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Old 06-30-2008, 06:22 PM   #1
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Default 6/28/2008 Midway Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava

6/28/2008 Midway Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View in Reports Page]

Bottom Team:Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility:30' - 60'Time:11:00 AM
Temp:50F - 52FSurge:2'
Scooter:Gavin ShortBurn Time: 
Max Depth:200FSWAvg Depth: 
Bottom Time:0:35Total Time:1:30
Bottom Gases:15/55Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: HP120Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
Saturday was a good diving day. After a couple of years of talking about diving Midway pinnacle I finally had a chance to dive the site. Several other BAUE members dove it a few months ago but I happened to be in Mexico at the time.

Mid-Way pinnacle is located between the BigSur light-house and BigSur Banks. That's why we decided to call it "Mid-way Pinnacle". It looked pretty attractive on the sonar data scan with the top at 120ft sloping to about 200ft at the bottom on the sand. Most of the other sites at the banks are more in the 130-160' range so they do not have the dramatic drop that Midway has.

We had great weather. It was a calm sea with minimal tidal current due to the moon phase, very little wind, and insignificant swells. The air was smoky from the big fires so we were a little worried about the surface visibility but as we approached the site it had cleared enough that we could see shore two miles away. Good enough to go diving :-)

We deployed our newly designed (well it's actually a few months old) grapple hook and it stuck pretty well to the pinnacle. All divers (Nick, Harry, Dionna, Mark Susan and myself) got ready with all out gear attached to us, and the boat dropped us upstream from the float. There was not much surface current so we all congregated at the float and started our dive.

Susan and I decided to get a head start with the scooters so see if the hook was on the pinnacle. We descended to about 150' following the line and it got a little darker down there. I think the smoke covered enough of the ambient light so that not much was left at depth. At about 160ft I was starting to get worried but the angle on the line was at about 45 degrees so it was surely attached to something as we'd only put out 200ft of line. After a few seconds we saw the shallow portion of the pinnacle and followed the line down to about 180ft to see where it was connected. The hook came down from the top of the pinacle and landed on the SW side. The line was wrapped around a rock which was going to be a problem for the boat to remove later. I looked back to see where the other two teams were and there were half-way down the line. So we decided to start our dive and come back later to fix the hook and make sure every body was down at the pinnacle.

Susan and I headed south through a small canyon that separates the main pinnacle from another small rock. As we crossed the canyon we started noticing a lot of big red fish. One very large fish came directly towards us as if saying 'what the heck are you?' and as the fish turned I could see it was a very large yellow eye rock fish. He was so big that he looked like he had strong muscles on the side of his body. He swam off and we followed a little bit away from the pinnacle. He guided us to a small ledge at about 200ft which was full of more red fish. At one point I counted at least 7 yellow eye in my field of vision. I have never so many together and they were of all different sizes. We could have stay looking at the 'yellow eye rockfish hideout' for the entire dive.

After a few minutes of enjoying the fish hideout we headed back to relocate the hook away from the pinnacle so it would not get stuck when the boat pulled it. We then circled the structure in several passes. We did one at 190ft and another one 170ft. As we headed shallower an abundant garden of very large hydro-coral started to appear at the south east side of the pinnacle.. A massive school of rockfish hovered over and around the large colorful congregation of hydrocoral. It was a busy intersection!

After about 30min of amazing diving we all swam towards the shallow 120ft spot, deployed our SMB's and headed up for our deco while looking at moon jellies, egg yolk jellies, and were met at the surface by a a cute, curious seal lion.

A pod of 300+ Risso dolphins and other cetacean friends escorted our boat back to the dock.

That's was sure a nice day out!. Can we do this again soon?

Here are some sonar images.
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