incredible kelp forest, with the branching kelp strands forming distinctive geometric angles as the trees reached towards the surface and were influenced by shifting currents. We found a twisted kelp bunching that looked more like a 10 inch diameter wire or dynamo. It's difficult to image how this kelp got so entangled/twisted.

For the second dive we headed south towards Partington Canyon.



It has been 6 or 7 years since any of us had dove there so we were all excited about diving it. The terrain on the surface has a vertical rock face that meets the water. There are a few rock formations and several small cracks on the walls.



The underwater terrain goes from 10ft to 300ft in no more than 200ft of distance. It's as vertical of a canyon as it gets. Because it was the second dive we decided not to go too deep. We started our descent in the kelp swimming at about 30ft until we could not see the floor anymore and at that point we descended straight down. We reached the sand at 120ft and continued until we hit our planned depth of 150ft. The sand was sloping at 45 degrees and there were small rocks with metridium and others invertebrates. We located a (rare) Brown Irish Lord at depth and Clinton got to work taking some nice shots of it. We worked our way to the 100ft mark and spent some more time around some small lingcods and big vermillion rockfish.

We reached the base of the kelp near the wall at about 70ft. We switched to our 50% and spend quite a lot of time playing inside the kelp. We found two monster size lingcods and several swim throughs decorated with sponges, hydroids and other marine life. Towards the end of the deco we reached the back side of the kelp, btw the rock and the main kelp. It was a gorgeous view. There was a flat kelp canopy at the top, then 20ft of water and a second really thick layer of some small kelp covering the rock on the bottom. The light came through the kelp and gently traveled down the water column. While decompressing in this nice area we saw some really big sheep heads, and a friendly juvenile harbor seal. At some point the harbor seal was sitting just on top and little behind of Susan looking up, with the flippers to one side and the head to the other side. I swear it looked like Susan's guardian angel harbor seal ;-)

For the 3rd dive we headed for a well known pinnacle, Compost, which we had dove many years ago.



This is a world class dive site. You can put this one against any dive site in Fiji or the tropics and it stands quite well. The pinnacle is in a flat sandy area which nothing else around it for 1000ft. It starts at 100ft (bottom) and it goes to 30ft at the top and it's of a circular shape.



On the west site it's a vertical wall from top to bottom and on the east side there is a very nice overhang. There is a little bit of kelp at the top which gives its hidden location away. The pinnacle is covered with life. I don't think there is an inch of the rock that is visible. It's covered with corynactous, barnacles, sponges, worms and many other invertebrates.

We found 3 very large cabezons, and two wolf eels, one large and one medium size. On the way up we spent quite a lot of time under the overhang taking some photos and looking at all the little invertebrates in that area.

All in all it was an amazing day of diving.
8/6/2006 McAbee by Mark Lloyd -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Mark Lloyd, Dionna House
Visibility: 20' Time:1:12 PM
Temp: 59F Surge:  
Max Depth: 57FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:24
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double HP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Ménage ŕ trois at McAbee.

Dionna and I departed San Jose about 0915 and arrived at MBDC for Dionna to fill her tanks. 2 hours later we finally were able to leave for McAbee, what a pain for a simple 32 fill. We parked at the Mexican restaurant and geared up for the dive. The sun was shining as we walked down to the beach and cooled off in the water as we slipped our fins on. We swam by what looked like a dead seal in the water and slowly descended down to the bottom. Great visibility and lots of kelp greeted us as we swam out. This being my first time at McAbee I was surprised to see so much of a difference between this and the breakwater which is so close by. Lots of large boulders, huge kelp forests, tons of different fish, and several species of nudi's. As we neared the end of our dive Dionna pointed out a harbor seal to my right. I gave her the thumbs up and continued on. The harbour seal however was more interested in participating with our dive from that point on. He or she came up right in front of me, pausing to give me a look. I offered a hand and it 'sniffed' it, I stroked it as it swam by, seemingly enjoying the encounter. Next thing I know I feel the two flippers scratching the top of my head. I'm thinking of Dionna who is probably in fits of giggles by this time. I shake my head laughing myself at this crazy seal who seems to be having a great time playing with us. All the way in the seal swam around us, playing, nipping at our fins and greeted us again when we ascended to the surface.
7/31/2006 Pt Lobos by John Heimann -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: John Heimann, Anibal Mata-Sol
Visibility: 10' - 50' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 52F - 52F Surge:  
Scooter: Gavin Long Burn Time: 1:00
Max Depth: 170FSW Avg Depth: 150FSW
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double HP100,HP120Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
1,1,1,1,1,5,3,3,3,3,12+up
 
Scootered to Twin Peaks. I wasn't very psyched for this dive, since two weeks ago I spent five days doing simulated failures in tech1 class, and last weekend dealt with light problems (and bad vis) in a Lobos scooter dive with Anibal and Paul. After so many simulated and real gear issues, not to mention a hard week at work catching up from the tech1 class, I was quite ready for a nice, easy, low tech, shallow swim dive looking for pretty nudibranchs. But Anibal was psyched and had already filled his doubles for Twin Peaks, so we went with that plan. The setup to the dive was not auspicious, as one of the scooters spun off a prop assembly on the way out to the float (damn kelp!). Luckily no parts were lost and the repair was easy, but I was beginning to think that maybe it would be more relaxing to spend the day hiking the Lobos perimeter trail. After staging the gear and scootering on the surface to the middle reef area, we dropped down to the bottom and things started getting much better. We hit the lone metridium within a few minutes, and were at Three Sisters just a few minutes later. At that point, vis started to dramatically improve, and the views of huge pinnacles, rich with marine encrustation, emerging from the cold, dark, clear water made us forget all about any stress or gear problems we may once have had. Having done a partial run to Twin Peaks the past weekend with a team of three, one flaky light (hence the partial run) and much worse vis made navigation and team management seem that much simpler. Overall it was a great dive, and reminded me what's nice about dealing with failure drills and bad conditions - it feels so good when they stop!
7/20/2006 Montana by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava, Jarrod Jablonski
Visibility: 10' - 30' Time:1:15 AM
Temp: 48F - 52F Surge:  
Max Depth: 160FSW Avg Depth: 130FSW
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:40
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
For our experience dive of the T2 class (no more equipment failures :-) ) Susan and I decided to take Jarrod on a scooter ride out to Montana pinnacle. Anibal lent Jarrod his 26 scooter, Susan had her 26 and I had the heavy 33 :-(. I'd better pony up and get a nice 26 also ;-)

Jarrod has a prototype version of the uwatec tech which can reset the average depth during the dive so we wanted to see what an average value would be for a Montana dive. This reset-able average is great for many tricks, for example calculating ave depth of different deco gases, etc.

We reset the little timer at about 10min into the dive just on the north side of Granite Point Wall in order to discard the first 10min of the dive from the average.

We got to the end of the reef just before Montana and set the reel connecting it to the South end of the pinnacle. I like to place that reel so that when we circle the pinnacle there is a nice reference point for knowing the place where you started the loop.

While at the pinnacle we saw all kinds of nudribranches. The best ones where 4 Dinora Albolineata, two of them mating :-). It's that time of the year again....

We also saw two huge white doris that were laying some eggs. The two animals plus the eggs was at least 1x1' square.

After about one nice loop on the pinnacle we reached the reel, and Susan reeled it in.

At about 110ft we stopped for the first deep stops and checked JJ's computer for the ave depth. It was about 130' for 40min.

The deco was fun while watching kelp and reef and seeing JJ do all kinds of acrobatics on Anibal's 26s ;-) We look forward to Jarrod's next visit for more fun diving and learning adventures.
7/19/2006 Deep E3 aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Jarrod Jablonski, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 35' Time:12:00 PM
Temp: 47F Surge:  
Max Depth: 218FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:25 Total Time: 1:40
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Out again on the Escapade with Jim and Abigail. We spent a lot of time planning to dive DWC wall out of Yankee Point. However, the fog was pretty dense so an open ocean with current was not on the day's agenda.

We decided to dive something on the north side of Lobos where the fog was not as bad and there is coastline for reference. JimC pulled out his laptop and GloballMapper and after a few minites we were ready to place a shot line at Deep E3. I really like the "high-tech" dive planning.

We were dropped near the line and since there was not much current the swim to the line was easy. We reached the descent line and started our dive.

We reached the top of the pinnacle on the west side at about 160ft. After pausing for a minute to catch our breath and make sure the team was ready to go, we followed a nice narrow reaching structure which meets the sand on the north side at about 220ft. On a clear day this can present a very nice view as you can see the sand sloping down in a 30 degree angle towards the Carmel Cayon... however on this dive it was a bit dark so the view was not as good.

After looking down into the Abyss we headed back towards the main wall and found a really nice purple sea fan. I could not blame the sight on the mix as we had plenty of He :-). I was told about that sea fan but didn't really believe it existed. As we moved towards the top of the structure we worked on failures and bottle rotation. We reached the top of the pinnacle on the south side at 140ft.

The south part of the pinnacle has tons of Elephant Ear sponges (thus the name of the site...), and it is a very nice terrain. We sent our bag and waited for the boat to signal before drifting.

During the deco we worked on bottle sharing and more failures which was a great practice for us.
7/18/2006 Pt Lobos aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Jarrod Jablonski, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 20' - 40' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 47F - 52F Surge:  
Max Depth: 179FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
 
Susan, Jarrod and myself dove today at Cypress Canyon, one of the structures on the north side of Point Lobos. We were on board the Escapade with Capt JimC and DM Abigail.

On the way to the site we saw a very large Blue Whale and some Risso dolphins. The weather was nice and sunny and the water looked pretty clear.

We anchored on the pinnacle and proceeded to loop in on a counter clock direction. At the base of the pinnacle there were quite a lot of vermillion, and all kinds of nudibranches. We looked around while working on failures from time to time, until we reached our bottom time and headed for the top of the pinnacle at about 70ft. There was a little bit of current towards the top so we deliberately hovered over the top of the pinnacle for about 5min after sending the SMB. Once we were signalled by the boat that they had spotted our bag we drifted from the pinnacle on a nice deco while working on more failures. We ended the dive by 'having to' share one of the stages for a while but all in all it was an instructive & fun dive.

There were tons of Praya Jellies during the deco which was cool. However some of us got stung by them :-(.

On the way back to the dock we ran into the Risso Dolphin pod again and enjoyed their company for while.
7/8/2006 Shale Beds aboard Escapade by John Heimann -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: John Heimann, Suzanne L (Suz) Baird, Sandra Tullis
Visibility: 25' - 50' Time:4:00 PM
Temp: 48F - 48F Surge:  
Max Depth: 65FSW Avg Depth: 60FSW
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 0:42
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80,HP100Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
minimum deco
 
Suzanne, Sandra and I were diving together Saturday to practice teamwork and skills for an upcoming tech1 class. This was our second dive of the day in Monterey Bay; we spent the first at the Playground doing valve and S drills, and honing our team navigation and deco skills. What was particularly remarkable about these dives was how good the vis was in the Bay. Whereas vis at the Shale Beds is typically 20' or less, making it a good site for macrophotography and small critter hunting, our vis on this dive was the best I've ever seen - on the order of 50'. In addition to the usual pleasures of hunting shrimps and nudibranchs, we spotted a rare and elusive marine mammal, the Iacomus Capwellensis, emerging from around the corner of the reef. Although frequently spotted above water this species is all too rarely seen in the aquatic phase of its life cycle.

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