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10/16/2010 Que Paso Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Kenn Hwang -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Steve Dawson, Allison Lee
Visibility: 40' - 50' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 51F - 56F Surge: 3'
Max Depth: 100FSW Avg Depth: 58FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 0:06
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
MDL
 
I joined Steve and Allison on the rec boat aboard the Escapade on Saturday, in hopes that we'd be able to make it far south for some great recreational dives, and boy did they deliver.

Once we were in the water, the crew gunned the engines and we found ourselves alongside the Beach Hopper II for most of the way down, seems everybody had the same idea.

First site was Que Paso, which I've heard and read about, but have never seen before. We descended onto a tiny 6x10ft pinnacle at 100ft that was lined by metridium all long its sides--it looked like white, heart-shaped path in the gravel. From there it was a short hop over to the main pinnacle, which featured some great vis (40+ft), dramatic structure, and all sorts of nooks and crannies encrusted with marine life. The highlight was 6-8 molas, all swimming in buddy pairs, that were just on the edge of the pinnacles and following us around on our return to the boat and ascent.

A 25 minute hop north brought us to the second site of the day, Fan Shell Beach Pinnacles, named after Fan Shell Beach just on-shore, which I suspect was in turn named after the fan shells found on said beach, which in turn must be named after the fans that the shells themselves resembled. But back to diving. Here, we got more of the same - fantastic viz that let us see the sandy bottom 40-50ft below us, dramatically rising vertical structures, lots of fish life, free-swimming sheep crab, and strangely, some large vertical faces of sheer granite without a trace of coral or corynactis. It'd go on for 15-20 ft, and then suddenly, encrusted again, with no apparent change in direction or topography. Stark. No molas this time, but plenty of surge at the top of the pinnacles to throw me for a loop a few times. Water temperature above 45ft was 56 degrees...that's almost hot-tub warm!

In all, couldn't have asked for a better set of dives!

Video on Youtube here
3/29/2003 Que Paso Pinnacle aboard Unknown Boat by Nick Radov -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Peter Gelbman, Nick Radov
Visibility: 6' - 40' Time:11:00 AM
Temp: 49F Surge: 4'
Max Depth: 128FSW Avg Depth: 110FSW
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 0:54
Bottom Gases: 30/30Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80,LP104Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
 
There was a strong surface current running so we had to pull down the anchor line during the first part. In the shallow area on top of the pinnacle visibility was poor and surge was strong but conditions deep were far better. We swam along the wall on the south side of the pinnacle and saw a cowrie shell, some metridiums, and a patch of hydrocoral. Passed Sami, Clinton, and John on the way out as they were coming back and then turned around and trailed them a few minutes later. At about 125ft on the wall we ran across a giant pacific octopus. Woo hoo! That was my first time seeing one underwater and it was a really impressive sight. At first I didn't realize what it was since the coloring blended in with the rocks so well; I just saw its left water intake flashing open and closed. But when we got up close there was no mistaking it. The size wasn't as large as they get in Pudget Sound but still pretty good for this area; its head looked bigger than my head. Unfortunately we couldn't hang around and watch it very long as we were running out of bottom time and were near the depth limit for our mix (back gas was actually only 27% oxygen after topping off but 30/30 was the closest option on this form). This time we did make it back to the anchor line and I spotted a kelp greenling just before we started ascending. The current wasn't too bad so we were able to hold in place by just finning slowly. My right drysuit boot was leaking badly but luckily I just bought a new Thinsulate undergarment and that kept me warm enough throughout the deco. Back on the boat Capt. Phil said that octopus has been hanging around the pinnacle for at least a couple of months so if you dive there keep a close eye out.

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