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7/3/2009 Ed's Wall aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Robert Lee, Allison Lee
Visibility: 20' - 50' Time:10:30 AM
Temp: 48F - 55F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 218FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:30 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: LP104,HP120Deco Tanks:AL40,AL80
Deco Profile:
Robert and Allison organized a birthday dive for Susan on board Capt Phil's boat last Friday. The Weather Gods gave Susan an additional gift of super diving conditions for July 3th. Flat ocean, no swell, and no fog :-).

With such good conditions we decided to head for Ed's wall which is located on the west side of Point Lobos.

As we motored out to the dive site we encountered a large pod of Risso dolphins (AKA: Birthday Dolphins). Suddenly, a random, unfortunate boating maneuver accidentally caused all divers to fall into the water. Before we were able to exit the water, we had a great underwater view of the pod ;-)

As a group of dolphins passed under & to the side of us several times, one of the dolphins repeatedly turned around and looked at us. I think it was wishing Sue a happy birthday dive :-) Yay.

We continued on and anchored at the site, geared up, and went for our dive. The water was warm near the surface, but clear and cold (48) at depth, and it promised to be a beautiful dive. Once we landed at the 130ft mark we looked at the wide, deep hole (30x30x20ft) situated at the top of the wall and headed north-west along the wall.

We soon reached a deep canyon that we have always wanted to check out and followed the right side for a few minutes. We found a basket star, two Tochuina tetraquetra feeding on gorgonians, and a large vase sponge which was a little too deep for us to have a detailed look at it.

From there we followed the wall south-west. In a horizontal crack we found a gigantic gunnel of some sort (possibly a 6-spotted?) approximately 7 inches long, just sitting on the ledge as though admiring the view from its perch. We continued on, and immediately came across a huge school of rock-fish at one of the shallow peaks. There had to be a thousand fish forming dense & ever-moving dark clouds over the pinnacle!

We considered following the contour of the wall to begin our ascent at the 70' peak, but the lure of the schooling rockfish drew us back to the 120' peak area to conclude the bottom-portion of the dive.

We amused ourselves by observing 'deco-critters' on the way up. Perhaps due to the warmer water (55-57 degrees), there were hundreds of tiny jellies pulsating their way through the water column at various tempos.

On the 20ft stop, I heard squeaking & clicking noises, and began looking for dolphins. We weren't able to see any, but Phil confirmed that the pod had indeed swam right by us on their way out to deeper waters.

For our post dive decompression we had (Kitty especial) Russian Chocolate Pavlova which made for a perfect birthday dive day :-)

7/2/2009 Pondarosa by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team:
Visibility:   Time:10:19 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth:   Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
7/1/2009 Pondarosa by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kevin Dow, Joseph (Karl) Haywood
Visibility: 50' - 100' Time:10:19 AM
Temp: 81F Surge:  
Max Depth: 49FSW Avg Depth: 25FSW
Bottom Time: 1:50 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double AL80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Today was the first day of Karl’s cave trip in Mexico. After spending the first part of the morning working on getting tanks, checking in with Zero-G on the latest info nd grabbing our tanks from the local fill station.

For a shake out dive we chose to go to an old favorite and dive at Pondarosa up the Little Joe line. This is a line that starts just to the left of the cavern line right at the halocline before briefly jumping above it before descending below it for the next 500 feet or so. Eventually it takes a sharp left and rises above it and passes by the Cenote Little Joe. Looking up into the Cenote I was surprised to see a murky green layer. Normally it is very clear on the surface and you can see the tree branches waving above, but I think the recent rains had washed a bit of schmutz into the entrance.

Continuing on past Little Joe we passed through the minor restriction and quickly came to Cenote Zacil Ha. This is a really beautiful cenote that meanders for quite a bit. At various points there holes in the roof that allowed light beams to penetrate and light up the surface. It is right around Zacil Ha that the cave becomes incredibly decorated with various orange tinged decorations everywhere you look.

Shortly after passing the double line arrows we attempted to jump to the right to the Dune room, but unfortunately what I though was the unmarked jump turned out to be a false lead. We quickly retraced our steps and continued just a short way further before turning the dive on gas. On the way back I showed Karl the jump where the cave changes from upstream to downstream back by Cenote Zacil Ha.

Eventually we made it back to our reel and after a quick check of gas decided to run the cavern line. Cenote Coral was also showing a heavy green tinge in the surface water as well as a noticeable hydrogen sulfide layer. We made it to the end of the cavern line and spent a few moments looking at the tree roots that were hanging down in the water before heading back out.

All in all a great first dive for the trip.
6/27/2009 Pt Lobos by Dionna House -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Nathalie Udo, Mark Lloyd, Dionna House
Visibility: 10' - 40' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 51F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 100FSW Avg Depth: 60FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time: 1:10
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:

Thanks to all that came out to the BAUE Invitational Summer Solstice. There were definitely lots of friends, laughing and plenty of fruits, veggies, chips and salsa to share. We gathered at the usual time and pondered at the conditions of the sea. Some chose to sit and socialize, some chose to hike, and other did the usual diving. The beauty of Pt Lobos is there is always something to do for the outdoorsy people. Todd Sieber’s son spotted a baby octopus on the boat ramp. We all performed operation “Octopus Rescue”, without being inked we watched the little cephalopod dart out to safety. The birds were looking fairly hungry for sushi. I teamed up with Mark L and Nathalie Udo. We decided to go out to the Lone Metridium and evaluate the conditions to swim out to the Sisters. We geared and started a long kick out. Mark led the dive. Conditions were about 30ft at the Lonely Metridium. Not bad so we continued a little north west… better vis at different spots. Then we turned due North and swam out to Beto’s Reef. We hung out there until turn time came. Mark spotted a cool Dirona out at Beto’s Reef. On the way back, there were several lingcods out. We got back near the Lone Metridium and swam east to Hole in the Wall. Once we hit 40ft, I swam up to stop Mark, Nathalie wanted to practice an ascent for her check out tech rating dive the next day. Poor Nathalie had to witness two buddies duking it out. ;-) We came up and swam in.

Lunch time was filled with food, dive stories laughs and lies. We talked about possible solutions for keeping Pt Lobos open, and had some good laughs. The tide was coming in and Mark started talking about dive 2. Ugh, I was so tired. He wasn’t going to take my maybe as a NO. Fortunately the next dive was going to be via scooter. With the tide coming in, it was easy getting the scooter and extra bottles in and out. It is the cure for being lazy!!! I’m glad I was talked into diving again.
Dive 2: More exploration out near Lonely Metridium, canyons near-by, structures that run north east of the sisters. We came back on the 70ft contour north of Middle Reef. The vis was spectacular, about 50-60ft. We came in on the west side of Middle Reef and surfaced laughing. Great Dive!!! Sun was out and the conditions were obviously beautiful.

Dive 3 was at Plumes: I had the extra extra octane coffee. Than off to Siamese Bay for more food and laughs.

After 3 long quarters of Nursing School... this was a great way to start the summer!!!
6/14/2009 Montana by Dionna House -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Harry Babicka, Mark Lloyd, Harry Wong
Visibility: 30' - 60' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 52F Surge: 1'
Max Depth: 145FSW Avg Depth: 130FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:50/25,O2
Backgas Config: Double LP95Deco Tanks:AL40
Deco Profile:
On Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to dive with Mark L, Harry B and the Doc. Since none of us were able to get on the tech boat, we decided as team to take a trip out to Montana. Harry was ranting and raving about how great the visibility was on Thursday. The seas have been continuously flat. We socialized a little bit and schlepped our tanks and scooters out to the float. We got specific instructions from Doc about how he wanted to video the reef and that we were to look like we were having loads of FUN!!! We did our GUE EDGE and off we went. Harry B and I were one team and Doc and Mark was the other. Doc led the three of us out to Montana. We made it out to Granite Point Wall and shot out North West with the Granite Point Pinnacle to our right. We found Doc¡¦s favorite tie off rock and ran the reel out to Montana. The plan was to circumnavigate around Montana while Doc took video. We stopped at one point to admire the huge school of juvenile blue rockfish, it was very peaceful. The vis was about 60feet, the temp¡K well let us just say¡K I was not cold. Doc signaled us to do our modeling and fly bys with the scooter. We zooooom zoooomed pass him with big smiles on our faces just like synchronized swimmersƒº. At one point of the dive I actually heard Mark L laughing. God only knows what Dandy Melonway was doing while on camera!! LOL!! I gave Doc my big smile and posed and off I went. Time flies when you are having fun out there. It was time to go back to the reel and make our way back to Granite Point Wall for deco. Doc reeled in as we watched attentively. As we cruised along the wonderful pinnacles I was thinking how great this experience is. We arrived at our deco stop on time. We all made our gas switches with our primary buddy and paraded back into the cove for a relaxing deco. We managed to zoom past Chad and Doug in the sand channel. I heard Chad came down to our 20ft stop to say Hi¡K I never saw him though. He said we looked focused!! ;-) We came in and had a wonderful lunch together and debriefed. I guess I have to get better at holding my light at a 45 degree angle ƒ¼ while being videoed, such minor details for such a wonderful dive. Thanks Doc. You did a great job!!!! It is awesome to go out there with a team of 3-4 divers, it¡¦s the only way to travel.

Here is the video:

6/13/2009 Midway Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava, Joseph (Karl) Haywood
Visibility: 30' - 50' Time:10:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 53F Surge: 3'
Scooter: Gavin Short Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 201FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:30
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
Every year BAUE organizes some diving trips to the Big-Sur area. These trips vary from recreational diving near the coast, to more advanced sites including Big Sur Banks Pinnacles.

July and August typically bring the calmest weather of the year, although this can change from year to year. For example last year October was actually the calmest month for going down the coast, and we had to endure some pretty bumpy rides on our July-Aug trips.

On Saturday we decided to push our luck and see if we could made it down the coast. We have had 2 weeks of incredibly calm ocean, so we were crossing our fingers for another smooth day on the sea.

On Saturday morning we woke up and opened the shutters to look at the ocean from our home in Seaside. Unfortunately we could not see the ocean as a thick bank of the fog had moved in to threaten our ocean view. We decided to ignore the fog and hope that it would lift by the time we got to our dive site destination, Mid-way Pinnacle.

Between the Big Sur lighthouse and the famous Big Sur Banks pinnacles there is a forgotten series of rocks which we have been calling Mid-way Pinnacles. It's too deep to dive during the recreational trips and not too far out that the site is attractive to the adv tech divers looking for the Big Sur Banks hydrocorals, so divers seldom visit this pinnacle.

The top of the pinnacle is at 120-130ft and the base is at 200ft. The top is similar to the 19SUR and 20SUR sites with tons of healthy bushy hydrocoral.

The base of the pinnacle is different to 19-20SUR because it actually goes deeper. At the base there are big boulders, small arches, and a tall wall which gives protection to many species of fish. We often see more Yellow Eye rockfish at this site than any other in Big Sur. The yellow eye rockfish are of all sizes, from 1 to 2 inch juveniles, to 2 - 3 ft healthy adults.

By the time we arrived at the site the fog was high in the sky, the swells were small, and there waasn't much current at the surface.

Capt Bligh's crew deployed the hook, and soon after the three teams jumped in the water and went for their dives.

There was minimal current all the way to 100ft, but the moment we reached 120ft you could see a big curve on the down-line as we encountered a strong bottom current.

We headed west towards the base of the structure and did a 360 degrees loop around the perimeter at the bottom. We saw tons of fish and my favorite area was the SE portion. The current was quite strong so we motored against it for a while and rode it back as we completed our circle.

After about 20min at the bottom we decided to move shallower to enjoy 15min of looking at the hydrocoral bushes. As we tried to move up, the current was super strong and kept pushing us down. We had to point the scooters up-hill and get in good trim position in order to reach the shallows and it took a good 3 minutes to 'climb the hill'. About 15 ft above us we could see the swimming team of Clinton, Jo, and Matt kicking for dear life so as not to be pushed down the pinnacle.

While at 150ft we looped the pinnacle one more time and we saw Clinton, Matt and Joakin holding on to the down-line :-0, looking like 3 flags blowing in the wind. Shortly after we saw the Kitty Team working on photo composition at the SE top area.

We soon deployed our SMB at the top of the pinnacle to drift our deco. The strange thing was that once we left the top, the current was much milder. Once our bag was up, we stayed near the upline for quite a long time.

Because of its remote location and the fact that Mid-way sticks up from 'out of no-where' like a sky-scraper in the middle of the desert, this pinnacle seems to get some wild & erratic water flow. More than one current converges here, and you basically never know what to expect when you dive this site!

For the second dive we spent about 30min diving the shallow portion of Lobos Rocks while getting buzzed & barked at by sea lions :-). This is the funniest diving in the North Coast... not only because of the barking lions, but due to the roller-coaster surge close to the rocks. While clouds of white-water explode over your head, your sinuses had better be in good shape to endure the 'rodeo ride' at Lobos Rocks.

We scootered around the west rock, and attempted to look composed while posing for our extremely optimistic BAUE photographers-- who were seemingly undaunted by the surge.

It was another great day on the Big Sur Coast!

6/13/2009 Midway Pinnacle aboard Escapade by Kevin Dow -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Kevin Dow, Allison Lee, Robert Lee
Visibility: 20' - 40' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 54F Surge:  
Scooter: X-scooter Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 170FSW Avg Depth: 150FSW
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:20
Bottom Gases: 21/35Deco Gases:EAN50
Backgas Config: Double HP100Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
With the seas so flat we were able to head farther south then normal for a tech trip. The site selection was to be Midway pinnacle. I had heard about Midway from others but never gotten a chance to dive it as normally when we head that far south, we are very Big Sur Banks focused. Beto showed me the site in Global mapper a week prior and it looked like a lot of fun.

Team Kitty was staying down in Montery overnight on Friday so there was talk of a group buy of Breakfast burritos at Baldamero's in the morning. Unfortunately when morning came we has a wussification in the team and it looked like the plan was falling apart. At the last minute though we pulled a backup plan together and I went over myself to purchase the BBs for Beto and myself.

The ride out to the site was nice and smooth and the weather ceiling kept rising which brought out smiles with everybody.

At the site after a first failed attempt the Escapade got the hook and float set on the pinnacle and announced that there didn't appear to be any current running as the float and line was upright. Jumping in seemed to confirm this as we had all the time in the world to get to the float and start our descent.

On the way down however things began to change. Soon we could see the down line vibrating intensely in the current and we started to have to use the scooters to keep position.

Once we hit the top of the pinnacle we exchanged a quick series of okays before heading down to our target depth. The side of the reef is very colorful and I saw a newer type of Nudibranch that I had not seen before so I attempted to call Allison over as she is my "expert" Allison though was occupied with looking at a warbonnet so I waited a bit before she came over looked at it and gave me a "its a common one" look.

At this point we were feeling a bit battered with dealing with the current, so we elected to move clockwise round the pinnacle to get into the lee side. As we rounded the point the current kept getting strong and stronger until we had to kick the scooters up to 5 just to make headway.

We soon found out that there was no lee side for the current as on the opposite side we found that instead of pushing us down and away from the reef it was now pushing us into and up the reef.

After a few more minutes of this we headed to the top of the pinnacle where things were whipping over the tops of the bushy hydrocoral. This was perhaps the funnest part of the dive as it was essentially a drift dive. We would use scooters to get to one end reef then drift back across the reef looking at the scenery. Once on the far side it was back on the scooters to get into position again. After about a half dozen times of this we were at our allotted dive time and shot the bag and started our ascent.

There were lots of little deco critters to keep oneself occupied on the way up. The temperature slowly rising as we ascended through the water column also made for a relaxing deco.

For the surface interval we pigged out on Breakfast burritos and Pineapple slices. The Escapade had laid out a feast for us with Cup-a-soup, sandwiches, hot tea, goodies & new KFC grilled chicken. Everybody agreed that the chicken was a big hit.

For dive two the rest of the boat elected to do a recreational dive at Lobos Rocks. Karl and myself were already in dry clothes and content stayed on the boat and relaxed.

Gallery here:
6/7/2009 Pt Lobos by Dionna House -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Chad Fazio, Doug Simmons, Dionna House
Visibility: 10' - 30' Time:12:00 AM
Temp: 50F - 53F Surge: 1'
Max Depth: 90FSW Avg Depth: 60FSW
Bottom Time:   Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Double Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:

I was very lucky to be asked to dive with Doug Simmons, and Chad Fazio. It was very sweet. As we entered into park, the seas were flatter than flat. Chad talked about his desperate need to do a Thelma & Louise off the Lobos ramp with his environmentally safe truck. I hope he wasn't thinking about doing this with me in the car!!! :-0

As we geared up we had a little entertainment at the park by a young fella verbalizing his hatred for California budget and Schwartzneger that Ranger Chuck had to be called to monitor the scene. What I learned from this is... "Smoking is all mental" quote from the psycho visitor
:-O... YIKES!! Oh well back to diving.

We planned our dive to go to Beto's reef and to the Lone Metridium and home. Chad and Doug wanted a good orientation to get out to the Hole in the Wall, Beto's Reef and the Lone metridium We did our GUE EDGE and kicked out. We descended about 50ft south of Hole in the Wall. Showed the guys the hole and went north west to Sea Mount. Showed the guys Sea Mount, then went a littl further to Beto's Reef. We stayed at 85-90ft for a short time and headed south to the Lone Metridium. We spotted a few vermilions and one big lingcod. We went south of the Lone Metridium and around back to Hole in the Wall. Started kicking in on the sand channel when Chad gave me the signal to end the dive. He looked rather uncomfortable. We made a leisurely ascent, Doug and I taking our time at 5-10ft. We surface with Chad needing to do a rather fast swim back to the ramp. ;-) Sorry Chad.. now you know how the women feel. 2 times!!!

I sat out to read on the second dive, Felicity went for a hike, the guys went out on their own to look for Hole in the Wall and the Middle Reef.

We had a little more entertainment from the vocal visitor and finished up the day at Turtle Bay. 38 is Chad's lucky number!!!

5/30/2009 Mount Chamberlin aboard Escapade by Alberto Nava -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Susan Bird, Alberto Nava, Joseph (Karl) Haywood
Visibility: 15' - 50' Time:9:55 AM
Temp: 46F - 53F Surge:  
Scooter: Gavin Short Burn Time:  
Max Depth: 228FSW Avg Depth:  
Bottom Time: 0:35 Total Time: 1:35
Bottom Gases: 15/55Deco Gases:EAN50,O2
Backgas Config: Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
After 39 hrs underwater in Mx with 76F degrees I was looking forward to some real diving with 50F water, 20ft vis, dry gloves, 400 undies ;-)

We boarded the Escapade early in the morning and the small group of T2 divers headed towards Yankee Point Area. The ocean was super flat and the fog was high in the sky so there wasn't much to worry about. On the way, we visited a pod of about 50 Risso dolphins who had congregated to play very close to shore just north of Point Joe. They looked like they might be feeding, and they were slapping their flukes and jumping out of the water in bursts of excitement.

After tearing ourselves away from the dolphins, Dionna, Mark, Susan, Karl and myself headed for a dive at Mt Chamberlin. The plan was to dive the K3 dive site but starting more at the north-end tip which would make for a shorter swim or scooter ride to the west side on the wall.

Capt Bligh deployed the hook and very shortly afterwards we jumped into the calm water. First thing I noticed was that the water was a bit colder than Mx, but not bad. The next thing I noticed was that when I hit the trigger my scooter propelled me backwards at a very good pace :-(. I had accidentally connected the power plugs in an inverted position, so I had to hand the scooter back to Michael and Jim on the boat... and they did a great job of reconnecting it the right way :-).

Karl, Susan and myself descended with Mark and Dionna following behind. The down-line was almost vertical which made for a more difficult scootering descent while trying to stay on the line, but after a few minutes we made it to the bottom at about 170ft.

We found a canyon on the north end of the structure and followed it out to the edge of the wall at about 200ft. We looked around for a few seconds and Susan gave the signal to go down. We descended to about 225-230' and motored on the way south for a little bit. Susan found some nice basket stars and there were some very large lingcods and vermillions.

After about 20min of enjoying the scenery, we headed back to the canyon and returned to the down-line location. After that we motored along the K2 wall and as we were looking at the terrain we saw Mark and Dionna in the distance. We signaled them to join us at the wall and we spent another 10min playing in the 150-140area.

The interesting thing about this site is that the proliferation of colorful marine life extends well beyond the 180ft range, in to the deeper water. We had the pleasure of observing yellow & orange sponges, elephant ears, healthy gargonians, multiple clusters of juvenile fishes congregating around outcroppings, crabs, treefish, hydrocorals, etc. during all portions of the dive. Towards the end of our adventure we found some really large hermisendas with a vibrant red coloration, and also a war bonnet out in the open.

We eventually made it to the top of K2 and were able to locate the 60ft peak. The water here was greener/murkier than at depth, dropping from 50ft viz at the bottom to about 20ft near the top of the pinnacle. There were some large sheepheads challenging our presence on their turf, and some very large schools of blue rock-fish.

After about 50min of diving we deployed our SMB and started our drift deco.

All in all it was a great way to get back into cold water
diving :-).

On the way home, Capt Bligh got a call from the whale boats, and we were able to see a blue whale swimming along the calm surface of the sea. We got close enough to clearly hear the whale exhale through its blowhole. Very cool!

To complete a perfect morning, Jim (AKA: Bligh) took us out to visit the Risso dolphins one more time. They had relocated slightly further off-shore, but were still up to their dolphin-esque antics. Sadly, Jim missed a golden photo opportunity to catch 3 dolphins jumping in tandem above the surface... oh well, maybe next time Jim!

Monterey diving rocks!

I was so inspired that I went home and mowed the (jungle-like) lawn.

5/25/2009 Breakwater by Matt Vieta -- [View this report only]
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Bottom Team: Matt Vieta, Leah Wadler
Visibility: 5' - 20' Time:9:00 AM
Temp:   Surge:  
Max Depth: 41FSW Avg Depth: 33FSW
Bottom Time: 1:10 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: EAN32Deco Gases:
Backgas Config: Single HP100Deco Tanks:
Deco Profile:
After attempting to get into Lobos, and checking out CRB, Leah and I ended up a the Breakwater. The parking lot was almost empty and we decided to check out the wall.

We had a mother and baby otter pass within 10 feet of us on our surface swim out to the 7 marker. We dropped down in the sand and almost immediately came upon a huge number of Hermissendas. I don't think I've ever seen so many in such a small area. There must have been at least 50 in a 1M square area. We also spotted a Dendronotus iris on our way to the wall.

We wandered up and back on the wall finding lots of slugs such as:

Polycera atra
Okenia rosacea
Limacia cockerelli
Triohpa catalinae
Flabellina trilineata
Hermissenda crassicornis
Dendronotus iris

We also saw the usual complement of dorids. This was my first time finding a Polycera atra! We were buzzed by a sea lion on the way home.

Great dive!

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