Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Point Lobos Dive

Did two dives at Point Lobos last Wednesday (Feb 10).

Conditions were good, the visibility was above 20feet. water temp was a little low (52F). waves were small and coming in from the West, so the cove was calm/sheltered. Surface conditions were OK. somewhat overcast, with patches of sun. Temp was probably in the low 60s.

I've only been to Lobos once before and to be honest, I didn't think it was a good dive that time. On that occasion I think we dove Cannery Point.

This time we dove in two spots. First dive was Cannery Point, second was Middle Reef.

Diving at Cannery Point means entering the water from the boat ramp, then turning left (as you face the water) to swim North, parallel to the parking lot.

We swam out as far as the first rock. at that point the surface waves were buffeting us quite a bit (foot or two). In this area you start to get out of the protected area of the cove.

We dropped down and swam out on about a 350degree barring. I had the intention of turning left, taking a 270degree, once we got to deeper water, but every time I tried to go West, we encountered rough surge against the rock wall. I repeatedly did North to West, to North, to west turns, but eventually conceeded that we were not going to get west around the cliff.

There wasn't as much wildlife on this dive as I expected. We saw a couple of large schools, and several Nudibranchs. I saw one larger rockfish, didn't see it long enough to get a picture, it disappeared behind some rocks.

The second dive, along Middle Reef, required a surface swim out to the middle of the cove. we swam away from the boat ramp on a North-East barring then once at the middle of the cove took a parallel tack to the parking lot wall. Before we got to the end of the cliff we dropped down. Vis on the surface was terrible! couldn't see the bottom, but we had started to encounter some light kelp, so I took that to mean we were over a rocky bottom.

Once we dropped down (it was about 20ft deep) the vis really opened up.

The bottom where we submerged was still pretty sandy, so I was worried that my assumption (i.e., kelp means rock) was bad. however, I then saw, out 15ft to the north, the start of the rocks (the 'reef'?!!).

We took the same approx barring as the last dive, 350degree (ish). It was a very easy out/back pattern.

This dive was great. there was so much to see. several very large rockfish (Vermillion?), crabs, shrimp, nudibranchs, a big Lingcod. Lots of swimming between rock pinnacles, so plenty to see on the rock walls. A lot less surge and swell on this dive, due to the more protected position in the cove.

The depth ranged down to 45ft, but due to the undulating nature of the reef most of the dive was below 30ft, meaning a good 50minute dive - even for an air hog like me!

Overall a successful dive trip. The second dive was one of my top five Northern Cal dives, possibly even my favorite.


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