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3/16/2003 Mile Buoy aboard Escapade by Sami Laine -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Sami Laine
Visibility: 5' - 10' Time:2:03 PM
Temp: 50F Surge: 1'
Max Depth: 149FSW Avg Depth: 140FSW
Bottom Time: 0:25 Total Time: 1:00
Bottom Gases: 21/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP104Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
deep stops,
3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 7, 3
John Heimann organized a quick afternoon charter despite the forecasts of 'big storm' weekend. Well, the forecasts were wrong, and we drove from the South Bay rain into beautiful sunshine and springtime mild winds of Monterey.

Our plan was to stay inside the bay to hide from the big swell (13' and westerly) and dive the Mile Buoy. When we got to the site there was very little swell, no windchop, perfect topside conditions. However, there was a sailboat regatta with one of their turnpoints close to the site, and a 866 foot cruise ship (Mercury of Celebrity Cruises) anchored half a mile away and getting ready to sail. This meant that coming back up at the anchor was definitely called for!

We descended in soupy green vis, and took 4 minutes for the first 40ft, just practicing tight descent control, then headed down for the dive. Clinton had a video camera, so I handled the reel. Visibility stayed low at 5-10 feet throughout the dive, so the reel was definitely useful today.

We headed north from the high point at 130' and peeked through the rocky ledges for a couple of hundred feet. Big, bushy Red Gorgonians were open getting well fed from the soup, as were metridiums. We saw a Tochuina tetraquetra nudibranch again, this time next to a gorgonian but not feeding on it. There were also Spanish shawl nudibranchs (Flabellina iodinea) everywhere, we saw close to a dozen of them.

Fish life was represented mostly by big Canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger), and schools of Pile Perch (Rhacochilus vacca).

Our profile ended being average 140' for 25 minutes. Throughout the dive, we could hear the cruise ship's engines running. At our 70' stop, it became very loud, they probably started the main engines to prepare for departure. As we got up it was still at anchor, a half-mile away. Those things are LOUD! After we had gotten out and the crew was pulling the anchor, the cruise ship got underway, and the Coast Guard was running interference for them.

Despite the low vis, this turned to a very dark, mellow, nice and enjoyable dive! In sunny weather, nonetheless!