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7/28/2007 Big Sur Pinnacle aboard Unknown Boat by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Alberto Nava, Susan Bird, Devin MacKenzie
Visibility: 20' - 50' Time:8:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth: 100FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 30/30Deco Gases:O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
On board of the Cypress Sea for another Big Sur extravaganza day. We started very early and left port about 6:00am. On board we had some of the usual suspects: Clinton, Cameron, Susan, and Keith, and we had Devin with us for his first Big Sur trip.

The forecast was for strong winds and gale force winds south of Big Sur but Clintonís report on the 3am forecast was a little better so we decided to head south.

The first dive was at a pinnacle a few hundred feet west of the Point Sur lighthouse. We have gone by this reef structure many times but the 10ft shallow peak plus the large waves break at the top made us continue our drive, and we have create a strange name for it, Bloody Stump. Today the weather was the best we had in a few weeks so we decided to give it a try.

Capt Phil anchored the boat and let go of enough scope on the line so the boat was clear of shallow peak. Susan, Devin and Beto jumped in the water and were dragged by the current towards the anchor line. We descended to find a 60ft ledge with a lot of bulk kelp attached to it.

Our plan was to circumnavigate the reef which was about 600ft long. We head NW for about 10min. The terrain was not expectatular but there were a lot of purple algae covering the terrain. The force of the waves washing the area is so strong that very few animals can attach and survive in there. We reach the north end and turned around, no without first noticing the 1 knot current that was going North :-0.

The south side of the reef had much more life and we found a small appendix to the reef where we saw several huge lingcods and vermilions hanging around.

We made it back to the anchor line and rejoined with Clinton, Cameron and his brother for a nice safety stops on the anchor line. Visibility was not as good as last weekend but still good 30 to 40ft.

This site was not as interesting as we expected but we did it and were back in the boat with no injury ;-)

For the second dive we motored south to get protection from the weather and dove Compost reef. This is always an incredible dive with several wolf eels, octopuses and amazing invertebrates life. Especially there is a nice overhand at 60ft which is cover with corynactus of different family competing for space, some pick and some purple.

For the third dive we decided to head even farther south moving away from the strong winds and large swells on the north. As always Phil wanted to dive Partington canyon and we almost had a mutiny about it. We have dived it at least once on all the trips down there. Itís good but not that good. So we headed a little farther south looking for some clear water.

As we looked at the laptop and other tools on the boat we realized we were out of the sonar data range and left with the old tools: depth finder, terrain, rocks and kelp to locate good dive sites. I thought we had all the sonar data we needed but this proved we can still venture outside that range.

We ended anchoring the boat at the Partington Point proper and located a nice reef with clear/water and some nice kelp. Susan and I descended, crossed the kelp and found the wall on the other side of the kelp. It was really fun to be scooter in and our of the breakers and we eventually headed SW to the deeper section of the reef. We located a nice cavern on the wall and entered to look for invertebrates. We were hoping for an octopus but no luck. At the end of the reef there was a huge school of rockfish and all kind of clam shells, some abalones and quite a lot of crabs of all kind.

All in all it was great diving day. Ahh yes I almost forgot to mention the ride back home. One of the worst I ever had with lights, cabinets and boxes coming from the roof and walls of the boat as we had to endure several hours of pounding waves and winds :-0

Click Here for some maps of the dive sites.
8/12/2006 Big Sur Pinnacle aboard Unknown Boat 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.
7/31/2004 Big Sur Pinnacle aboard Unknown Boat by Kevin Metcalfe -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Kevin Metcalfe, Will Gore, Nick Radov
Visibility: 10' - 80' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 52F - 56F Surge:  
Max Depth: 172FSW Avg Depth: 160FSW
Bottom Time: 0:25 Total Time: 1:08
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
Deep Stops, 5,3,2,2,3,10,5
Got up at 2. Yes AM. Got on the boat at 6. Got off the boat at 6:30. PM. Got home around 9.

In between we had two pretty spectacular dives. The ride down was nice with several of us taking naps. We got to the general area at around 8:30 and started looking for spots. We found a pinnacle that topped at about 120' and was about 175' in the sand around it. Conditions were reasonable so all three teams went in right after each other. Beto and Susan went first, followed by Dave, Clinton and Pete. Nick, Will and I went in last.

Going down there was a bit of current and it was pretty green. By the time we got down around 70' it opened up and on the bottom the visibility was a pretty honest 60-80'. The reef itself was awesome. Lots of vertical relief, lots of Hydrocoral, lots of color. Just cool in general. I'll let the people who actually know what they are looking at describe in more detail what they saw. I do know that towards the end of our bottom time we ran ito Pete, Clinton and Dave and Pete was trying to get us to follow them, but we were out of time. Turns out they found a Giant Pacific Octopus that was bigger than the one they ran into the previous week in Carmel. Had we understood what they found we probably would have extended things a bit, but they were unable to find it anyway so we didnt' miss out.

After our gas switch at 70' I shot a bag and in retrospect the next 30 minutes remind me of the Hemmingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". At first the bag started pulling a bit and I figured that it was the swell. If I didn't let a bit of line out it was going to start pulling me up so I let more line out. And more. And more. By the time we were at our 50' stop the 150' spool was pretty much all out and Will handed me his reel and I ended up letting out another 50' to 100' of line out. Finally as we got up around 30' or 20' I was able to start reeling it back in and got back to being right under the bag. At first I thought that perhaps our bag had got caught on the shot line and we were drifting. Now I can only guess that the current was going two different directions at different depths.

In between dives, Phil and Marcos dove the same pinnacle.

We motored around for awhile looking for another spot and finally found a "different" pinnacle within 300' of the first one.

The second dive was a repeat of the first. Visibility was if anything better, but it was darker I think due to the layer getting thicker. A few divers thought that we were back on the same pinnacle. I'm not sure, but I don't care. I would dive that pinnacle every day for a week and be pretty happy.

The ride home was uneventful except for the sleeping bodies strewn throughout the boat. It was a great day, but a REALLY LONG one.

Dionna should get major kudo's for spending the whole day on the boat helping out. Also, as usual the crew was on the Cypress Sea was great.

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