Thursday, November 14, 2013

Diving Point Lobos Nov 2, 2013

Club dive with the dive club of silicon valley.

Excellent day's diving. The conditions had been good for a couple of weeks, so the visibility today was awesome. We dove from MADs inflatable (see also: kamtime) so we were able to get a little further out from the boat ramp than normal.

We dropped down from the boat into about 70ft of water. We could see the bottom as soon as we descended from the surface. It was an unusual experience for Monterey diving, as usually you dive into a murk and the surface slowly emerges to visibility as you get within a few feet of it. Today I had an incredible sensation: On the descent I was at 40ft. I looked down, the bottom looked as though it was maybe 10 ft away, then I looked to my right, I could see my dive buddy a clear 20ft below me, and he looked only halfway between me and the bottom. Sure enough, we touched down into 72ft of water. Incredible.

Both these dives started in approximately the same place. The pin on the map is the location of the first dive. Second dive was slightly to the north-west of the first site.

Dive Site

View in Google Maps

First Dive

Dropped down onto a number of submerged pinnacles. Bottom was around 70ft, but we hovered above that and explored the walls for nudibranch, shrimp, cucumber, etc. We made our way towards the three large rocks visible on the satellite map. We were heading in an approx 300 magnetic direction.

Bottom varied from sandy to "mountainous", with abundant kelp.

Plenty of large schools of blue and black rockfish. It was wonderful to hang in the water column, facing up, and enjoy the views - hundreds of 9-15" fish schooling over head. Spooked a rock wrasse at one point and it flared up its pectoral fins, which were really pretty.

Best view (for us not the creature involved) was a poor old jelly, in about 20ft of water. It was getting picked at by several rockfish. Still pulsating along, but definitely looking worse for wear, it's tentacles were all but gone, and it's bell was looking a little pecked at.

At the half way point we took a reciprocal heading, once we saw the boat overhead we ascended. Kari was waving at us from the surface, she said she could see us 20ft down on our safetly stop.

Depth 56ft
Duration 41min
Temperature 52F
Visibility 40ft

Second Dive

Similar to the first, thought the descent point was slightly north-west of the first.

Took a 300 magnetic heading towards the three rocks again. As we got shallower conditions got a little more surgy.

We were not getting picked-up by the boat this time, so rather than taking the reciprocal heading we instead turned on an approx 150 heading to return to the cove and do a shore exit. We made the turn to 150 at approx 15 minutes. As you can see, I was in around 20ft of water at that point as the bottom was getting shallower towards the wash rocks.

Again, the marine life was mainly rockfish: Large schools of blue and black, a couple of vermillion. Saw a couple of lingcod on this dive and a sheephead. Surprisingly no seal action today, unlike two weeks back.

Returning to the boat ramp was fairly easy, once you start heading in on a 150 heading just keep the shallows to your right and skirt between rocky wall and sand channel (on your left).

As always, the visibility dropped drastically as we got close to the parking lot, that's your cue that it's time to surface.

Depth 72ft
Duration 50min
Temperature 51F
Visibility 40ft

Friday, November 1, 2013

Belize Scuba Diving Trip - Shopping List

Couple of things I'd like to buy before we head out to Belize in November:

Hero 3+
Got to get a good video camera to capture all our underwater and jungle antics!

Spare Air
I am paranoid these days about being in an Out Of Air situation ... probably because I'm diving a lot with my 13 year old son and I can't afford to have him die on me.

Light and Motion Sola 1200
I'm perfectly happy with my SL4, but these Light and Motion and so damned bright. Great for night dives ... though I know from past experience that in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean you really don't need 1200 lumen, even on a night dive.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Diving Monastery North, September 8, 2013

Dive Site

View in Google Maps

First Dive

Depth 121ft
Duration 35min
Temperature 47F
Visibility 20-30ft

Second Dive

Depth 94ft
Duration 50min
Temperature 47F
Visibility 30ft

More Info

Other dives at or near Monastery: #Monastery

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New Toy - Nautilus Lifeline

Finally got that Nautilus Lifeline that I've been dreaming of for years.
Nautilus Lifeline
View larger image

Full report to come shortly, once I've had chance to play with it a little!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Post Dive Destination for Monterey

After our last couple of dives at the breakwater, on Cannary Row, we have adjourned to this place.

Massaro & Santos
32 Cannery Row, Suite H-1
Monterey, CA93940

Coast Guard Pier

They have a very reasonably priced "Diver Special". But we usually forgo the included soda, and enjoy a cocktail.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Diving Point Lobos, July 14 2013

Dive Site

The annual "Day After Dive" for the Dive Club of Silicon Valley. Went diving with 30 or so of my closest dive buddies.

Map of Lobos
View on Google Maps

This year we were lucky enough to get a boat charter (actually an inflatable, or RIB) to come drive us out to some less accessible spots, so I did two dives away from the shore. The first at Bluefish Cove Pinnacles, the second at Thumbs Up. After doing two dives from the boat, I managed a third dive from shore, in Whalers cove and Coal Chute Cove.

Overview Map of the Dive Sites, imported from Livescribe
Click for fullsize

The sights on the two boat dives were similar. I preferred the second site sightly, as it had a more impressive rock structure, the visibility was a little better. The best aspect was swimming upside down at 70ft and looking up towards the surface through some very large school of juvenile red rockfish. We also saw a fair number of large perch, blue rockfish and a couple of reasonable size lingcod hanging out on the rocks.

Neither of these sites are accessible from shore - the surface swim would be too long. Thumbs-up is not a site that I've heard of before. As the map shows, and the captain told us, it's on the edge of Point Lobos, at a place called Mono Lobo. From what I could tell, it's practically at Monastery.

First Dive

Depth 74ft
Duration 30min
Temperature 48F
Visibility 20ft

Second Dive

Depth 78ft
Duration 30min
Temperature 48F
Visibility 20-25ft

After a good long surface interval, we tackled the third dive of the day. By this time, the rest of the dive club members had left, leaving just me and my buddy.

Third Dive

Cave Swimthrough at Coal Chute Cove

Depth 33ft
Duration 38min
Temperature 49F
Visibility 20ft

Map of Whalers Cove Dive to Coal Chute Cove and Cave Swimthrough
Click for fullsize

Made an entry from shore, via the boat ramp, into Whaler's Cove. MAde a longish surface swim to the center of the cove, before deciding the kelp was too think to crawl over, and dropping down.

Visibility was pretty good and the views were really nice due to the heavy kelp. Always nice to "fly" through the forest. We were in about 25ft of water at this point. Swam on a 60degree heading towards Coal Chute Cove. The depth got a little deeper as we approached the cove, but only to 33ft.

We hit the corner of Coal Chute Cove perfectly - obvious from the sudden high wall to our right. The sun also started to breakthrough more at that point as the kelp is not so thick over there. We swam a little further into Coal Chute, before turning right (south) to make our way to the edge of the cove.

The purpose of this dive was the swim through the cave. The cave entrance is on the sea floor in Coal Chute Cove, but you exit in Whaler's Cove at the surface.

As always, we were unsure exactly how far into Coal Chute we needed to go. We swam back along the wall, back towards Whalers. We encountered one cave. We swam in. You could see light above, but not a wide enough opening to exit. This was the wrong cave, so we left. We swam a little further, back more towards Whaler's, hugging the cove wall, under an overhang, then to a second cave. We entered. This was a larger cave, with some rubble and a large bolder in the middle. It's initially dark, but once you swim in a little you can see light. There was a slight surge, but we were able to swim through. A little tricky as you have to ascend as you swim through, so there's a change in buoyancy. We popped out into a slightly surgy, slightly wavey Whaler's cove. The last two trees up on the cliff give you a guide as-to where the exit is - I suppose in theory you could make the swimthrough in the return direction, but it would be more difficult - descending into a narrow opening, just below the surface with waves trying to crash you into the rocks.

Due to the short period of time in an overhead environment, this is a dive that requires good buoyancy and at least two flashlights. Provided you can find the cove, you don't need particularly good navigation skills, as you just hug the wall of the cove and look for the opening.

You are force to surface on the Whaler's side of the swim though - as I said, the opening is near the surface. From there we took a new heading back toward the parking lot (220 would have been ideal, we did 210). We dropped back down and swam back across the cove, under the kelp.

Nice swim across. Didn't see much spectacular in the way of wildlife. Visibility was good, until we reached the sand channel at the west side of Whaler's Cove. We swam a little way through the murk, then surfaced. We were still a little way off the boat ramp, so I took a new heading (270) and dropped back down to 10ft and swim in under the kelp.

Great days diving

View from the car across Whaler's Cove towards Coal Chute Cove

Car full of tanks.  Whaler's Cove, with Coal Chute Cove in the distance
Click for fullsize

Friday, June 28, 2013

Diving La Jolla Cove, San Diego, June 2013

Dive Site

View on Google Maps

First Dive

Depth 40ft
Duration 49min
Temperature 52F
Visibility 15ft

Second Dive

Depth 36ft
Duration 59min
Temperature 62F
Visibility 20ft

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Carmel River State Beach - May 11, 2013

Dive Site

Carmel River State Beach is just North of Monastery. The conditions here can be very dangerous, but if the weather is right, they are brilliant, and today was one of the brilliant days.

We had clear skies, warm weather, flat conditions and great visibility.


View on Google Maps

First Dive

Depth 39ft
Duration 59min
Temperature 48F
Visibility 30-40ft

We started by swimming out to the wash rock (which looks a long way out from shore! We figured it would be an interesting pinnacle with a lot of life, so we were going to swim around it and look for critters.

As we swam out, through mild kelp, we noticed a lot of submerged rocks that came very close to the surface, and this was causing some sizable waves, despite the otherwise very flat conditions. As a result we changed our initial plan, and decided to dive the kelp just to the left (as viewed from the beach) of the wash rock.

This was a really nice dive. The floor here was very rocky, with large structures causing the depth to change from 20 to 40 ft. There were numerous bolders to swim along and channels between them making for an interesting dive. The kelp was plentiful, but not too thick, so you could swim through it safely. There was no noticeable surge, so you could swim up close to the walls and get a good look at the marine life.

Saw plenty of yellow Nudibranch, a couple of 'white' ones, several of what I thought were black sea slugs. A few lingcod (3-4ft), cabazone (small), abundant blue rockfish, a few kelp bass, kelp wrasse.

My favorite sighting on this dive was the purple, pink and orange hydrocoral that we saw down at about 30ft. There was quite a lot of it and I don't recall ever seeing that before in Northern California. People have told me that it's common at depth around here though (deeper than 100ft) and I've seen it down south (in the Channel Islands).

Really enjoyed swimming amongst the rock structures on this dive. Circled a couple these, before peeling off on an approximately 40degree heading and swimming in towards shore.

Due to the rockiness of the bottom it was hard to hold the 40 bearing, as a result we drifted south down the beach somewhat. As we got into about 20ft water we were swimming above thicker kelp, then onto a sandy bottom in about 15ft of water. Once we got shallow (15ft) we used the ridges in the sand to guide us into shore and infact pulled ourselves along the bottom on the sand - using the waves to carry us back to shore.

Second Dive

Depth 48ft
Duration 45min
Temperature 46F
Visibility 30-40ft

On this dive we dropped down immediately after entering the water - no surface swim. We headed out over the top of the kelp at first, then once depth increased, swam along side the kelp, skirting it down to about 50ft. As the visibility was good, we had an excellent view of the kelp and the sea bed, which was about 10ft below us.

Hit a thermocline at around 30ft, with a very visible shimmer. Didn't see quite as much on this dive as we were further away from the rocks and kelp, but it was a nice view.

On the return to shore we again 'flew' above the kelp for quite a way.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Dive Buddy

Yay, I have a new Dive Buddy!

My 12 year old is now certified to dive.

Makes me feel a little nervous.