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5/3/2009 Monastery North by Mark Lloyd -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Harry Babicka, Dionna House
Visibility: 20' - 40' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 50F - 51F Surge:  
Max Depth: 100FSW Avg Depth: 52FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 0:59
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Where to go on Sunday? The vis in the Monterey Bay was rumored to be 10-20′ which is not really good enough to drive down to. No of us had Lobos reservations so Dionna suggested Monastery, which I had never done after all the years of diving here. You can only really do Monastery when the swell and waves are very small as it can be very dangerous otherwise. We set up our tables at the North end on the beach then humped our gear down and set it on the tables. Harry just purchased his table this morning and obviously they know the DIR crowd likes them as they now make the legs DIR black instead of shiny aluminum. We then geared up and swam out about 5 mins before dropping down. I could clearly see the bottom for most of the swim out but near the end I lost site which looked to be about 40′. As we dropped down Harry who was leading followed the wall on the right till we leveled off at 100′. The usual slugs and fish were waiting for us and after about 20 mins we turned the dive and followed the wall back in. Again, lots of the usual varieties of rockfish, nudibranches, kelp, and a few nice Greenlings but nothing out of the ordinary. As we got closer in we ventured into the shallows and poked in all the holes we could find trying to see if anything was home. Lots of krill about and large schools of Tube-Snout. As we reached 10′ Harry called it and then the fun began. Getting my fins off I attempted to scramble up the sand but the sand acted like a treadmill and it took 3 or 4 attempts before I made it out of the water. I was glad the table was there because I was pooped at the effort. After a short rest we all trekked our gear back to the cars and Dionna and I stopped at Sea Harvest in the mall to have lunch. Nice dive site but I’m not sure the effort is worth it.
A few topside pictures here:
7/16/2005 Monastery North by Nick Radov -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Will Gore, Kevin Metcalfe, Nick Radov
Visibility: 15' - 20' Time:11:14 AM
Temp: 50F - 52F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 167FSW Avg Depth: 72FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 0:59
Bottom Gases: 21/35,18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80,LP104Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
Somehow Kevin managed to talk me into doing another deep shore dive at North Monastery. He swam the deco bottles out first with a lift bag, then we all went back in with our doubles, picked up our deco bottles, and swam out even with the wash rock. Once we dropped we headed straight down the wall to about 160ft, then turned and swam along the reef at that depth for a few minutes. There's quite a few red gorgonians at that level and one large cluster of metridiums. Saw a good collection of nudibranchs including several Tritonia festiva and Flabellina iodinea, as well as the usual Cadlina luteomarginata and Archidoris odhneri. The fish were somewhat sparse. We moved up the reef in steps to 140ft, then 110ft, and turned around to head back. There wasn't much real deco required but we switched gasses at about 65ft and wandered back up along the edge of the kelp forest. Will had a leak in his boot so he was rather cold by the time we got out. At least the water has warmed up about 2degF in the last few weeks. :-)
7/1/2004 Monastery North by Peter Gelbman -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: John Heimann, Peter Gelbman, Mike Jimenez
Visibility: 10' - 30' Time:9:22 PM
Temp: 50F Surge: 5'
Max Depth: 112FSW Avg Depth: 63FSW
Bottom Time: 1:03 Total Time: 1:03
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Long slow swim in the kelp
With very flat swell model and gray skies we were hoping for stellar N.Monastary conditions, but they weren't quite as excellent as we expected.

While searching for a minor leak in my drysuit before heading down, I managed to tear my neck seal. Arg, that has got to be the worst feeling in the world. After swinging by my house to pick up my backup suit, we got a late start out of Bay area and by the time we got to the beach the surf was pounding a little bit. South side was quieter and we hemmed and hawed about which side to do. The water looked a little green and the tide was favorable so we decided to tough it out by timing the sets carefully because we figured the depth offered by North side would lead to better vis. Turned out to be a reasonable plan, since the vis did open up fairly nicely below 50' and the waves quieted down a tiny bit during our dive so we had an uneventful exit.

Diving as 2 teams, Mike and Kirk on singles, John & I on doubles we swam along the edge of kelp line and dropped parallel with the wash rock. Stayed together for one circuit along the deep shelf at 80-100' most of the time. John and I said farewell and headed back for another run. This time a large fat grey harbour seal kept us company on & off for the rest of the dive. At one point he put on quite a show snapping and munching a large fish right in front of us. Several large nudi's, some decorator crabs, and other usual suspects.

Mike's previous experience at N.Monastary had been in the kelp shallows and he wasn't aware of the deep ledge at all, so the tranquility of the deep section was a new experience for him. "Huh, its so much easier to take pictures when the vis is good and things aren't moving around!" Ah, the joys of Monastary night diving! Speaking of which, here are some most excellent shots from his Canon S50.

Have a good weekend, all!

9/5/2003 Monastery North by Peter Gelbman -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Jason Nemecek, Peter Gelbman
Visibility: 30' - 60' Time:7:59 PM
Temp: 54F Surge:  
Max Depth: 107FSW Avg Depth: 50FSW
Bottom Time: 0:50 Total Time: 1:47
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Long slow multi-level swim back to shore
This is probably the best dive I've done in Monterey, definitely the best shore dive ever for me. Ocean flat, sky clear, bright moon, awesome vis. 0 surge, 0 current.

We did the typical N. Monastary routine; drop at edge of kelp parallel with the wash rock, swim out the ravine edge around 100' for while then head back, play around the shallow kelp for a long time. Except this was night. With spectacular vis.
And lots of fish. With sea lions, MAN were there sea lions.

We knew it was going to be a good dive when we could barely find the wash-rock because the water was so calm we couldn't see any water breaking over it. Also we could see the bottom from the near the wash rock. As soon as we drop down, sea lions are buzzing us. Man, they love the HID lights. 3 of them stayed with us the whole dive never more than 20' from us. 100+ minutes underwater fun with our own personal sea lion escort. A fat white one, a sleek brown one and a medium gray one. What a show! We'd highlight fish for them with our lights and they gobbled them in front of our eyes. They'd streak by us, bumping and rolling us over squinting thier eyes if we shone our lights too close to their faces. We even got to observe them working in teams - one would chase a fish into a rock formation while the other one would wait on the other side and gobble it up. By the end of the dive they were so full they weren't eating any more, just nosing the fish around like a cat bored with a mouse.

At one point we were hovering under a deep ledge checking out some small life when stuff started raining down on us; cucumbers, starfish, a crab sprialing down right past Jason's mask. We look up and the sea lions are going crazy on a school of rock fish on a vertical wall above our heads - they are zipping around so hard they were knocking stuff off onto us. We were both laughing so hard the whole dive - my stomach hurt when we got out.
Plenty of jellies in the water too, moons & and a few eggyokes.

AWESOME! Conditions are STUNNING!
6/29/2003 Monastery North by John Heimann -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Isaac Callicrate, John Heimann
Visibility: 5' - 40' Time:2:00 PM
Temp: 52F - 56F Surge:  
Max Depth: 210FSW Avg Depth: 200FSW
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 2:00
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double LP104Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
deep stops,15,3,3,3,3,17,slow swimming ascent
Isaac had never dived North Monastery and I always wanted to do it on mix, so we took advantage of the super calm conditions.

The canyon wall has much less life than, say, the outer pinnacles or Lobos, but there were some interesting sights. E.g., we saw a small octopus down around 190, and some of the largest metridians I have ever seen, clustered down in the 180-210' range. There were also a few (but only a few) examples of the typical deep water species - gorgonians, glassy tunicates, a sponge ot two. Vis was relatively green and poor, so we didn't see too much of the canyon structure other than the side we dropped down; where we stopped it was still sloping down fairly rapidly to 250'+.

The dive overall was fun but exhausting, especially since I had just finished an open water class and we didn't get started until mid afternoon. With hiking tanks around, swimming them out to a float, and surface swimming out to the canyon, and back, the whole process took us five hours - definitely a dive to do once and say you did...
3/22/2003 Monastery North by Nick Radov -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Peter Gelbman, Alex Berthet, Nick Radov
Visibility: 20' - 35' Time:4:00 PM
Temp: 47F - 48F Surge: 1'
Max Depth: 103FSW Avg Depth: 70FSW
Bottom Time: 0:47 Total Time: 0:58
Bottom Gases: EAN32,30/30Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single,Double LP80,LP95Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
I had to sit out the first dive due to equipment problems. The other Carmel sites were blown out with heavy chop and large swells so we decided to return to the same site for the second dive. There was very little surface kelp today so we had an easy swim out to near the wash rock. Dropped down where it's about 30ft deep, did a quick round of gas sharing drills, and then followed the edge of the down to around 90ft. We proceeded along the contour at that depth for a while, then moved up shallower after turning the dive. Surge was very light below 70ft but somewhat worse in the shallower areas. For marine life we noticed an abundance of Cadlina luteomarginata. Also saw the usual rock fish and a single painted greenling. At one point a harbor seal flashed by, and then we saw it again later at the surface. Overall a nice dive, but water temperate was as low as I have seen it in a while. I was actually glad to be using a single tank today as it gave me a good excuse to call the dive after I got cold. :-)
2/22/2003 Monastery North by Kevin Metcalfe -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Will Gore, Kevin Metcalfe
Visibility: 40' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 45F Surge: 5'
Max Depth: 110FSW Avg Depth: 70FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:04
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP104,AL80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
There was a little bit of wave action when we checked it out. We watched a group of divers flouder around in the surf zone before we suited up. They tried to exit near the middle of the beach, tried to stand up when clearly they shouldn't have, and then stood around in the middle of the surf getting knocked around.

We were considering looking for some place that would have better conditions until we heard "40ft vis and no surge below 40 ft".

With that settled we suited up and dropped down near the wash rock and headed down. Vis and surge were as reported.

We headed down into the canyon a bit and then around to the right into the Carmel Meadows side. I like the Carmel Meadows side a lot. The terrain is interesting with rock walls and such. Also, when you are at the the 50-70 foot level it's kind of like being on a ski hill. You can see the sandy "ski runs" heading down and then dropping off between the rocks.

On the way back we stayed at the 50' contour around the reef and worked our way into shallower water where we did S-drills and valve drills and shot bags. On the way out it was borderline for walking out with doubles so we decided to take no chances and crawled out with no problems.

Afterwards as we were getting ready to leave some pretty big sets came though so I don't know how good it was in the afternoon.

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