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10/16/2009 Pt Lobos by Harry Wong -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Alberto Nava, Todd Lasman
Visibility: 10' - 20' Time:12:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Scooter: Gavin Long Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 105FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 0:01
Bottom Gases: 30/30Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
Hi, well, it's definitely back in the water for me this last
weekend! The day started out quite nicely, met Todd at 6 AM,
transferred gear to my van and got to Point Lobos to a relatively calm
seas. It was a west swell and our plan was to dive in that exposed
area, so I didn't expect great viz. Beto arrived shortly and we all
geared up.

This is a very long scooter dive and the name "Magical Mystery Tour"
came up when we dove this route some months ago. Magical because we'd
cover so much terrain that was SO varied in it's topography and
scenery. "Mystery" because you never know what will turn up traveling
this far and it presents a somewhat challenging navigation exercise,
especially in low viz. You have to keep your wits about on speed
direction, topography and lack of land marks. "Tour" because we're
just about constantly on the trigger to cover the long distances.

The good thing about scooters is that you can do quite a bit of
traveling underwater, the bad thing about scooters is that you can get
lost for the same reason. Hm...ask me how I know. ;-)

The plan was to navigate out to Granite Wall and head out to Mono Lobo
Wall, over on the Monastery side, then go west past the outer part of
Thumbs Up out to the tip of those pinnacles where Wall Street is and
be just within range of Montana, then navigate back south into
Whaler's cove.

We expected the trigger time on our scooters to be upwards of 55
minutes, so we all had the longer body Gavins. Max depth planned was
100' so we had Tx 30/30 in our doubles.

We scootered out on top and descended at the end of Middle Reef. At
the bottom at 40', I found that my dive computer failed. Hm..well I'm
leading the dive, so I motion to Todd to give me his computer (in
guage mode) and I gave him my bad one. I love interchangeable gear,
he'll just have to have faith in his buddies not leading him astray. ;-)

Viz at Whaler's Cove was "wonderful" at least you can see your
hands. ;-) When we got out to Granite Wall, it did not improve.

Hm....OK, this dive is going to be a challenging navigation exercise.
Just to be extra conservative, with Todd not having a working depth
guage, at 70 feet we switched from our 50% oxygen deco bottles to our
backgas of Tx 30/30. Getting around the corner in that part of Point
Lobos is not a straight line affair. Go the wrong way and you end up
in shallow water. It's no fun to be deposited on top of some sharp
rocks as another diver on ba.diving found out, so the shallowest
depths I'll allow myself to go is about 30 feet. So meandering back
and forth we found ourselves in Moss Cove Sand Channel and at 75 feet,
we hit the little wall and off we went at 30 degrees to Mono Lobo Wall.

BTW, Moss Cove is the cove between Whaler's Cove and Monastery Beach.
You can see the cove off of a boat passing by on the way to Point Lobos.

When I showed Todd where we were on the map taped to my scooter, he
gave me this "whatever" look. OK... I'll just make double sure none
of us get separated. We then went west following the Monastery side
contour and after a quick stop to see if we could rescue a large Mola
Mola that got it's fins eaten off, got to the end of Thumbs Up. The
feature was pretty distinctive and we looked around for a second or
two (this was a tour after all) before continuint to the end of the
reef structure.

We got to Wall Street and Beto wanted to stop and sight-see, but I
kept the team moving. Beto had spotted two large Vermillions locked
mouth to mouth in mortal combat, or was it some kind of mating
ritual? Come on Beto, the plan was to tour and not stop and look for
little critters. We continued, got back into Moss Cove Sand Channel,
over into Granite Point Pinnacles and then back into Whaler's Cove.
What a fun dive.

Kind of like riding a motorcycle thru the mountains touring! ;-)
10/10/2009 19SUR aboard Escapade by Clinton Bauder -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Clinton Bauder, Matt Vieta, John Heimann
Visibility: 5' - 40' Time:12:30 PM
Temp: 51F - 56F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 160FSW Avg Depth: 130FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:20
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
Sometimes Plan B is better than Plan A. Jim had wanted to dive and setup a charter for that purpose. Our original plan was to do a T1 dive somewhere in Carmel. The weather conditions kind of forced our hand and pushed us in a different direction.

For once, weather considerations had us heading further south. It was flat, flat, flat with virtually no wind. Better yet fog wasn't a factor either. The water in Monterey and Carmel was a really icky looking opaque brown. While watching a pod of Rissos Dolphins off of Point Lobos we decided to keep going south until the water cleared up. Besides, after missing out on diving Sur Bank 2 weeks ago we were motivated to give it another try.

Around Yankee Point the water started to clear up a bit. It didn't look half bad as we dropped the downline at Sur 19. We put Team Kitty and Sue and Beto into the water first. Sadly for Beto one of his drygloves started leaking badly immediately upon entering the water so he aborted and Sue joined the Kitties. After their dive they reported good vis underneath a layer and a pretty significant current.

After discussing the current we decided it didn't look too bad so we would go down the line rather than drift into the pinnacle (and risk missing it altogether). Our first try didn't go so well as we misjudged the direction a bit and weren't able to swim to the ball. Take two went a bit better but we soon found we needed to hold onto the line to keep position. This was a risk as the line was only anchored with a lead ball and not a grapple nor chain. Several times on the descent the current seemed to stop signifying that the ball was no longer fixed on the bottom. As we arrived at the end of the line we could see it bouncing. For a brief moment I thought we were screwed as we were now at 160 feet with flat terrain around us. Fortunately a quick trip up-current put us in the lee of the pinnacle and we were soon on the topography.

From there the dive was uneventful. The schools of blue rockfish were off the side of the pinnacle so it didn't seem as fishy as on previous trips but it was still very pretty. We were all bummed when our time was up and we had to ascent. The current above the pinnacle was quite something as John and I had to chase after Matt a bit after he shot the bag. Once we got drifting it was uneventful and we passed the time watching jellies.

Pictures here.
10/3/2009 T5 Pinnacle aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Robert Lee -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Robert Lee, Allison Lee, Kevin Dow
Visibility: 80' Time:12:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time: 0:30
Max Depth: 240FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:45
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Double HP120Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
Kevin had picked out T5 for our dive today. The site is one of a collection of pinnacles just outside the SW boundary of the park.

We arrived to find seemingly calm surface conditions, but really murky looking water inside the cove. As soon as we motored out of the cove, the swell became evident (though it couldn't have been too bad as I was still allowed to man the helm). After some waffling about the conditions around the PPW area, we pressed on to find slightly less choppy seas on the W side of the point.

We dropped the hook and watched it sail for a good 40' or 50' feet through a parade of Chrysaora and we knew it was going to be great :-) We quickly made our way down the line and at around 130' or so, the reef below came into site. We worked the first large pinnacle spanning 190' to 240' finding several very large and very healthy looking vase sponges.

We spent the rest of the dive scootering generally ENE covering several low-lying reef systems. The viz throughout easily exceeded 60'-80' and the ripples on the surface were visible from the bottom. Toward the end, there was a noticeable bottom current.

The reefs in this area look healthy and untouched, but lack the super-dense sponge coverage typically found at sites like Mt. Chamberlin. Most noticeably lacking were red gorgonians; perhaps some aspect of the prevailing water movement in this area are contra-indicative.

Deco was uneventful; highlights being the sea nettle parade at 20'-40', as well as visits by a sea lion and common murre :-)

A few pictures here
9/18/2009 Mount Chamberlin aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Joakim Linde, Dionna House, Mark Lloyd
Visibility: 30' - 50' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 48F - 55F Surge: 10'
Max Depth: 225FSW Avg Depth: 180FSW
Bottom Time: 0:44 Total Time: 1:40
Bottom Gases: 15/65Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Out on the Escapade this morning for a T2 dive with Joakim, Dionna and MarkL. This was Joakim firs post T2 class dive and MarkL and Dionna one year anniversary as T2 divers. To celebrate all these events we decided on the Mt. Chamberlin South Loop.

We dropped the hook at about 200ft on the West size of the Mountain, and motored North for a little bit until we found a large Rat Fish. Good find Mark!

From there we headed South-West following the structure and looking at the marine life. We found a nice basket star, some large nubribranches and some large vase sponges. A very large one was deeper than what we want to venture.

At the South-West corner of the Mountain there was a huge school of juveniles fish. Not sure what kind maybe rock-fish. That was like tropical diving inside a big bait-ball. Dionna was hoping a dolphin or whale will to stop by but no luck this time. Several loop and spin were done in/out of school and it was amazing to see the fish move as the divers when in out of the fish cloud.

After about 20min at the bottom we headed to 150 while swimming th some narrow canyons and cracks, and from there we headed towards K2 pinnacle.

At 120ft we reached the East wall of K2 and looked down at the drop. Way cool!

We continued for another 10min motoring around K2 peak. There was a large school of rock-fish at the top, and going around the 100-80ft peak went from not moving at all while scooter to full blast when the swells and current lined up. All the kelp at the pinnacle was horizontal which was a good sign of strong current and that our time at the pinnacle as over.

Visibility was 40-60ft. Much better than anticipated based on what the bay and Carmel were doing.

Here is a link to the route we took during the dive.

All in all a great dive with great divers :-)

9/12/2009 20SUR aboard Unknown Boat by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Joseph (Karl) Haywood, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 10' - 20' Time:11:00 AM
Temp:   Surge: 10'
Max Depth: 163FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Back at Big Sur Banks this weekend. This time we targeted another shallow pinnacle, Sur-20. This peak is located about 500ft from our previous trip, Sur-19.

Conditions were very different this time. We had large swells, and a green layer all the way to 100ft. Both of these created a dark atmosphere at the bottom. However the site was still great with very interested colours and marine life to look at. There was a large canyon dividing the pinnacle in two sections, and a small swim-th on the south site of the structure.

There were fewer vermilions and yellow-eyes that what I remember from previous trip there. I hope that the sport fishing in the area is not taking its toll on the fish population.

Due to conditions my video work was not the best but here it is in case people want to look at the site .

All in all a good trip, and we're looking forward to our next outing Sept 27 :-)

9/12/2009 Ballbuster aboard Unknown Boat by Mark Lloyd -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Harry Babicka, Dionna House, Mark Lloyd
Visibility: 15' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 53F Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 98FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 0:18
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Dionna, Harry, and I boarded the SS POS for a planned two dive day in the bay. The weather looked a bit foggy but was clearing up by the time we put the boat in the water. We decided on Ballbuster to see if we could get below the bad vis that we had been hearing about. After riding out to the site we clipped off the scooters and 32% tanks to the outside of the boat and backflipped in. Once in the water I could see Jellyfish everywhere. Looks like we would be dodging them all the way down. Once all three of us were at the anchor line we descended into Jellyfish soup. At about 40 or so feet the Jellies seem to clear up but it was very dark. We hit the reef at about 95 feet and checked the anchor position. At this point I could see Harry getting out his wet notes, he wrote, "Scooter Flooded", bummer. We called the dive, slowly rose to the surface and reboarded the boat. Luckily Harry has a Tekna which has a sealed motor compartment so all that was lost was a battery. Hauled all the gear back into the boat and off to lunch. After lunch we headed out to a spot near McAbee for some bottle drills and a bit of swimming. The vis overall did not improve and at best it was 15 feet. We reeled out a bit, breathed down our 80 of 32% then came back to the anchor for drills up the anchor line. Overall not great diving but hey diving non the less.
9/7/2009 K1 aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Joakim Linde, Jim Capwell, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 50' - 80' Time:10:00 AM
Temp:   Surge: 4'
Max Depth: 170FSW Avg Depth: 150FSW
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 1:10
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Over the last couple of years we have dove Mt Chamberlin quite a lot. It has become a favorite for many of our divers even over diving at Point Lobos. The Mountain is of triangular shape with a wide wall on the South and several small peaks in the inside of the structure. The peaks are named K1, K2, and K3. K2 is the most visited, followed by K3. K1 is seldom dove.

Jim Capwell and I dove K1 about 4 years ago after David Chamberlin noticed the structure on the just released CSUMB sonar data. However, we were poorly equipped to explore the site so we just hang around the top of the pinnacle at about 80ft.

Today Joakim and I were fortunate to be invited on the Escapade crew diving day, for a combo of rec and tech dives. As we wanted to do something especial we decided to go back to K1 and check the peak a little better.

I had a second objective to dive this site as I'm creating a list of sites than are in the 80-120ft that can be used for the R3 boat trips we have plan for the next year.

Jim lead the dive and took us on a grand tour of the site. We found very large school of blue rock-fish, one large size basket star and one large Tochuina tetraquetra. It must be the season for this type of nudribranches as we saw 3 of them during the long weekend.

The pinnacle has a very large cayon running towards deeper water, and a very nice vertical wall from 80 to 125ft. The wall is cover with life including gorgonias, sponges and all kind of little crabs.

We were surprised to see kelp growing all the way to 40ft :-)

On the way back we saw 3 or 4 large Blue Whales and some cute porpoises.

All in all a gran day out :-)

9/5/2009 Mt Chamberlin - South Wall aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava
Visibility: 50' - 70' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 46F - 51F Surge: 3'
Max Depth: 193FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Thanks to Matt for organizing an additional tech trip on the Escapade on Saturday. It looks like demand has been high for the BAUE tech trip so we will be scheduling more of them for next year :-)

Our destination was The South Wall of Mt Chamberlin, and on board were the Kitties, CAP, Joe, Matt and Susan. We anchored very close to the Wall on the East side and all teams scootered/swam to a little canyon that crosses the Wall perpendicular.

Best things on the dive were: a huge school of juveniles rock-fish near the West end of the wall, several Tochuina tetraquetra, and some of the swimming thrs on the canyon.

The worst thing of the dive were the layer of brown jellies from 50 to 30ft :-0. Susan got one of her lips :-0000

Here are some of Rob's photos.

8/30/2009 Kawika's Gorgonian Garden aboard Escapade by Robert Lee -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Allison Lee, Jim Capwell, John Heimann
Visibility:   Time:12:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth:   Avg Depth: 120FSW
Bottom Time: 0:40 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
John had set up some diving with Capt. Jim this weekend, which was enough to lure Allison away from weekend chores.

We saw the forecast build and build, but decided to give it a go anyway. On Sunday morning, a heavy fog had rolled in, and basically blanketed the whole area. As we set out toward Pt. Pinos, the swell and wind chop had started to pick up, so we decided to head back toward the bay. As we discussed the options, everybody pretty unanimously agreed on Kawika's spot.

Kawika's spot is a great dive, and as a solid 110'-120' average, makes a great R3 dive. We don't typically end up diving here often, so it is always a treat to do. The site itself is a large area of rocky ledges with many healthy gorgonians. For some reason (perhaps owing to its namesake), there seem to always be tons of rockfish of all varieties here. And large ones at that.

John, Jim, Allison and I worked the reef slowly as a 4-person team and just took in all of the rockfish, gorgonians and nudibranchs. At one point, I found a monster lingcod under a ledge, and as I shined my light on him, he just looked at me and stood his ground; at his size, he really wasn't intimidated by me at all!

Pretty soon, our 40min BT was over, and we headed toward the surface.

Kawika's spot is one of the great spots that we don't end up diving as often as we should. Just past the range of 32% or 30/30, we don't end up targeting these sites in the 100-130' range very often. Hopefully with the new R3 program, we can get some more interest and boats going out to visit these seldom dived sites.

Some pictures here.

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