Historical Dive Logs

This page contains transcriptions of my hand-written dive logs, from when I started diving in 1995 to when I stopped logging them in 2007.

Dive #1, 8/3/1995
Frontenac Pt South, Cayuga Lake, NY
12′ vis, 35 min @ 40′

First open water dive for PADI. Walked out from beach, swam down and explored some wrecked boats, went down and experienced the thermocline around 35-40′. Thermocline was a few feet above a dock we rested on, got to be half-in, half-out of it.

Dive #2, 8/4/1995
Frontenac Pt South, Cayuga Lake, NY
12′ vis, 35 min @ 30′

Second open water dive for PADI. Pretty similar to first dive, went around looking at wrecks and the zebra-mussel encrusted scenery, was well as practicing and demonstrating skills. A fair amount of fish on this dive, for the lake at least.

Dive #3, 6/22/1997
Frontenac Pt South, Cayuga Lake, NY
10′ vis, 35 min @ 30′

Refresher for the AOW class in Florida. Similar to previous Frontenac Pt dives, went down and looked around. Some fish, including a big mud puppy-like thing.

Dive #4, 7/10/1997
Alligator Reef, Florida Keys
30′ vis, 35 min @ 24′

First dive in tropical waters, much nicer than Cayuga Lake, obviously. Lots of fish and other such things. AOW dive.

Dive #5, 7/11/1997
Boy Scout Artificial Reef, Florida Keys
20′ vis, 55 min @ 20′

Second seabase dive; covered navigation over sandy-bottomed area. AOW dive.

Dive #6, 7/11/1997
Long Key South, Florida Keys
30′ vis, 50 min @ 23′

Third seabase dive; covered boat diving techniques. Problems with goggles fogging up during dive, otherwise good. AOW dive.

Dive #7, 7/12/1997
35′ vis, 55 min @ 20′

Fourth seabase dive, reef populated by plenty of fish and lobsters. AOW dive.

Dive #8, 7/12/1997
Alligator Reef, Florida Keys
30′ vis, 60 min @ 24′

Fifth seabase dive; covered night diving. Biggest sight was a small octopus found by Ron Harris-Warrick, plastered against a rock for a few seconds before turning red/white and pouring itself into a crevice. Lots of squid hanging around the surface apparently, had problems equalizing ears for last part of dive but was otherwise alright. Water was crowded with divers, and with only lights and chemical sticks it was hard to distinguish people from one another. AOW dive.

Dive #9, 7/13/1997
Crocker Reef, Florida Keys
50′ vis, 25 min @ 81′

Sixth seabase dive; covered deep diving. Slow descent to 80′, fish and scenery unremarkable. Did some exercises to look at effects of depth, such as checking color charts, etc. AOW dive.

Dive #10, 7/13/1997
Long Key Bridge Rubble, Florida Keys
28′ vis, 55 min @ 24′

Artificial reef formed from piles of bridge rubble. Seventh seabase dive, location had plenty of fish and a small moray eel wedged under a rock. AOW dive.

Dive #11, 7/15/1997
Benwood Wreck, Floriday Keys
50′ vis, 50 min @ 40′

Eighth seabase dive; covered wreck diving, or at least diving around a wreck. Sights included some boxfish and lots of squirrelfish. Boat was long and thing (trawler?), and mostly collapsed, so for the dive we just went up and down its length. AOW dive.

Dive #12, 7/15/1997
French Reef, Florida Keys
40′ vis, 50 min @ 30′

Last seabase dive. Plenty of dead coral at this reef — coral patches interspersed with rubble areas? — and otherwise uninteresting. AOW dive.

Dive #13, 4/19/1999
Teigland wreck, Saint Martin
80′ vis, 30 min @ 50′

Large variety of fish at this wreck, including lots of triggerfish and parrotfish. As with other wrecks, little coral here. Heavily overweighted on this dive.

Dive #14, 4/20/1999
The Wally, Saint Martin
20′ vis, 50 min @ 20′

Very dull dive site: a sandy pit with pieces of concrete strewn about. Still, shelter allows for a fair number of fish, so dive was interesting.

Dive #15, 4/22/1999
Cay bay, Saint Martin
40′ vis, 50 min @ 25′

Similar to previous dive, sandy area with some wreckage and fish about. These and other Saint Martin dives were just accompanying mom and Sean while they received their open water PADI certifications.

Dive #16, 4/23/1999
Broselelyte, Saint Martin
60′ vis, 45 min @ 40′

Better dive than previous Saint Martin ones. Lots of coral (relatively), plenty of parrotfish and butterflyfish. Saw some rock beauties, and many other fish.

Dive #17, 4/23/1999
Cay bay, Saint Martin
50′ vis, 60 min @ 20′

Similar to previous Cay bay dive: sandy, wreckage, fish, uninteresting.

Dive #18, 7/24/1999
Manta reef, Oahu, HI
80′ vis, 30 min @ 65′

First dive in Hawaii. Mom had equipment problems and had to surface early. Not knowing where she was, spent the dive distracted and didn’t enjoy myself.

Dive #19, 7/24/1999
Keau ledge, Oahu, HI
80′ vis, 45 min @ 60′

Better, more relaxed dive than the last one. This was a drift dive, with the main sight being a big crown-of-thorns starfish.

Dive #20, 8/8/2001
Manta ray village, Hawaii, HI
30′ vis, 40 min @ 50′

Ideally a manta ray night dive, but the mantas were no-shows (and we learned later that a hotel’s closing meant they’d been no-shows for a year). Still, night dives are lots of fun. After ~10 minutes sitting in the sand waiting for mantas, we started roaming around. Sights included a slipper lobster, four eels, plenty of crabs, and so on. Some buoyancy problems, was overweighted.

Dive #21, 8/14/2001
Ulua bay, Maui, HI
80′ vis, 50 min @ 45′

Excellent shore dive. A few juvenile frogfish — bright yellow blobs sitting around on the coral. Some banded coral shrimp, a purple nudibranch fringed with yellow, feather duster worms and oysters. Plenty of fish, including Macy the pufferfish, who followed our divemaster around while being fed broken up urchins. Beach entry was easy, then just kick out a bit, drop down, and swim out among the plentiful coral with good relief.

Dive #22, 8/19/2001
Cathedrals II, Lanai, HI
100′ vis, 35 min @ 70′

Biggest sight here was the cathedral itself. Populated mostly with soldierfish, you enter a large cavern with skylights, giving an atmosphere highly evocative of an underwater gothic cathedral. Divemaster took our photos on this and the next dive.

Dive #23, 8/19/2001
Sergeant Major, Lanai, HI
100′ vis, 40 min @ 45′

Very good dive. Saw plenty of fish, Sean hit his head on an urchin (well, not so good), but biggest sight by far was a large octopus our divemaster uncovered. Hidden under a rock, he managed to reach in and get it out (not sure how). Once out, it inked and swam several feet to an outcropping where it blended in and slinked away. Dive site was three large coral heads oriented perpendicular to shore with channels between them, so plenty of relief to see neat things.

Dive #24, 8/19/2002
Anse Cochon, Saint Lucia
100′ vis, 45 min @ 60′

Nice dive with a variety of small fish, brittle stars, and a crab. Little else remarkable.

Dive #25, 8/19/2002
Anse Cochon trawler, Saint Lucia
100′ vis, 40 min @ 60′

Very nice wreck dive. Small trawler, just went around looking at various neat things. Two frogfish, one yellow and sitting around, the other black (a first) and doing its funny little run along the trawler. In addition, three morays, little spider crabs, fire worms, and plenty of the usual wreck fish.

Dive #26, 8/20/2002
Anse La Raye wall, Saint Lucia
70′ vis, 45 min @ 60′

First wall dive. Pretty steep, remarkable to swim along and look down, out, or up just to see blue. Always need to keep track of depth on these dives. Sights included a frogfish, as well as various other fish and critters.

Dive #27, 8/20/2002
Virgin’s cove, Saint Lucia
80′ vis, 40 min @ 60′

Problematic dive. Sights included two flounders, some morays and, as usual, plenty of fish. Had a headache for the majority of the dive, however. Two options for avoiding headaches on the second dive of the day: take a tylenol, or don’t let so much CO2 build up during the first dive. Breathing slowly is ok, but _never_ hold your breath or fail to exhale completely.

Dive #28, 8/21/2002
Superman, Saint Lucia
80′ vis, 50 min @ 65′

This site usually has a strong current, so it is generally done as a drift dive (hence the name). Moving along, the biggest sights were four spiny lobsters hiding in various crevices.

Dive #29, 8/21/2002
Keyhole pinnacles, Saint Lucia
80′ vis, 45 min @ 65′

The pinnacles on this dive are the neatest sight. A small wall we went across early on, then up top to go around the different pinnacles: each was about 20′ across, and jutted up to a few feet from the surface. All were encrusted with coral and marine life, so we just encircled each and moved on to the next. Fish sights included a porcupinefish and a cowfish.

Dive #30, 8/22/2002
Piton wall, Saint Lucia
80′ vis, 45 min @ 80′

Another excellent wall dive. This one was multilevel, going at 80′ for 20 minutes and up to 50′ for the rest of the dive. Fish sights included some enormous shoals of wrasse swimming off the wall.

Dive #31, 8/22/2002
Anse Chastanet, Saint Lucia
80′ vis, 50 min @ 55′

A fairly simple dive over mostly flat terrain with some relief. Fish sights included several black triggerfish and a spotted drum.

Dive #32, 6/22/2003
Cane bay, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 44 min @ 83′

First dive with my own equipment. Regulator, BCD, computer, camera all behaved. Plenty of fish, best sight was a few groupers hovering in a sandy channel around 80′ down. Several fish had parasites attached to their gill area. Dive site is nice. Enter from the sand, swim out among large coral heads along a gradual slope to 70′, and a steeper one beyond that. First unguided shore dive, had trouble sticking together, and on way back got separated with Mom exiting at a rocky rather than sandy area.

Dive #33, 6/22/2003
Cane bay, Saint Croix
30′ vis, 51 min @ 74′

Problematic night dive. Went out to the same site as earlier, with a somewhat incompetent divemaster (inexperienced, no clear dive plan, didn’t try to keep us together). Good macro life, and plenty of snapper floating about. Partway through the dive, we turned off our lights to look at some bioluminescent things. Freaked mom out, and we surfaced shortly after. Surface was swarming with krill and stinging things, decided to bag the dive and swim back to shore.

Dive #34, 6/23/2003
Salt river west wall, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 55 min @ 92′

Excellent dive along a fairly steep, dramatic wall. Very nice sights included a stingray that rested along the bottom a bit before swimming off, a moray, an enormous lobster out in the open (that only seemed minorly annoyed at being bothered), and a smaller lobster in a crevice later on. Fish sights included some big schools of black triggerfish and parrotfish, as well as several cleaning stations. Most of the dive was around 40-50′, went considerably deeper a couple times.

Dive #35, 6/23/2003
Salt river east wall, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 47 min @ 84′

Great dive, but not nearly as good as the west wall. This side is more sloping, around 15 degrees, and as with the previous dive, we swam along it at around 40-50′, occasionally going deeper. As with the first dive, lots of fish of different types, and a monstrous crab (spider?) sitting in a sponge.

Dive #36, 6/24/2003
Pavilions, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 66 min @ 53′

Nice, fairly shallow drift dive (not a lot of current, though). Plenty of sights, including two hawksbill sea turtles, two seahorses — one upright and clinging to a coral, and one almost horizontal near the bottom — and another spiny lobster. Had to sit out the dive following this one, had a loose transmitter on my first stage and blew the O-ring. No further damage to the equipment.

Dive #37, 6/24/2003
Near Northstar, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 48 min @ 70′

Shore dive with just mom (Sean did two dives already and didn’t want to go back out). Overshot Northstar, did a nearby pretty good site. Difficult entry and exit over rocks and ground-down coral, but little surf. Plenty of nice macro life: white cowries with yellow/brown spots, some crabs, little purple shrimp, and so on.

Dive #38, 6/25/2003
Fredericksted wrecks I, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 44 min @ 98′

Two deep wrecks on this dive, very close together (in sight of one another). Good variety of sea life. A big moray at the end of the first wreck, wedged in next to the sand. Also, a cowfish, a scrawled filefish, some spanish hogfish, lots of parrotfish and a nice big grey angelfish. Some nearly transparent (except for a couple red spots) jellyfish at surface; harmless, and swam around when touched or grabbed.

Dive #39, 6/25/2003
Fredericksted wrecks II, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 55 min @ 71′

Another great wreck dive, this time on two wrecks in shallower water and further apart (a few hundred yards swim over sand, with some garden eels along the way). First wreck had a small ray lying around, which swam off before I got a decent shot of it. Again, tons of fish, of a similar variety, another large grey angelfish, and a juvenile filefish resting on a small piece of coral.

Dive #40, 6/25/2003
Cane bay, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 38 min @ 95′

Somewhat problematic dive. We got out late, and meant to wait for Kasey before starting the dive, but went out early at the insistence of David (fourth diver). Kasey did a solo dive and was fine (as a photographer, he’s apparently used to that), and we saw the usual Cane bay sights (shouldn’t go too deep with the camera, though!)

Dive #41, 6/26/2003
Northstar, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 55 min @ 86′

Actually found northstar this time. Dive site topography is similar to that at Cane bay: a gradual slope, then a fairly steep drop off. There’s a large bell-shaped coral head that juts out of the deep to around 130′-150′, but we didn’t go far enough out/down to see it. Better job sticking together here than on other shore dives. Nice fish, a hawksbill turtle and banged up my knees on rocks/coral while photographing groupers. Need to be careful when there’s surge!

Dive #42, 6/26/2003
Cane bay, Saint Croix
80′ vis, 44 min @ 98′

Last Saint Croix dive, appropriately at Cane bay. As always, a great dive, with sights around the dropoff including a rock beauty, two french angelfish, one elusive queen angelfish, several filefish, and the battleship-like porcupine puffers. Finally found the anchors, reputed to be at this site but previously elusive.

Dive #43, 7/20/2003
Bowden island south, Vancouver, BC
30′ vis, 37 min @ 78′

First cold water wetsuit dive. Water wasn’t bad with 14mm over the torso, but maneuverability was the key problem: hard to move in wetsuits this thick, and _heavy_ overweighting didn’t help. Dive site was a trench that we swam blindly about and over, looking at lots of white anemones, some sea cucumbers and rockfish. Oh, and a harbor seal, which came over to us several times during the dive. Liked to rest on the rocks nearby, and would frequently buzz us or come poke us in the head. Strange, but entertaining.

Dive #44, 7/20/2003
Bowden island north, Vancouver, BC
30′ vis, 43 min @ 93′

Second cold water wetsuit dive, happier with weight and control this time around. Dive site was around a big, bulbous pinnacle, which went up to around 30′ and down pretty deep. No seal this time, but better life all around. Lots of anemones, sea stars (which don’t like being fed to anemones), and rockfish. Saw the strangest fish ever (even compared to a frogfish): a small (2-3 in) grunt sculpin, all pointy and resting on the bottom. A dungeness crab, and two big jellies (bulbs 1-2′ across, and several feet of frilly tentacles) round out this dive.

Dive #45, 7/27/2003
Edmonds UW park, Seattle, WA
4′ vis, 43 min @ 25′

First open water drysuit dive for SSI certification. Happy with weight (had a steel tank for this dive and the next) and with buoyancy control. Stayed quite dry this dive and the next, this seems to be a function of how well one’s neck gasket fits when they’re using a rental drysuit. Dive site is a bunch of wrecks, concrete contraptions, and so on, connected by cables. Incredibly poor visibility, just groped our way from one structure to the next, apart from other small groups. Saw a crab, and tons of small shrimp jetting about.

Dive #46, 7/27/2003
Edmonds UW park, Seattle, WA
6′ vis, 40 min @ 30′

Second drysuit dive for SSI certification, slightly better than the first. Still very poor visibility, swam all the way out on the surface with a divemaster, descended on a small tugboat wreck. Even here, had trouble finding each other after the descent and had to resurface a couple times. Saw three large sculpin: broad-headed, ughly and aggressive fish. One defended its nest/home at the tug, swimming around and coming in a few inches away, others were just miffed at being disturbed.

Dive #47, 12/23/2003
Ulua bay, Maui, HI
60′ vis, 59 min @ 34′

Pretty good, simple dive at the site we visited two years back. Saw several free swimming turtles, and one huge one sleeping/resting in the open on a head of coral. Otherwise, lots of fish, the usual reef variety. Dive site is, as before, accessible from an easy, crowded beach entry. Head pretty much straight out, with the depth gradually going down to 40′ or so. Excellent coral, and excellent relief. Only problem was some chilliness during the last third of the dive, need a farmer john for the deeper and longer dives.

Dive #48, 12/24/2003
Five Graves, Maui, HI
40′ vis, 34 min @ 37′

Poor dive. Very surgy, cloudy, didn’t see very many fish and no interesting ones. On top of this, bay was plugged with dive boats and even some novice snorkeling ones (noodles!). Don’t know why they put so much faith in this site, but apparently conditions are highly variable here and it can be quite nice most of the time. Entry was over lava rock, but in a little cove, and dive went out and around a precipice, following the base of the wall, and with some lava tube caves along the way.

Dive #49, 12/25/2003
Black Rock, Maui, HI
60′ vis, 48 min @ 32′

A large variety and number of fairly tame fish (they’re sometimes hand-fed here), including some big schools of goatfish and one very tight school of Hawaiian Flagtail over the sand. Several eels, including an undulated one Sean chased around for a while, and a conger eel I found under a rock. As usual plenty of turtles, most free-swimming but one sleeping under a ledge. Dive site simple, just go around the base of a lava rock structure jutting out into the ocean. Beach entry very easy, just some surf.

Dive #50, 12/25/2003
Black Rock, Maui, HI
30′ vis, 54 min @ 34′

Absolutely incredible night dive, and with a harrowing exit. Came back to same location as afternoon dive, saw a small octopus along the bottom (and played with it for a minute), a spanish dancer in a crevice, several lackadaisical reef squid, a big anemone crab, some other crabs, plenty of morays, and lots of fish in a stupor. Everything we could have hoped to see. Swimming up current the way back, we got tired and swam over to the black rock itself. Had to climb up, fling equipment over a ledge into snorkeling area, drag it over to a path and bring it back.

Dive #51, 12/26/2003
Back wall, Molokini, HI
120′ vis, 30 min @ 86′

Incredible drift dive along Molokini’s back wall. Molokini drops straight down from 200′ above sea level to 300′ below. Moving along, if you look out or down you just see a deep blue. Along wall, there wasn’t much coral (some black coral and wire coral, though) or fish life (some larger ocean fish and a fair amount of moorish idols and others), but there was a small (3 feet) whitetip reef shark resting on a ledge. For the dive, we drifted along at 80′ before moving up to 60′ for most of the dive (I moved up later than others).

Dive #52, 12/26/2003
Reef’s End, Molokini, HI
120′ vis, 32 min @ 72′

Another drift dive, similar to the back wall. Plenty of fish, black and other triggers especially — some were chasing each other around off the reef — and very healthy plentiful coral with no sand and little relief. Dive site was along a slope of approximately 15 degrees, rather than a sheer wall as with the back wall. Nothing extraordinary, but a relaxed, fun dive.

Dive #53, 12/28/2003
Fish Rock, Lanai, HI
80′ vis, 45 min @ 69′

Nice dive with lots of exotic fish. Gold-rimmed surgeonfishes, a short-bodied blenny, many other tangs and butterflies. Somewhat overweighted with 5mm farmer john and 3mm shortie wetsuits. Dive site was a pinnacle reaching up to 15′, dropping down to mixed coral, rubble and sand around 50-60′.

Dive #54, 12/28/2003
Cathedrals I, Lanai, HI
80′ vis, 46 min @ 60′

Again, lots of fish and nice scenery. Main sights included a viper moray, razor wrasse, and big crown-of-thorns starfish. Gold-lace nudibranchs inside and outside of cathedrals. Dive site surrounded the cathedral itself: head down to 50′ , pass under an arch and through to the cathedrals entrance. The cathedral is very cool, a big cavern with light streaming through multiple holes in the ceiling, and with several exits. Swimming through it is downright eerie.

Dive #55, 12/30/2003
Suck ’em up, Hawaii, HI
120′ vis, 55 min @ 65′

Biggest find on this dive was a mid-sized (4′) whitetip reef shark resting in a small cavern. A few green sea turtles in addition, one free swimming and another resting in the lava tube. Fish sightings included plenty of butterflies and big, bold wrasse, including a really neat rockmover foraging in the rubble. An interesting dive site: went along a rubble and coral slope until it dropped away around 60′, then came back to shore to explore in and around some lava tubes with tops opened to the surf every several feet.

Dive #56, 12/30/2003
Manta Ray Bay, Hawaii, HI
120′ vis, 53 min @ 57′

Sights not nearly as interesting as on the previous dive. A couple of sea cucumbers found by Sean, small, intersting and unusual. Saw some angelfish (like large damselfish) but they were too skittish to approach or photograph. A handful of unusual morays, and a large variety of damselfish and triggers. Divemaster and another saw a free-swimming whitetip reef shark, and another group saw an eagle ray. Dive site itself was bland, a fairly flat, featureless expanse of healthy yet sparse finger corals.

Dive #57, 12/31/2003
Place of Refuge, Hawaii, HI
120′ vis, 53 min @ 61′

Very nice, easy shore dive. A lot of smaller fish, particularly damsels and yellow tangs, some scrawled filefish, lots of peacock groupers (including some huge ones and a few resting on coral heads — two emperor bigeyes, also) Biggest sight, however, was the coral, which was incredible: it covered everything, and was in great condition; large heads jutted out from yet more coral. Entry was easy, two lava steps that were pretty smooth. Dive site sloped gradually to a sharp dropoff at around 60′, followed that for a few minutes and headed back.

Dive #58, 1/2/2004
Garden eel cove, Hawaii, HI
80′ vis, 56 min @ 78′

Very good afternoon/dusk dive. Went down with dive lights (rentals had much better spread than ours). Several morays sighted, first one was a big whitemouth with two anemone crabs behind it. Also saw some razor wrasse, a bigeye emperor, tons of surgeonfish, a lizardfish, a dwarf scorpionfish (real small, about 1 inch), and no garden eels (got to them too late). Interesting site, rocky and coral area sloping down to garden eel-loaded sand, then over to another fish-covered slope to make our way back.

Dive #59, 1/2/2004
Garden eel cove, Hawaii, HI
40′ vis, 58 min @ 52′

Yet another no-show manta dive, but it was night so sights aplenty. Main attractions were two big eels. An undulated moray was hunting early on, caught a soldierfish (which I had blinded…) and chewed at it a bit before turning it and swallowing whole. Second eel was an irritated yellowmargin that snapped at a few fish but didn’t catch anything. Also saw a few small lobsters, a parrotfish in its coccoon, some crabs, a lazy puffer (poking it was ineffective), another lizardfish, and so on. Stayed in rocky and coral area, chemical sticks useful for keeping track of one another.

Dive #60, 1/3/2004
Place of Refuge, Hawaii, HI
60′ vis, 48 min @ 53′

Went back to place of refuge, as the rest of the Kona coast is pretty choppy (was here too, at least relative to the previous day. Waves at two-steps liable to knock you around, ans kinned my elbow). Sights similar to those of previous dive: fantastic coral, a freeswimming whitemouth moray, lots of damselfish, yellow tangs, peacock groupers, a timid angelfish, a juvenile emperor bigeye (?), a crown-of-thorns starfish. Nothing spectacular, though, and after going up the wall for a little bit we headed in early.

Dive #61, 2/28/2004
Day Island, Puget Sound, WA
25′ vis, 33 min @ 85′

Boat dive in Puget Sound. Saw three octopus: a big one in the open and two enormous ones in crevices. Also a large wolf eel in a crevice with the last octopus. One in the open was interesting, took glove off and poked it along for a bit. Also plenty of sculpin, a flatfish, lots of shrimp, starfish, hermit crabs, so on. Site was a slope going down to 50′ or so, then a vertical wall down to 80′ with largest concentration of interesting things.

Dive #62, 2/28/2004
Point Defiance North Wall, Puget Sound, WA
15′ vis, 20 min @ 61′

Less interesting dive than the previous one. Life was mostly small, lots of hermit crabs and shrimp especially. Best part was the dive site topography — large slabs of soft rock/mud, pockmarked with holes from clams and worms. Reasonably comfortable, but trouble dumping air from drysuit and felt like I was always fighting the current.

Dive #63, 4/25/2004
Bell Island, San Juans, WA
15′ vis, 52 min @ 60′

Murky dive very heavy on invertebrates. Lots of sea cucumbers (including ones with anemone like frills), starfish, huge (4″) barnacles, big and varied nudibranchs. More mobile life included some hermit crabs, larger decorated crabs, and plenty of rockfish. Site was in the lee of the island, followed it around along a slope at 50-55′. Topography included plenty of boulders, slopes, crevices good for invertebrates. Felt cold part of the dive, overcompensated by inflating the drysuit and had trouble maintaining neutral.

Dive #64, 4/25/2004
Pile Point, San Juans, WA
30′ vis, 45 min @ 78′

Really nice wall dive. Three main sights: some huge (4′) ling cod, a big octopus curled up, and a puget sound king crab. Ling cod were near beginning, just lazily zooming around. The poor octopus was surrounded by several other divers, who poked it enough to get it sliding around. Crab was nestled in some anemones, dinner plate sized, gray, thick and bumpy. Plenty of rockfish, anemones, shrimp, starfish, and so on. Temperature and buoyancy were both much better than on previous dive, and vis was really good.

Dive #65, 4/25/2004
Long Island West Wall, San Juans, WA
25′ vis, 31 min @ 66′

Another really nice wall dive. As with others, main attraction was the invertebrate life. Much of the wall (pretty steep, nearly vertical in some places) was covered with small anemones, alternating in color between red and white. Small wolf eel near the end, had its head stuck out of a crevice and seemed asleep. Buddy ran low on air most of the way in, joined up with two other rebreather divers and moved to shallow, surgy water with lots of bull kelp, barnacles, anemones, and, well, other invertebrates.

Dive #66, 6/7/2004
Pelican Rock, Los Cabos, Mexico
30′ vis, 42 min @ 57′

Very crowded but good dive. Lots of boats at surface that seemed dtermined to run people over, but better lower down. Lots of sights, including an octopus, lots of scorpionfish, a ray, two whitetip sharks, and a diving cormorant (very cool, stayed down 15 seconds or more). Dive site was along a fairly steep wall, alternating between rock w/some soft coral and sand. Lots of new types of fish on the dive: cortez angelfish, humphead parrotfish, and a variety of hawkfish and other types.

Dive #67, 6/7/2004
Near Pelican Rock, Los Cabos, Mexico
30′ vis, 32 min @ 56′

Nice dive without nearly as many sights as the previous dive. A small octopus (which inked me after only touching once — some other divers had been working at it in a crevice), a purple nudibranch (2″) with yellow spots, lots of puffers (Sean caught and puffed one up, very ungainly swimming around), hawkfish, damselfish, two morays, similar to those on the previous dive. Moved too fast for my taste (others were out of sight after stopping to tkae a picture), and the water temperature was all over the map — thermoclines between hot and cold water abundant as mixing went on. Profile similar to previous dive.

Dive #68, 6/8/2004
Pelican Rock, Los Cabos, Mexico
20′ vis, 39 min @ 60′

Nice night dive. Went back to Pelican Rock at dusk, dove as night fell. Lots of stringrays, including a big pile of 8-10 rays near the beginning. Several slipper lobsters — slow moving ones that fly around at random if you try to pick them up, lots of puffers (Sean grabbed one that wriggled out and swam right into my mask) and butterflyfish. A difficult dive to stay in control on, so much to manage between buoyancy, lighting, them camera, and staying in a group — five people and me alternated between being completely clustered together and too far apart. Was cold on surface with a strong wind blowing, and got pretty cold towards end of dive.

Dive #69, 6/9/2004
El Bajo, Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
40′ vis, 42 min @ 50′

Drift dive at Cabo Pulmo reef. Strong current and lots of krill made photography difficult, but life was remarkably good. Lots of coral (Pulmo is the only true reef on the west coast), pufferfish, grouper, hawkfish (stony and others), angelfish, 3 morays, butterflyfish, damselfish, the works. Huge fish too, some of the biggest groupers I’ve seen, and some humphead parrotfish and a gigantic (3-4′) blue trigger. Interesting entry, we all rolled off the dive boat simultaneously, before descending together. Got separated near end, but quickly reunited.

Dive #70, 6/9/2004
Los Moros, Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
30′ vis, 35 min @ 54′

Different location from previous dive, but similar conditions. Rolled off, went down, drifted along. Ran out of reef faster than on the earlier dive, so went up fairly early. Similar sights to previous dive, a plethora of grouper, hawkfish, tons of puffers (a few missing eyes, for some reason). Saw a huge school (20+ fish) of huge groupers (3’+), two stingrays, and a lot of nice coral. No whale shark sightings this dive or the previous (they’d been sighted the previous four days here), I can be philosophical and say it’s best put off for tomorrow or some years down the line.

Dive #71, 6/10/2004
Neptune’s finger, Los Cabos, Mexico
40′ vis, 33 min @ 104′

Fairly deep dive with a lot of interesting life. A couple of stingrays, one free swimming ray, spiny lobsters, a nudibranch (curled up, purple with yellow spots), lots of scorpionfish and other well-camoflauged critters, and a jewelled (?) moray at the end. Fish were large and healthy, lots of big angelfish and tangs, as well as some groupers and parrotfish (more big humpheads). Dive started in sand at 20′, descending rapidly down a wall to 100′, where we stayed before gradually moving to shallower depths. Wall itself was nice, irregular with large rock formations and covered with soft corals and hydroids.

Dive #72, 6/10/2004
Pelican Rock / Sand Falls, Los Cabos, Mexico
40′ vis, 39 min @ 91′

Another very nice dive in the Pelican Rock area. Spent most of the dive at 80′ or so, different sights. Two more rays (one stingray, one free swimming), the sharks again (leathery skin, and the divemaster was trying to pull them out), an octopus — found it in a crevice, got it out by reaching in behind, but it inked and swam off in a short lived chase before finding another crevice. Two nudibranchs entwined together, more scorpionfish, another moray, two huge shoals of snapper, a ton of neat sights all around. Saw the sand falls, a channeling of sand into one narrow crevice where it slides off into oblivion.

Dive #73, 6/11/2004
Los Moros, Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
50′ vis, 40 min @ 56′

Back to Los Moros for another nice dive. Lots of green morays on this dive, kept getting delayed as Sean pointed them out for me to photograph. A huge grouper at the beginning, mouth gaping wide and being cleaned by a dozen fish. Some rays, big parrots, fish life similar to other dives in this area. Problem getting separated from others, hung back photographing while the main group motored ahead, but didn’t lose track of Sean. Got stung by a jelly (man of war!) on the finger at the end, painful.

Dive #74, 6/11/2004
El Vencedor wreck, Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
50′ vis, 47 min @ 49′

A very nice wreck dive on the remains of a fishing boat. Tons of snapper and grouper surrounding the wreck, with lots of new types of fish coming in — interesting, big species of tang, trigger, and snapper. Many gigantic green morays hiding out in the various crevices, plus more smaller fish like blennies and hawkfish (many stocky). Garden eels at one end of the wreck. Wreck was broken up, with several large chunks congregating fish. Wandered from chunk to chunk photographing fish, a nice and relaxing dive.

Dive #75, 7/3/2004
Zee Street, Tacoma, WA
20′ vis, 45 min @ 58′

Very nice reverse-drift dive. Dive site was near the Tacoma narrows, low slope down to a 10′ wall at 50′ or so. Everything was covered with sculpin, and lots of dungeness (?) crabs (two fighting, two mating), spider crabs, yellow (2′) jellyfish, various rockfish, barnacles, and a huge amount of other life. Huge octopus out in the open partway through. The camera was fogging so I was waiting, and as it drifted off I put my hand out to stop it. Just glommed onto my arm and kept going, sliding on down until it found a rock to get under.

Dive #76, 7/3/2004
Mile Marker 8, Tacoma, WA
20′ vis, 32 min @ 57′

Nice dive with an incredible current. Bottom was rocky with bull kelp, lots of sculpin, shrimp, and several large ling cod. Saw the tail of a small wolf eel, various other things. Current started out not bad at the surface, went down and it picked up to 1 or 2 knots — fast, but could hold on to check things out. Current slacked off a bit, but picked up to 4-6 knots as we neared the narrows bridge. No control, grabbed onto kelp, uprooted them, rocks, turned them over. Surfaced without buddy (was doing safety stop) and swam over to eddies at nearby shore.

Dive #77, 7/10/2004
Sunnyside Beach Park, Tacoma, WA
15′ vis, 51 min @ 45′

Demo dive for the Drager Dolphin rebreather. People from Drager, Silent World, and a couple other places gathered ~1 dozen rebreathers and let people take them out for a spin. Went out and followed some lines around in the sand — small crabs and lots of flounder, but the rebreather was the idea here. Breathing was very interesting: you exhale and it goes into a bag behind you, so you can’t use it to control your buoyancy. Couldn’t exhale fully, bag didn’t seem big enough, but otherwise really liked it. The only sound you make is the tinkling of bubbles leaving the back (semi-closed), relaxing and seems ideal for photography.

Dive #78, 7/17/2004
Kyen Point, Barkley Sound, BC
30′ vis, 53 min @ 63′

Nice first dive in Barkley Sound. Dive site was two pinnacles side-by-side, but there was so much life we only explored a fraction of the first one. Dropped down on the anchor line into muck and kelp, but went down past a thermocline and things really picked up. Mainly explored two troughs — some sheer rock sides going up towards the surface, lots of rockfish, anemone, nudibranchs, tons of life all around. Camera worked well, really need a lens caddy to keep hold of the macro lens.

Dive #79, 7/17/2004
Renata, Barkley Sound, BC
25′ vis, 46 min @ 78′

Nice dive down a trough. Dive site was mainly a pinnacle, but with a channel running through the middle covered on both sides with plumose anemones. Really cool to look down or over and see surfaces just plastered with the big white things. Lots of china rockfish and other types of rockfish and anemones. Some big nudibranchs, and a neat wolf eel stuck pretty far back in a crevice. Camera went low on batteries early on, but lasted through the dive. Main problem was the fiber-optic cord going loose, so for a while the flash was only intermittent.

Dive #80, 7/17/2004
Chup Point, Barkley Sound, BC
20′ vis, 52 min @ 50′

Great macro dive. Lots of anemones, small fish, scallops, cucumbers (no nudibranchs though). Bigger things were plumose anemones, a jellyfish being eaten by some anemones (still alive, pumping but not moving). Bigger sights included a decorated warbonnet (big eye, long body, greenish with a tuft of, well, decoration on its head), a dead scallop filled with shrimp and hermit crabs, the jelly, and on and on. Scallops were cool, big ones had little glinting green eyes, and unsettled a little one into taking off, swimming around at a pretty good clip.

Dive #81, 7/18/2004
Diplock Reef, Barkley Sound, BC
20′ vis, 53 min @ 63′

Pretty good dive along a rocky wall. A fair number of rockfish, plumose anemone, nudibranchs, cucumbers, and so on. Newer sights included a lot of tube worms, including some small colonies of tube worms, larger shrimp, and lots of small crabs, both hermit crabs and sharp-nose crabs. Reef wasn’t so interesting, a wall running at 30 degrees or so with lots of rocks and crevices containing crabs and fish. Did both macro and wide-angle shots, wide angle worked best with a low f-stop and strobe positioned far up and facing forwards. Trouble positioning strobe for photographing things in crevices.

Dive #82, 7/18/2004
Stud Rock, Barkley Sound, BC
25′ vis, 42 min @ 78′

Nice pinnacle dive with some good macro stuff. More plumose anemone, starfish, other anemones, lots of tube worms and snails, nudibranchs, encrusting coral. Coverage was a good deal better than the earlier dive. Site was two pinnacles, we headed down but went out on a shallow slope to 80′ or so before heading back to one of the pinnacles. Towards the end, went on top to a shallow kelp bed, which had a fair number of lazy rockfish on it, just kind of swimming along. Buoyancy was good, started getting positive near end, but managed a safety stop in clear water alright.

Dive #83, 7/18/2004
Tyler Rock, Barkley Sound, BC
25′ vis, 45 min @ 84′

Really fun deep dive off a pinnacle. Came down the anchor to 45′ or so, swam over to a steep dropoff down to 100′ or deeper. Neatest sights were a beautiful kelp greenling (didn’t mind being photographed), some nice anemones, and an awesome giant dendronotid. Long (6″+), with a huge supply of long frills tipped with red. Was on a piece of kelp, detached it while turning the leaf over, and it started free swimming, undulating as it floated down to attach back on. Lots of rockfish, a cloud of juveniles around the edge, and adults nesting (?) back in the kelp. Nice-size ratfish that was near the bottom during descent, swam off quickly.

Dive #84, 7/18/2004
Rendezvous Shore, Barkley Sound, BC
20′ vis, 31 min @ 50′

Very nice night dive in front of the Rendezvous Lodge. Entered and left via the boat moored at the dock, swam up past a log breakwater, and dropped down to a nice wall, a mixture of sand and granite with lots of nice edges, crevices and other relief. Main sights were a big decorated warbonnet nestled in a crevice, a sailfin sculpin (similar coloring to warbonnet, but a big dorsal fin that went erect as it wriggled away), a spindly little crab with an algae-like growth on its head nearly the size of its body. Lots of black-eye gobies, lethargic rockfish, a nice golden kelp greenling, octopus eggs (?), just cool.

Dive #85, 7/19/2004
Tyler Rock, Barkley Sound, BC
20′ vis, 49 min @ 58′

Nice dive back at Tyler rock. Went down and followed a sand channel this time, over to a dropoff where we went left along a wall of plumose anemones, some of the most dramatic I’ve seen. Some cool sights, a small dendronotid nudibranch, some other nudibranchs, crabs, lots of still-sedate rockfish, a beautiful abalone. Some trouble with buoyancy, was good deeper down but as we ascended to 30′ or so had trouble venting air from the drysuit and had to hang onto kelp until I got myself sorted out.

Dive #86, 7/19/2004
Boyson Island, Barkley Sound, BC
20′ vis, 53 min @ 58′

Very nice wall dive, last in Barkley Sound. As with other dives, very nice macro life, including some hermit crabs of good size, clusters of tube worms, anemones, small fish and lots of rockfish. Saw a nice, picturesque lion’s mane jellyfish, nothing really spectacular. Unlike most Barkley dives this was on a nearly sheer granite wall (with sand in some places), going right up to the island. Had trouble with cold, about a one hour surface interval and didn’t have anything to eat between dives.

Dive #87, 7/20/2004
Cape Breton wreck, Nanaimo, BC
40′ vis, 38 min @ 93′

Really cool wreck dive in Nanaimo. Boat was a cargo vessel, about 460′, and we only explored a fraction of it. Dropped down a line at the bow (big cabezon right at the tip), followed the boat down to the superstructure (about 150′ down), before going to its top, looking around and heading back. Lots of cool stuff in between, stairways and holes in the boat (wreck divers can go down to 140′), railings, everything coated with plumose anemones, starfish, other encrusting life. Had a pretty large crab and lots of little shrimp hitchhiking on me as I left the water, just handing onto the BC and suit. Went into 0:01 deco at end, watch the time!

Dive #88, 7/20/2004
Snake Island, Nanaimo, BC
25′ vis, 41 min @ 77′

Really nice wall dive near a seal colony. Dropped down in 40′ of water, swam over to a wall that was nearly all solid granite and usually sheer or at least 60-70 degrees. Some very cool sights, especially a good-size octopus in a crevice, and a very docile ling cod. A fair number of nudibranchs, lots of plumose and starfish (as usual, along with plenty of brittle stars). Afterwards, went in shallow to the seal colony, but they weren’t interested in playing. After surfacing nearby, lots of them swam in, but more to make sure they were keeping their distance, just scoping us out.

Dive #89, 7/20/2004
Clark Rocks, Nanaimo, BC
30′ vis, 59 min @ 59′

Fun dive along a rocky wall. Dive was all about wolf eels, saw about 10 overall, including two juveniles. Adults are gray, some with black spots, and look like muppets. Juveniles are a beautiful orange with vivid black spots. Spent about half the dive taking out the first eel I saw, not realizing how many others were around. After the camera died, was still productive using my finger as a lure for a big male — popped right out in an ungainly short swim. Not too much else, some greenlings that would not leave me alone, and rockfish, including a beautiful red and white one.

Dive #90, 8/21/2004
Sund Rock, Hoodsport, WA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 70′

Really nice wall dive at Sund rock. Entry was from beach, walked down a short trail, got in, swam out and dropped down. Alternating between silty slope and rocks, lots of shrimp that seemed to cover many surfaces, squat lobsters, gobies, rockfish, lots of large ling cod. Saw two wolf eels, with one out in the open, and a dying female octopus (light gray, with a piece of kelp almost like a shroud covering her). Nice leopard dorid, greenlings, some plumose, starfish, tons of life. Was somewhat overweighted, felt less in control of my buoyancy than normal, need to work on that.

Dive #91, 8/21/2004
Sund Rock/wreck, Hoodsport, WA
30′ vis, 59 min @ 71′

Nice dive near Sund rock. Swam out to buoy, dropped down in 30′, swam over to wall going from 30′ down to 70′ or so, with rock scrabble at the bottom and lots of life. Followed along at base of wall til it ended, then swam over mud at 38′ til we hit a nice wreck, maybe 50′ long or more with lots of plumose, tunicates, a lion’s mane being eaten by some plumose. Headed back along top of wall, lots of aeolid nudibranchs. Biggest sights were three wolf eels at beginning, dungeness, some decorator crabs, and later on a small lion’s mane and school of ~70 copper rockfish. Broke regulator when tank fell as I was setting up, distracted for just a few seconds. Never Again!

Dive #92, 8/28/2004
Maury Island Barges, Tacoma, WA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 50′

Nice dive with lots of life on some barges and a debris field. Dropped down on a piling, swam to the barges (30′ or so long, open top), then explored the debris. Got separated from other three in the group, surfaced and they weren’t there. Swam to another group before the DM came and found me. Lots of life, particularly sculpin, flounder, and crab. A nice dendronotid, a sea star working on a sea cucumber, a beautiful, big green sculpin. Piling at end covered with life, including a juvenile decorated warbonnet and lots of small sculpin. Surfaced shortly after the rest of the group came up.

Dive #93, 8/28/2004
KVI, Tacoma, WA
30′ vis, 35 min @ 60′

Nice but short dive. Dive site was a shallow slope out to 80′ or so, but we only went out to about 60′. Interesting topography, with lots of large metal bars (?) covered in plumose, lots of kelp in between sheltering crab and rockfish. Not a huge number of sights, some gunnels and interesting kelp and true crabs (helmet crab), but a good and interesting sight nonetheless for the amount of life around. Went diving with a DM, new diver, and guy in a wetsuit on a trip, the latter two got cold/empty quick and had to go back with about 1/4 of the tank consumed.

Dive #94, 9/12/2004
Hussar Point West, God’s Pocket, BC
40′ vis, 62 min @ 73′

Fantastic first dive at God’s Pocket. Dropped down in a kelp bed at about 30′, bordering a near vertical wall down to 80’+. Most of the wall was covered with small white anemones, with lots of rockfish in particular. Biggest sights were a small, shy dec. warbonnet, one (maybe two) red irish lord, a young puget sound king crab — bright orange and purple, just beautiful. Very comfortable all around, got chilled a bit with such a long dive, but fantastic conditions. Visibility in particular was excellent, could easily see the top surface from 40’+.

Dive #95, 9/12/2004
Snowball, God’s Pocket, BC
30′ vis, 60 min @ 78′

Another very nice wall dive, with some interesting currents. Went off the boat into a strong surface current, went down quickly and over towards the wall, where the current switched directions (back eddy?) and then again. As with earlier wall, lots of small plumose covering every surface, but with lots of sponges and urchins in addition. Neatest sights were a couple red irish lords, several orange peel nudibranchs, a big moon jelly, a sun star attacking an urchin (very cool, saw it crawling over while the urchin was running as fast it could, eventually getting free and sliding down a rock). Beautiful scenery.

Dive #96, 9/12/2004
Lucan Chute, God’s Pocket, BC
30′ vis, 60 min @ 67′

Very nice photography and drift dive on a wall. Interesting currents, initially strong in 40′ of water, but slacked off as we got deeper. Stayed at base of wall (joined with sand), drifting along and shooting stuff. Best sights were two grunt sculpin, two red irish lords, lots of kelp crabs, rockfish, blennies, cup corals, starfish, just beautiful life all around. Lots of big plumose. Got cold as dive went on, annoying but not terrible. Factors include not moving a lot during dive, not drinking or eating enough beforehand. Watch this on repetitive dives. Got separated from buddy as we went into our safety stop.

Dive #97, 9/12/2004
God’s Pocket Bay, God’s Pocket, BC
20′ vis, 61 min @ 50′

Night dive off the pier at God’s Pocket resort. Hopped in, swam out over kelp and mud to a largely uninteresting wall. Slight current going away, turned back when people got cold, and hit a wall _covered_ with hooded nudibranchs on the way back. Lots of kelp, but enormous nudibranchs with their hoods wide open nearly as far as you could see. Amazing. Other sights included a sailfin sculpin, lots of green shrimp and some big hermit crabs, lesser nudibranchs, and anemones. But the hooded nudibranchs…

Dive #98, 9/13/2004
Browing Islets, God’s Pocket, BC
30′ vis, 57 min @ 77′

Nice wall and kelp dive in Browning Pass. Went off into a slight current, went down and along a wall until the current switched directions, when we turned and, well, went back. Slacked off as we approached the initial drop point, but rather than cutting the dive short I just went into a kelp bed and explored a kelp bed after buddy surfaced (about 20′ depth, with the boat right there). Sights included a red irish lord and some beautiful smaller sculpin, lots of rockfish and kelp greenlings, tube worms in the kelp, crabs, snails, and lots of macro stuff.

Dive #99, 9/13/2004
7 Trees, God’s Pocket, BC
40′ vis, 54 min @ 82′

Another very nice wall dive in Browning Pass. Went down and along a wall in about 80′, came to a turn-around with some current before going back on the other side with crushed shells and sand formed into steps by the current. A lot of great sights, including a juvenile wolf eel that was swimming out in the open, two rockfish fighting for territory (one latched onto the other’s lip), basket stars, orange peel nudibranch, little flatfish on the shell fragments, a big lion’s mane jelly, great rockfish, decorated warbonnet, and invertebrate life all around. Camera fogging up near end, need to debug it. Got separated briefly while photographing eel.

Dive #100, 9/13/2004
Browning Wall, God’s Pocket, BC
40′ vis, 51 min @ 70′

Great wall dive at Browning Wall. The wall itself was amzing, dropping to hundreds of feet of water just a few feet from shore. Hopped off the boat and went down in a strong current which varied quite a lot as we entered flat spots, edges, and eddies. Wall itself varied, most of it near vertical and covered with life, other parts rocky piles covered with life. Sights included a big puget sound king crab, candy cane shrimp, a huge ling cod, lots of orange peel nudibranchs and crabs, anemones, candy cane shrimp, decorator crabs, greenlings, rockfish. Beautiful wide angle views with the wall itself and great visibility.

Dive #101, 9/14/2004
Northwest Passage Wall, God’s Pocket, BC
30′ vis, 33 min @ 80′

Nice but short wall dive in Browning Pass. Best sights included a big puget sound king crab in a crevice, three red irish lords, a decorated warbonnet, lots of small sculpin and juvenile rockfish, some orange peel, lemon peel, opalescent and other nudibranchs. As with Browning Wall, dive was hurried along by a good current and near the surface a heavy surge. Dive buddy ran low on air fairly quickly, and with no one else around and surge, surfaced early on. Dolphins sighted in water at end of dive.

Dive #102, 9/14/2004
Snowfall, God’s Pocket, BC
30′ vis, 54 min @ 59′

Nice dive along a shallow wall. Dive site was back on the Browning islets, but a different part. Dropped and swam along a wall that bottomed out around 60′, drifting with the current as it changed directions a couple times before ending up in a kelp bed towards the end. Neatest sights were a red irish lord, juvenile wolf eel, several new types of crab (little pointy guy on a nice starfish) and lots of kelp crab. Camera fogged up towards end (missing the crabs fighting each other), may need to give the desiccants more time after cracking the case to replace the battery.

Dive #103, 9/14/2004
Fish Bowl, God’s Pocket, BC
40′ vis, 53 min @ 61′

Excellent, relaxed wall and drift dive. Site was a shallower wall than others around here, sloped at around 25-30 degrees and covered with short plumose like everything elsewhere. Went down in one direction before tides changed, currents reversed, and we headed back to the start point. Nice sights, with a shy octopus (mantle and eyes out in the open, but retreated in short order), lots of rockfish, two red irish lords, orang peel, two beautiful little lemon peels, a tiny opalescent , a dead/dying anemone being eaten by snails. Lots of kelp greenlings too, some nesting and being aggressive toward me and a red irish lord.

Dive #104, 9/14/2004
God’s Pocket Bay, God’s Pocket, BC
20′ vis, 41 min @ 20′

Another shore dive at night to visit the hooded nudibranchs. Dropped down behind the God’s Pocket boat, followed the dock down and then over to the wall, which I followed until the nudibranchs. Spent pretty much the whole time photographing them, going between wide angle and macro. Though several other people had planned on seeingn them too, only saw Craig and Ian (only other photographers came along), and spent most of the dive solo. Shallow dive, though (could see the nudibranchs from the surface).

Dive #105, 9/15/2004
Browning Wall, God’s Pocket, BC
40′ vis, 55 min @ 79′

Really nice dive at Browning Wall. Current was much more gentle than the last time we went, usually not noticeable and reversing slightly at end. Nice sights included an octopus, two big ling cod, and two puget sound king crabs (one huge, one pretty small). Lots of jellyfish (incl. two lion’s manes), and juvenile rockfish and great views of the wall itself. As with other recent dives, camera fogged towards end (not a big deal). Biggest problem was computer, which went into fly mode before descent, and defaulted to a 50% O2 mix after resetting at surface.

Dive #106, 9/15/2004
Frank’s Rock, God’s Pocket, BC
50′ vis, 54 min @ 79′

Nice dive along a shallow wall. Went down and followed the wall at 50′ to 70′, with many nice stands of plumose. After about a half-hour, separated from buddy (completely absorbed with photography) and went shallow (around 30′) for the rest of the dive. Shallows were nicer, with lots of varied types of anemone, abalone, hermit crabs, painted greenlings, snails, and so on. Other sights included the biggest puget sound king crab I’ve ever seen, lots of big sun stars, including one attacking every urchin in sight, and lots of kelp.

Dive #107, 9/15/2004
Hussar Point East, God’s Pocket, BC
40′ vis, 47 min @ 75′

Relaxed dive on a wall at Hussar Point. Went down to 70′, and criss-crossed a section several times at different depths as we ascended to a kelp bed. Wall was mostly granite with bits of nearly sheer surfaces punctuated by deep cracks, crevices and gullies. Sights included two red irish lords, several small orange peels, a tiny opalescent in a shell, lots of rockfish and kelp greenlings, with some juvenile painted greenlings. Left camera behind, found a few nice shots that would be interesting, need to resolve how to resolve ???: parallel is good, symmetry is good.

Dive #108, 9/15/2004
God’s Pocket Bay, God’s Pocket, BC
20′ vis, 42 min @ 29′

Very nice night dive off God’s Pocket dock. Went back to see the hooded nudibranchs, but stayed around for just a few minutes. Spent a lot more time in bay between the sites. Sights included a small octopus swimming through the kelp on the bottom, two juvenile puget sound king crabs, a helmet crab, heart crab, juvenile kelp greenlings (?), a beautiful green gunnel on the dock line, five sailfin sculpin (one big, others pretty tiny), lots of opalescent nudibranchs, green shrimp, and, of course, the hooded nudibranchs.

Dive #109, 9/16/2004
Themis Wreck, God’s Pocket, BC
30′ vis, 60 min @ 66′

Extremely good dive on a broken-up wreck. Wreck was a large mess of metal, some large plates around and a lot of girders. Themis had run onto a rock and slid into the water in 1906, breaking up. Two big sights on this dive. First two wolf eels, one pretty large and coming a good deal out in the open. Distracting him with fingers was a good way to get photographs. Second, three young sea lions at end, swimming in and around with incredible grace, swimming together or singly swooping in and getting pretty close. Greenlings, rockfish, anemones, otherwise, cold exposed site but extremely nice.

Dive #110, 9/16/2004
Browning Islets, God’s Pocket, BC
30′ vis, 45 min @ 70′

Nice wall dive to end the God’s Pocket trip. Dive was, like other Browning Islet dives, a wall between 35-40 degrees covered with small anemones. Schools of yellowtail and black rockfish in the kelp, kelp greenlings, china and quillback rockfish. Nice sights, including a tiny puget sound king crab, a big warbonnet pretty far out in the open, two octopus, one pretty far back with just its eye and a couple tentacles showing, the other with a couple tentacles out lashing in the open. Relaxing, comfortable, a great way to end the trip.

Dive #111, 10/2/2004
Outer Pinnacles, Carmel, CA
70′ vis, 34 min @ 90′

Great first dive in California. Anchored in about 70′ of rocks and reef, dropped down and swam out over nice relief a little bit before coming back. Buddy breathed through air incredibly fast, joined up with all four other divers over course of dive. Nice sights include many individual strands of giant kelp, smaller kelp covering bottom, vivid kelp/painted greenlings and a ling cod, lots of rockfish I’ve never seen before, a good size crab decorated with sponges, lots of beautiful snails, starfish, anemones, strawberry anemones in particular. Incredible visibility, could see surface ripples from 70′.

Dive #112, 10/2/2004
Eric’s Pinnacle, Pacific Grove, CA
30′ vis, 47 min @ 65′

Another great reef and kelp dive. Great invertebrate life: tons of varied starfish, including some huge sunflower stars, beautiful jellyfish (purple/white one at end), strawberry anemones covering some rocks and plenty of painted anemone, even some plumose. Some beautiful sea lemon nudibranchs too. Other sights included a starfish feeding frenzy on a jellyfish pinned to the bottom, lots of king crabs — one had foot long arms easily, gigantic, nice rockfish and greenling life, lots of gobies, spadefish, and so on. Buddy ran out of air @ 2000 psi again, surfaced while I returned to anchor to look around.

Dive #113, 10/8/2004
Middle Reef, Point Lobos, CA
10′ vis, 22 min @ 36′

Strange, short dive in Point Lobos. Was trying for Cannery Point, but got disoriented and ended up in the middle reef of Whaler’s Cove. Visibility was lousy due to the extreme surge, but kept track of buddy throughout the dive. Buddy ran out of air extremely fast, surfaced with him due to disorientation. Still, fun to zoom around in the surge, and lots of encrusting life on the bottom.

Dive #114, 10/8/2004
Cannery Point, Point Lobos, CA
15′ vis, 34 min @ 57′

Considerably better dive than the last one, with a caveat. Went further out to Cannery Point for real. Deeper dive, surge wasn’t nearly as bad but still poor bottom visibility due to all the sand stirred up. Kept better track of orientation, followed the sand channel along on the surface before dropping down and swimming toward the Cannery Pinnacles. Came back when buddy ran out of air, but went back on bottom instead of with him. Ranger intercepted us back on shore, warned us but didn’t give the $325 (!!) fine. Being separated is not tolerated at Point Lobos!

Dive #115, 10/9/2004
Breakwater Reef, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 43 min @ 34′

Very nice, simple shore dive with good relief. The breakwater is north of the fisherman’s wharf in Monterey, and has a small beach and good size kelp forest nearby. Did the forest this time, went into good surf (for this site) and swam to one end before dropping and traversing the rest. Got separated from buddy twice due to surge, surfaced and continued down the first time. Sights included an otter at the surface that let us come in a few feet away, lots of rockfish and some greenlings and spadefish, good crabs, some good size (one with a sunflower star arm) and a heart crab.

Dive #116, 10/9/2004
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
6′ vis, 49 min @ 47′

Very nice macro wall dive. Swam along the breakwater to where it bends east, dropped and swam in to the wall at 40′ or so. Swam until buddy hit the turn pressure, then went back to where we started. Soupy vis, but because of the wall navigation was easy and we never got lost or separated. Lots of sights, too, including two (or maybe one twice) small cabezon, lots of rockfish and painted greenlings, lots of starfish of many different kinds, brittle stars, cup corals, strawberry and other small anemones, some good crabs, just very nice life all around and a laid-back site.

Dive #117, 10/10/2004
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 47 min @ 44′

Another nice visit to the breakwater wall. Tried McAbee earlier, but aborted almost immediately due to the 2′ visibility. While there was serious surf at entry (knocking over plenty of other divers, but no problem here), conditions and vis got very good out near the bend. Sights included a small wolf eel sticking his head out, several lemon peel and white nudibranchs and egg cases, several large decorator crabs, a hermit, some other crabs, interesting cucumbers and, as usual for this site, painted greenlings and shy rockfish.

Dive #118, 10/10/2004
Breakwater Reef, Monterey, CA
10′ vis, 43 min @ 37′

Surgy but nice dive in the breakwater kelp bed. Swam out, dropped and went east with no problem, but surge picked up and navigation got very tricky as we tried to make our way back in the shallows. Despite this, never separated from buddy. Biggest sight was a very neat monkey-faced eel (first I’ve sen), about 2/3 of the way down in about 25′. Other sights were some good decorated and other kelp crabs, a small cabezon, good sized ling cod, female kelp greenling, small greenling I couldn’t identify (dark/mottled, small white spots, juvenile kelp?), and the other usual sights.

Dive #119, 10/17/2004
South Monastery, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 56 min @ 40′

Really nice reef dive at Monastery beach. Surf was very mild, easy entry and exit. Went down too early in surgy, 20′ depth water, with several other buddy teams to bump into. Got better as we went deeper to 30-40′ water. Lots of nice sights: great anemone life (large fish-eating, small beautiful ones attached to kelp), sea lemons and white nudibranchs, lots of nice kelp including coralline algae in shallows. Active stuff included several kelp crabs, lots of varied rockfish, painted greenlings, several kelp greenlings (3 females), a golden one new to me, several cabezon (abalone shell stuck in mouth!), ling cod.

Dive #120, 10/17/2004
South Monastery, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 53 min @ 40′

Another very nice reef dive at Monastery. Easy entry/exit, swam out further to drop in 30′ of water, swam around in 30-40′ duration of dive. Buddy was navigating w/compass (lost mine at Pt Lobos), ended up going north instead of east and a long kelp crawl and return swim. Sights very nice, similar to last dive. More cabezon, greenlings, rockfish, nice smaller sculpin, some senoritas at the eel grass beds towards end. Invertebrate life was great again, with some beautiful FE anemones, leopard dorids (four on a rock w/some egg spirals), bright white cone snails, huge abalone in crevices (nocturnal, know where to look!) and more.

Dive #121, 10/22/2004
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 59 min @ 43′

Nice, relaxed dive on the breakwater wall, first true solo dive I’ve done. Wanted to do photography without worry of keeping track of buddy, and Peter wasn’t available this weekend. As with other BWW dives, swam to bend, dropped and ran to the turn point before coming back. Better visibility than last time, and no surge or other wave action. Fish life was especially good, with a juv. wolf eel, several gunnels, female kelp greenling, lots of painted greenlings, rockfish, and perch. Invertebrate life included the usual decorated crabs and nudibranchs, sea stars, tube anemones, cup corals, another white cone snail, a bunch of very pretty tunicates.

Dive #122, 10/22/2004
Breakwater Reef, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 46 min @ 38′

Another solo dive at the Breakwater, this one a little more disorienting. Went to the outer kelp bed on the wester side, wandering around a pipe and the surrounding rocky areas, kelp, and sand beds. Definitely need a compass, while I generally had an idea where I was and where I was headed, I was never sure and stressed because of it. Some interesting sights, including a giant purple sea hare, a small moon snail, some interesting nudibranchs, lots of decorated crabs (one chowing down on a jellyfish), more tube worms, tunicates, nice invertebrate life overall.

Dive #123, 10/23/2004
Ballbuster, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 38 min @ 96′

Beautiful two-tone pinnacle dive: rocky area going from 70′ down to sand at 100-110′, with nearly every surface covered in plumose and strawberry anemones — white and pink all around. Dramatic sights, with other life including a young wolf eel in the open, several cowries, greenlings, small free swimming ling cod, rockfish mating (?), and other nice invertebrates like fish eating anemones, starfish, and so forth. Followed with buddy shooting until he hit 1000 psi, then followed another team around since I was still around 2000, surfacing with them.

Dive #124, 10/23/2004
Aumentos Reef, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 38 min @ 68′

Another boat dive off the Cypress Sea. This was a reef, with great relief of sand and boulders and rock formations, many covered with strawberry anemones. Good site for wolf eels, saw two young ones out eating the short red kelp attached to the rocks in many places. Also saw lots of fish-eating anemones, whelk, large king crab, a small cabezon at end, variety of rockfish. Relaxed dive, though a bit cold, just wandered aroundat end around the rocks, surrounded by color and life.

Dive #125, 11/6/2004
Pescadero Wash Rock, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 47 min @ 75′

Nice reef and wall dive in Carmel. Topology of the site was great: dropped in 60-70′ of water, lots of rocks jutting out of a sandy bottom (~10 divers on boat, kicked up some and vis got worse), with lots of life on surfaces and in one place anear-tunnel going through a rock with a rift down the center (lots of surge going in and out). Sights included a small ling cod, some big rockfish, kelp greenlings, black-eye gobies for fish, some good FEAs, white/black whelks, cup corals, strawberry anemones, lots of shrimp and brittle stars in crevices, kelp crabs, usual macro sights.

Dive #126, 11/6/2004
Eric’s Pinnacle, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 47 min @ 60′

Nice but surgy dive at Eric’s Pinnacle. Wandered around close to the anchor, buddy soon ran out of air at about 1800 psi, stayed and explored the pinnacle before coming up. Some good sights, the usual for Monterey.

Dive #127, 11/14/2004
Granite Pt Wall, Point Lobos, CA
30′ vis, 44 min @ 70′

Very nice wall, sand and reef dive at Point Lobos. Went out to base of Granite Pt, down along wall until turn point, turned and went over snad channel to kelp forest. Some surge, but good visibility overall. Nice invertebrates: FEAs, shrimp, smallish decorator, lots of lemon peels and some leopard dorids, egg cases, fair number of scallops, encrusted with sponges, lots of other sponges. Great rockfish life, many big coppers and vermilion, some painted greenlings and a female kelp greenling.

Dive #128, 11/14/2004
Cannery Point Wall, Point Lobos, CA
20′ vis, 44 min @ 63′

Another nice dive at Point Lobos. Went out to sand channel, dropped in 30′ and headed out along rock formations and walls to 50′ or so. On way back navigator got turned around and we went into shallow water dangerously close to some rocks, surfacing and swimming back in. Saw a cormorant diving along early on, more nice rockfish and FEAs, a beautiful white lemonpeel, another leopard dorid. Pay more attention to natural navigation clues next time (shallow, increased surge, etc)

Dive #129, 11/20/2004
Granite Point Wall, Point Lobos, CA
30′ vis, 37 min @ 73′

Back to Point Lobos for a nice, mesmerizing dive along Granite Point. Swam through thick kelp to small cove at base of wall, dropped in 50′ and swam among rocks and walls down to about 75′. Visibility opened up dramatically as we went out, reaching 50′ surface vis in places. Fish sights included male and female kelp greenlings, big rockfish including vermilions, a small cabezon. Lots of nice invertebrates, as usual: lemon peels, cup corals, shrimp, FEAs; went further out this time and caught sight of some strawberry anemones and beautiful purple/yellow finger corals with purple/yellow topsnails. Buddy was underweighted and we had to surface early.

Dive #130, 11/20/2004
Cannery Point Wall, Point Lobos, CA
30′ vis, 47 min @ 72′

More nice relief and nice life at Lobos. Stars here were the huge and varied rockfish, including some huge vermilion and coppers, a nice china (long time no see!), and two black and yellow vertical striped ones yet to be identified (treefish). Lemon peels, FEAs, a sheep crab, more cup corals, some branching corals, painted greenlings fill out the sights. Beautiful relief on this site not previously appreciated — lots of enormous rocks and small pinnacles with sand and rubble channels in between.

Dive #131, 11/30/2004
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
70′ vis, 49 min @ 89′

Awesome shore dive at Monastery. Dropped along SE edge of kelp bed, went up along rocky boundary wandering over sand until a ledge where we turned. Beautiful scenery, going along kelp with rockfish overhead and sunlight streaming down. Animal sights included several ling cod, greenlings, sheep crab, sea lemons, a few strawberries and lots of orange cup coral, encrusting sponges very pretty. Buddy had leaky regulator so way back was pretty fast. Surf entry was extremely easy, just walk in and down, then later doff and walk out. Still good not to get complacent.

Dive #132, 11/30/2004
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 45 min @ 65′

Nice shore dive at the Metridiums. Complicated swim to site: head straight out from gray building for a while, drop down and head north to the big pipe, follow the pipe to the end, head north again and in a few seconds you’re there. Field is a large number of small rocky areas with lots of metridium separated by sand. Besides the metrids (lots of nice big ones), saw a big ling cod, a small lewis moon snail, a sunflower star and anemone fighting, big sheep crab, not a whole lot else. Buddy’s regulator was still leaking, called the dive sooner than normal.

Dive #133, 12/4/2004
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
35′ vis, 49 min @ 70′

Very nice dive in the rocky substrate at Monastery. Good visibility, not nearly so as on Tuesday (last dive), but could see surface from 60′. Great sights, including a good-sized angel shark in the sand, 3 ling cod, lots of painted and a few kelp greenlings, two juvenile kelpfish (?), plenty and various nudibranchs, sponges, anemones, sheep and decorator crabs, holdfast writhing with brittle stars, and so on. Was with two divers at surface; Ericson had a cold earlier and couldn’t clear, so went in while me and henry continued on. Followed rocks at 60′ til buddy hit turn pressure, then went back at 60′.

Dive #134, 12/4/2004
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
35′ vis, 52 min @ 78′

Another nice dive at North Monastery. Dropped down at around the same place as the last dive to try to find the angel shark again, did so in short order, taking a fair number of shots (never moved). Saw a green cabezon hiding in some kelp afterward, a ling cod, more nudibranchs, lots of fish-eating anemones, some nice macro stuff. Tiny comb jelly, about 1/3 inch long with two orange-tipped tentacles, floating around at end. Also saw a sea lion come along briefly while I was with the shark, apparently a harbor seal too but was too busy with camera. Ericson fixed ear problems w/DayQuil, joined us for a threesome.

Dive #135, 12/11/2004
Granite Pt Wall, Point Lobos, CA
35′ vis, 55 min @ 76′

Nice dive at Lobos. Went down the wall further this time than previous excursions to spend more time in the 70-80′ range. Visibility poor as we dropped in 40′, improved rapidly leading up the wall. Very good invertebrates, besides the hydrocorals, lots of nudibranchs, and strawberry anemones saw lots of whelks and snails in the open, sheep crabs, cup corals, sponges, FEAs, and so on. Fish life was a sampler, besides lots of coppers and gophers, saw one each of cabezon, ling cod, female kelp greenling, vermilion, sheepshead (small female, but first sighting!). Swam back uneventfully to drop point and surfaced. Ambulance evacuated other diver from boat.

Dive #136, 12/11/2004
Cannery Point, Point Lobos, CA
40′ vis, 57 min @ 73′

Great but equipment problematic dive. Went out further than previous times here, saw lots of hydrocoral, anemones (FEA with little ubbles/eggs on it), nudibranchs, snails out in force. Two big sheepshead, a cabezon, ling cod, vermilion, lots of blue rockfish and painted greenlings rounded out the fish. Weirdest was a lone plumose anemone sitting out on a rock pretty far out. Great pinnacles, had 70′ surface vis in places, beautiful. Computer was finicky about battery, tore a neck seal getting out afterwards (argh), be really careful getting in and out of that! Rescued buddy’s weight pocket.

Dive #137, 12/11/2004
Breakwater Reef, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 39 min @ 46′

First night dive at the Breakwater. Went up the wall and back, surfacing early due to the HID going out (batteries low). Saw a lot of stuff: mainly juvenile rockfish and surf perch, lots of kelp crabs, a giant dendronotid going at a tube anemone, a beautiful sailfin sculpin, an umbrella crab, blue damsel/perch unidentified, clown dorid (?, white w/orange spots) and lots of other nudibranchs. Buoyancy good, relaxed dive, drysuit patch worked (!!!) — just some bike patches and a hell of a lot of duct tape.

Dive #138, 12/12/2004
Lovers 3, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 48 min @ 44′

Decent dive on the north side of Lover’s Point. Lots of invertebrate life here, including snails, cone snails, lots of starfish and strawberry anemones, crabs (including another umbrella) with some nice decorators and so on. Not much fish life, a couple rockfish, kelp greenlings, a painted and a tubesnout/pipefish disguised like a floating piece of kelp. Coolest sight was a harbor seal at the end, visiting us several times in search of fins to prety on, started chewing on one buddy’s fin and ankle at the surface. Dropped close in, was shallow for a while and not as nice as could be.

Dive #139, 12/12/2004
Lovers 3, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 49 min @ 41′

Another decent dive at Lovers. Same as last time, entered west of the point (in heavy surf), but headed away rather than towards the point. Still, similar shallow profile, with visibility obscured by lots of decaying plant matter. More fish life on this dive — lots of kelp greenlings, including a red (!?) one seen briefly at beginning, rockfish and others. Several sheep crabs, including two fighting each other, and lots of other crab and invertebrates. Still need to find the deep sections of this site.

Dive #140, 12/16/2004
South Monastery, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 60 min @ 46′

Solo dive at Monastery, very good macro stuff. Dropped down pretty far out into 40′, stayed at that depth venturing into the kelp forest. Lots of FEAs, sea lemons, several other types of nudibranchs, small sculpin, kep fish?, lots of rockfish and greenlings, some small hydrocoral, a sheep crab, good variety overall. Visibility wasn’t great for Monastery, and surge zones made photography difficult around the pinnacles. Drysuit leaked through right ankle, argh.

Dive #141, 12/16/2004
South Monastery, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 51 min @ 52′

Another nice solo dive at Monastery. Went for medium-angle photography this time, dropping down earlier and heading roughly perpendicular to shore before turning and swimming most of the way back in underwater. Saw a huge school of anchovy (?) at beginning, a silver carpet, wall and ceiling as I descended. Also, two cabezon, lots of greenlings, nudis, FEAs, surf perch, sheep and decorator crabs (one other crab was missing both claws, holding its two front legs out instead, word).

Dive #142, 12/19/2004
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 53 min @ 78′

Very nice dive along the N Monastery wall. Went out along 75′ to bend in wall, turned and headed back along 60′, surfacing after a 5 minute stop. Nice invertebrates: beautiful christmas tree worms (appropriate), other feather dusters, cup corals, FEAs (one trying to grab a starfish), a cowrie, lots of brittle stars fleeing from the HID, shrimp, decorators, umbrella crab, angel shark again, lots of dorids and the other usual suspects. Fish life good too, a nice mosshead warbonnet in the open, a gunnel (?), cabezon, lots of rockfish and greenlings. Missed a big ling and a harbor seal while sticking my head in the cracks. Pony bottle tryout, very comfortable underwater.

Dive #143, 12/19/2004
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 50 min @ 43′

Simple dive at the BW to practice emergency skills. Aborted dive at North Monastery, practiced air sharing with pony and buddy’s second stage freeflowed, dropping him to 1200 psi in less than a minute. Cool from the surface though, big bait ball off shore with lots of birds and 50+ sea lions, lots of harbor seals in the kelp (saw one UW). Air sharing practice at the BW went well, need to practice detaching/deploying/stowing pony more. After ~5 minutes practicing, went along wall and saw some nice sights: very good fish life including a cabezon, two huge lings (and one small wimp being chased by a surfperch), a feeding school of blacksmith, some blues picking at a fishing lure (nice to see the other perspective)…

Dive #144, 12/22/2004
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 42 min @ 60′

Nice solo dive at the Metridium Fields. Sights included a spiny lobster at the first stand, a dead sea liion (head covered with starfish), three big clown dorids, a beautiful aeolid nudibranch (white body, red cerata, red eyes and a line around the mouth parts making it look like it was smiling), kelpfish, rockfish, greenlings, two rock crabs, big sheep crab, and, of course, metridium. Explored the first and nearby stands of metridium, then turned to go back over the sand, getting bored and disoriented with featureless sand at 55′, and did an early freewater ascent.

Dive #145, 12/22/2004
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
10′ vis, 47 min @ 48′

Decent dive on the BW wall, went out further than normal but turned back quickly to hit the beginning of the wall at 1300 psi or so. Some nice macro stuff: san diego dorids, a big sea lemon, lots of rockfish and painted greenlings as usual, decorator crabs, lots of hermit crabs, scallops, a tiny cabezon, and so on. Practiced removal of pony bottle, getting fairly easy to do.

Dive #146, 1/15/2005
Yukon Wreck, San Diego, CA
15′ vis, 38 min @ 100′

Nice dive on a ~350′ artificial reef/wreck, a Navy warship (cruiser?). The boat prematurely sank, ending up on its port side in ~105′ of water. Interesting to swim sideways along the boat looking down on its gun parts and other superstructure — sideways stairways, ladders, and so on. Swam to stern and back, poking head in various holes and looking around. First socal dive, lots of blacksmiths and wrasse around, five-spotted damsels (?), seabass (?) and surfperch. Not much invertebrate life, but lots of metridium scattered about the wreck. Solo dive with Apeks reg, out of the way UW but need to do more practicing. Hit NDL well before running out of gas.

Dive #147, 1/15/2005
Yukon Wreck, San Diego, CA
15′ vis, 33 min @ 95′

Very similar dive to the previous one, but saw some nice new details on the wreck. Near the stern is a bulkhead with a table and fixed lamp partially blocking the entrance. STick your head in and look up to see some toilets on the ceiling. Bottom of boat is almost devoid of life, found out later that the Navy uses a special paint or surfacer that inhibits growth, but only on the bottom of boats. One part of the superstructure was covered with white anemones, quite pretty. Lots of sheepshead on the wreck, nice to see them more abundantly down here. Another solo dive, hit NDL very quickly despite the decent surface interval.

Dive #148, 1/15/2005
Ruby Wreck, San Diego, CA
15′ vis, 41 min @ 77′

Very nice night dive on the Ruby, a 165′ Coast Guard Cutter. Lots of strawberry anemone and red branching coral (?) making Ruby a fitting name. Not as many interesting features on the wreck itself (open wheelhouse was very cool, though, anemones all over ceiling), but better life in quality and quantity (though it was night). Lobsters everywhere of different sizes, skitting and stubborn but very cool, more bass (?), lots of striped sculpin similar to RILs, shrimp, crabs (one kelp crab covered with giant barnacles), very nice overall. Did two lazy laps with the main deck at 70′ before hitting NDL and surfacing.

Dive #149, 1/16/2005
La Jolla Shores Wall, San Diego, CA
15′ vis, 52 min @ 79′

Neat wall/sand dive in La Jolla. Very flat, gently sloping beach, kicked out a couple hundred yards and dropped in 30′. Rapid dropoff to 75′, which we stayed at a few minutes (sand and mud, boring) before noticing the wall right nearby — 3-5′ high, made of mud with lots of holes and cracks, breaking up and reforming frequently as it went along. Very nice sights, including 3 octopus in holes, several big sheepshead, orange and blue gobies, a beautiful purple and yellow sea hare, strange black and white siphon things, very cool dive all around. Sea lion passed by partway through, but only buddy saw it.

Dive #150, 1/22/2005
South Monastery, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 53 min @ 67′

Nice fishy dive at Monastery. Interesting decision to dive here — conditions were iffy at arrival (mostly flat, some big waves), worse at entry (somewhat tricky, walked w/o tumbling but had to move quick out of the surge zone). Worried most of the dive about the xit, which turned out really easy. Good fish sights: a small cabezon guarding small eggs (cool! have to come back with camera), the biggest ling I’ve ever seen (swam with the swagger of a small shark), a vermilion, kelp greenlings, sculpin with RIL-eyes but brown in color, inverts include moonglows, painted anemones, several abalone, sheep crabs, the usual.

Dive #151, 1/22/2005
South Monastery, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 41 min @ 78′

Interesting second dive at South Monastery. Went out further than normal this time and found the S Monastery wall by accident. Rocks sloping to oblivion like at the north side. Disoriented on the way back, and really had to piss, so surfaced early quite far offshore. Really relaxing on the way out, checked lots of small things (good sponge life here!) including obs and nudis, anemones, and so on. Two ling cod the size of rockfish, lots of rockfish, nice conditions and interesting site. Need to do more exploring.

Dive #152, 1/22/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
10′ vis, 46 min @ 45′

Decent night dive at the BW. Conditions were great, virtually flat but this made tons of others come for night dives and churn the visibility to shit. Made it difficult to keep track of buddies at points, but we managed to stick together. Cool sights, including a heart crab, hairy cancer crab (?), big sheep crab, lots of decorator crabs, lemon peels, exotic white nudibranchs with orange bulbs on cerata (?), blacksmith, two gunnels, yellow w/horizontal black stripe fish (?), ling cod with lots of small animals (baby lings?) on its face, two scallops that opened up to reveal their filtering mechanism, lots of cup coral, brittle stars, shrimp, rockfish, surf perch, tube anemones, and so on.

Dive #153, 1/23/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 52 min @ 74′

Nice dive at Monastery. Crud from the rain still washing into the beach, reducing viz for the near future. On top of this, was in a group of 4 (Ericson, Andy, Jean) and had to spend a lot of energy keeping track of them. Nice sights though. Lots of christmas tree worms, a huge ling cod, bright and colorful sculpin (maybe longfin, but looked squatter), sheep, decorators, the usual. Seal fly-by at beginning of dive. While entry was fine for everyone, surf picked up for the exit and people had trouble. Jean ended up on her knees, and we had to lift her to her feet to get her going again.

Dive #154, 1/23/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 36 min @ 34′

Failed recovery dive for Ericson’s weight pouch, which fell out at the end of last night’s dive (or rather, ended last night’s dive). Had a general idea of where it was, but no sign of it (may have been picked up by some other divers, lots of classes today). Still, interesting stuff while we were looking — some different fish shallower than deeper on the wall (more blacksmith, big surfperch, new spotted perch (maybe opaleye, need to go back!)). Biggest sights were a cabezon guarding eggs (very aggressive, bit my hand and rammed my camera), a lethargic monkeyface eel, and a harbor seal that snuck up and bit my fin as we were going in. Went back for a 26 min dive to photo cab and monkey face.

Dive #155, 1/30/2005
Del Monte, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 11 min @ 22′

Open water dives for RESCUE class. Most work was at the surface, with two main submersions. Egresses and rescue breathing skills went well. More difficult time participating in simulated rescues. First was an unresponsive diver at bottom. Tried to use her BC to get out but the deflator stuck, making surfacing and floating difficult. Missing diver had a very rough start, with no clear sense of who was in charge or where to look. Later, communication problems with shore delayed the search, though we eventually started an efficient pattern with two teams. Many skills to work on. Bat rays!

Dive #156, 2/4/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
35′ vis, 57 min @ 70′

Very nice dive at North Monastery. Surf was flat on entry and exit, but viz still hasn’t recovered from the rain. Nice sights. Not many fish, but several lings, a cab on a tiny egg cluster, kelp and painted greenlings, small school of big blue rockfish, other rockfish. Inverts include several sheep crab, nipple sponges, anemones, and the usual. Went out to where the wall curves for a little bit at 60-70′ before heading back in shallower water.

Dive #157, 2/4/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
35′ vis, 55 min @ 56′

Another nice Monastery dive (aren’t they all?). Stayed shallower most of the time to experience the outer portion of the kelp bed and top of the wall. Not much kelp this time of year, though, and the strands were pretty sparse but surrounded by that great Monastery relief. Sights included several cowries, Kellets whelks, lots of top snails, several ling cod, kelp and painted greenlings, rockfish, and on. Problems with photography on this dive, surge kept pushing me into or pulling me off of whatever I was shooting, making for a minor aggravating experience.

Dive #158, 2/4/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 54 min @ 44′

Great breakwater night dive. New stuff on every one we do. Highlight here was a big purple and white jellyfish in the open. HID lit it up and it glowed pulsing through the water. Other great sights include a brief octopus (eyes and mantle as it retreated into a crevice), three sailfin sculpin, several gunnels (two passive, two skittish), an adult treefish, a huge heart crab and one smaller one, a crevice full of baby shrimp (lots of glowing dots) and bigger ones, anemones, rockfish, and on. Good job staying together for the dive, visibility helped with that. Relaxing, despite being bumped occasionally, and it’s just great to slowly pick your way through a reef at night.

Dive #159, 2/5/2005
South Monastery, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 57′

Problematic dive at Monastery — difficult exit, and buddy lost a fin. Relatively easy entry — there were some big waves, but only periodically, and by timing we got in without hassle. Surge during dive was considerable, though visibility was good further out and there were nice sights (big cabezon, lings, the usual invertebrates). By the time we exited, the surf had picked up and there were no good times to walk out, though it was difficult to see this from the water. We decided to walk out, and strong surf pulled one of buddy’s fins and nearly got mine. REMEMBER: surf at this beach is unpredictable; if you walked in, you may have to crawl out. (If you can’t walk in, don’t dive here!)

Dive #160, 2/11/2005
Outer Granite Pt Wall, Point Lobos, CA
40′ vis, 55 min @ 81′

Extremely nice Lobos wall dive. Fantastic invertebrates, some nice fish, a harbor seal, great scenery and visibility. Inverts included lots of cucumbers, huge dorids, a smiling aeolid, big hydrocorals, fields of strawberries, on and on. Nice fish like two sheepshead, a fringehead, big rockfish. Wall was cool — dropped in like 70′, and it stayed around that depth while displaying kelp, sheer walls and nice formations. First kayak dive, got in the water OK and went out, anchored and put BC on, dive, surface, break gear back down and back in, remove kayak,e tc. Lots of work but worth it, procedure’s still rough around the edges.

Dive #161, 2/12/2005
Mono Lobo, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 45 min @ 89′

Another very nice, but stressful, kayak dive. The relief at this site (1/2 way between Monastery and Lobos, hence Mono Lobo) is fantastic, great pinnacles covered with invertebrate life. Inverts include lots of cucumbers, good nudibranchs (multiple smiling aeolids, leopards, strange orange dorid, …), some hydrocoral and lots of anemones. Good fish, better than Monastery: lots of rockfish, kelp greenlings, small kelpfish, sculpin, and on. Another kayak dive, need to work on stress reduction — need good ways to stabilize for tank changes, enter, exit, paddle, the 9 yards. Great range extension with these, but it is so much more work.

Dive #162, 2/12/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 39 min @ 39′

Nice breakwater night dive. Sights included a tiny Cockerell’s dorid, huge ling, blacksmith and opaleyes, gunnels, and many sheep crab, all the usual breakwater night dive sights (sounding jaded here). Unusual fish that I only got to see the tail of, possibly a fringehead or blenny of some sort. Light conked out on way back, surfaced shortly thereafter. Need to find other spots for night dives to liven things up somewhat.

Dive #163, 2/13/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 54 min @ 69′

Nice tour of the North Monastery wall with Ericson, Henry, and Kevin. Went out at 60-70′ (Ericson and Kevin stayed around 50-55′) until the bend, then turned and headed back at 50′, going into the kelp as we got shallower for the safety stop. Cypress Sea was anchored out near the bend (30kg anchor dropped right in the rocks), so some care needed to make sure we stayed together and not run off with one of their teams. Sights included a nice little cab on eggs, lings, cowries, kelpfish, juvenile blue rockfish, an anemone grossly distended by something knobby it had swallowed, another anemone attacking a sea star, umbrella crab, another red, knobby crab in a crevice (hairy cancer crab?).

Dive #164, 2/13/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 51 min @ 60′

Another nice dive at Monastery. Taking it easy on this dive, light off and just closely perusing the surface, watching greenlings, and so on; just love the life around here. Went out and back at around 50′; Cypress Sea was long gone but we ran into some other shore divers on the way out. Crowded around here. Saw some nice cowries, some nice lings, rockfish and all. Suit let a lot of water in through the right sock, will work on patching that this week.

Dive #165, 2/20/2005
Lovers 2, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 47 min @ 39′

Decent dive off Lovers Point. Went with Ericson and Andy, dropping down fairly close in due to the swell making people sick. At 20′ with lots of suspended particles, then gradually went down to 35′ or so where things cleared up. Surgy dive, spent most of the time picking through coralline algae and nice relief — pinnacles, rocky bottom. Sights included a huge cabezon, a small, beautiful purple cabezon in the algae, a pink kelpfish in the algae, a Hopkin’s Rose (first I’ve seen — bright pink, a theme as it were for this dive, looks like a small anemone with its papillae but is actually a dorid). Lots of kelp crabs, some greenlings, and the usual invertebrate sights, several big abalone in a crevice, too.

Dive #166, 2/20/2005
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 46 min @ 46′

Another kind of weenie dive, this one at the Metridiums. Got the drop just right (end of pipe just a minute away), with several sea otters at the surface, nice. Spent a half-hour exploring the first stand of Metridiums — saw two lings guarding eggs, two ungarded egg masses (with crabs and a onespot fringehead (?) chowing down), lots of hovering rockfish, dorids, shrimp, and well, the metridium. Left and swam back along the pipe almost all the way in, saw some crabs and kelp and stuff. Pretty easy-going dive.

Dive #167, 2/25/2005
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 56′

Solo dive exploring the east side of the Twin Coves. Nice, shallow area here. Drop in about 40′, and border between nice relief (big boulders, some pinnacles), and sand. As I rounded the point, the border got shallow (20′) with severe surge and lots of palm kelp (more exposed area, shallower depth). Lots of rockfish here, kelp greenlings, a big ling, fringehead! Fantastic invertebrate life, though: a hopkins rose, lots of painted and white spotted anemones, elephant ear sponges, strawberries. The star was one group of rocks before the point with dozens of spanish shawls on them. Lost countn there were so many; haven’t seen them before up here and hope they stick around in that area.

Dive #168, 2/25/2005
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 70′

Awesome solo dive exploring the west side of the twin coves. In several ways this site is better than N Monastery — easier entry, shorter swim, better life, less swell, better visibility. Just a long walk is all the difficulty. Went down to 50-60′ along nice relief and a 60 degree wall until I got near the tip of the point, when vis went snotty (Carmel river is flowing). Lots of rockfish here, hanging in the open like they’re supposed to, big ling, lots of good invertebrates, including many decorator crabs, FEAs, a variable dendronotid, brilliant sponges and strawberries. Life and substrate overall is similar to N Monastery, just less well-travelled. A good thing.

Dive #169, 2/25/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 63 min @ 45′

Very nice breakwater night dive. Practiced dual wielding the camera and light, which worked reasonably well. Good variety of sights: two clown dorids, a sailfin sculpin, brief glimpse of an otter swimming through the water, cabezon, lots of rockfish and fry and crabs (hermits, so on) and other life. Otter food was out and about, lots of feasting abalone and urchins. Went out along the wall, came back at base and in sand, not much of interest there. Nice overall, very comfortable and stayed around awhile, looking at fish and so on.

Dive #170, 2/26/2005
Aumentos, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 48 min @ 57′

Excellent kayak dive from Coral Street, diving at Aumentos. Life here surpasses that of any shore site I’ve been to: every surface covered in strawberries and other invertebrates, several big schools of blue rockfish, several sheepshead, opaleyes, greenlings, great fish all around. Beyond the strawberries there were tons of the usual invertebrates, one cowries. Initially anchored too far from the site, had to pull up and paddle over, very tiring. Flipped the kayak three times but no problems righting it. Separated from buddy on descent and resurfaced initially — he lost the anchor line. So stressful, yah, but definitely worth it. Starfish glommed all over the anchor, weird!

Dive #171, 3/4/2005
Granite Pt Wall, Pointn Lobos, CA
20′ vis, 55 min @ 70′

Decent dive at Granite Pt. Topside weather was very rainy, pouring brown water into Whaler’s cove and with wind kicking up big waves once past the shelter of Cannery Point. Kicking out we dropped too early and explored soup for a few minutes, then surfaced to go to the Granite Pt wall proper and dropped down. Once we got to the wall viz cleared up, which was nice. Went out at 60′ or so and back at 40′ or so. A seal came by and stayed the first part of the dive, had several sheepshead, kelp bass (first timem I’ve noticed them here). Some hydrocoral, the usual invertebrates, lots of abalone — light didn’t strike on second descent and had trouble seeing into cracks for critters.

Dive #172, 3/4/2005
Cannery Point, Point Lobos, CA
20′ vis, 65 min @ 53′

Nice dive at Cannery Pt. Shorter swim, more protected from the wind, so better choice in adverse conditions. Dropped earlier than usual and wandered around in pinnacles and rock substrate below 50′ — some nice vertical relief though, not bad viz and conditions (swell was minimal today, despite forecasts). Cool sights — surprised a big bat ray in the sand, which took off immediately, a northern clingfish in a crack, more sheepshead, kelp bass, vermilion rockfish, two cabezons vying for territory. More of the usual invertebrates, pretty blue and green anemone, more abalone and so forth. New nudibranch, dull white with bright white dots, and two parts (rhinophores) coming out front, not a dorid.

Dive #173, 3/12/2005
Aumentos, Monterey, CA
10′ vis, 54 min @ 57′

Surgy, low-vis kayak dive at Aumentos, but nice nonetheless. Tons of life as usual — several big sheepshead, a treefish, lots of blue and other rockfish, red kelp greenling, lots of scalyhead/snubnose sculpin. The usual solid walls of strawberry anemones and metridium. Dropped anchor in channel just south of main rock, and stayed close by on pinnacles and S side of rock. Lost buddy several times in the low viz. After ascending, anchor bound on the rocks and had to bounce down to unset it. Otherwise, no problems with kayaking or deploying, a first for a kayak dive for me.

Dive #174, 3/12/2005
Outer Chase Reef, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 52 min @ 61′

Another nice kayak dive, this time at Chase reef, a new site for me and my buddy. Dropped in 50′, bottom was mixed boulders and sand with small pinnacles and a nice ridge. Lots of fish, big cloud of blues that I just kind of drifted along with for a while, a couple ling cod, nice cabezon. Invertebrate life reminds me of the BW wall, unspectacular at first glance but neat things in the cracks. Hilton’s aeolid and northern clingfish in the same crack, some other stuff too bizarre to describe, nice red and white shrimp. Smacked against rocks and life a couple times by surge, maybe need to stay off the bottom in such adverse conditions. Dolphin surfaced 15′ away on way back in, cool.

Dive #175, 3/16/2005
Cannery Point, Point Lobos, CA
20′ vis, 50 min @ 66′

Nice photography dive at Lobos with Ericson. Followed the sand channel out on the west side as usual, looking at all the pinnacles covered with palm kelp (new growth?). Camera worked fine, Ericson’s fogged out early. Good sights, besides the healthy encrustation overall — a couple ling cod, several leopard dorids crowded on one another, good variety of rockfish, small bit of hydrocoral, and so on. Neatest part of dive was at the surface on the way back in, a seal was following us from just a few feet away, looked like he wanted to have a go with our fins but took off whenever we looked at him from underwater. Did a weighting/gear checkout divein the BW sand earlier, 12 min at 20′, saw a bat ray cloud of sand and a nice flounder buried except for its eyes originally.

Dive #176, 3/16/2005
Middle Reef, Point Lobos, CA
20′ vis, 54 min @ 48′

Another nice dive at Lobos, a newish area this time — stayed on the east side of the sand channel, towards the middle of Whaler’s. Relatively shallow dive (time constrained to leave park before closing at 5:00), went out and back among palm kelp and coralline algae, nice small pinnacles and invertebrates, back to sandy area with sparse kelp, surfacing at corner of parking lot. Cool sights include a good look at a seal, a huge supermale sheephead, vermilions (one juvenile in the sand), other rockfish, and on. Found the middle reef anchor on way in, several feet long with one tine (?) going straight up and the other buried partially in the sand.

Dive #177, 3/20/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
80′ vis, 57 min @ 62′

Nice first dive on Bonaire. Solo shore dive while Sean and Mom did Nitrox class. Great fish life — parrots, groupers, angels, grunts (two facing off, mouth agape), tiny damsels and other bait fish, some jacks and hogfish, and on and on. Coral was ok, some smaller specimens but a fair amount of dead life. Main sights were a cusk (?) eel foraging for several minutes, poking its head in various holes and ignoring me, and an octopous at the safety stop — sitting on the ground — spread out and clumped upt avoid me, jetting away when I tried to touch it. Underweighted and poor trim, moved tank down and added two pounds.

Dive #178, 3/20/2005
Rockpile, Klein Bonaire
80′ vis, 61 min @ 62′

Excellent boat dive off Klein Bonaire. Followed dropoff at 50-60′, came back at 20′ or so. Excellent coral life, wall just covered with large, healthy brain and other hard corals, wire corals, gorgonians, and on. Shallow area on way back had a couple huge forests of staghorn coral and gorgonians. Had a moreay duking with a grouper, anemones, angelfish, dead scorpionfish, pretty good but not nearly so as on previous dive. Large group following DM, stayed behind because they were going so fast. Sean went ahead with the group and we were separated part of the dive. Got a couple dopes off the coral during dive.

Dive #179, 3/20/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
30′ vis, 51 min @ 54′

Cool night dive back at the Sand Dollar reef. Biggest sight was a tarpon that showed up a couple minutes into the dive and stayed the rest of the dive. Over four feet long, zoomed right by just a couple feet away and spent most of the time at the edge of our lights. Other hunters around, had a big snapper most of the dive, small groupers, a couple hunting morays and several that weren’t. Also, beautiful spiny lobster, big crabs, cool anemone with orange-tipped tentacles, lots of sleeping parrotfish, big cucumber, and on. Slight long-shore current, swam up it to 1800 psi, back by 1500 psi, then headed out again a bit before finally coming back.

Dive #180, 3/21/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
80′ vis, 60 min @ 68′

Another nice solo dive at Bari Reef, this time playing around with the camera. Spent most of the time practicing and experimenting with full manual mode and upwards shots of spongs, gorgonians, and corals. Some cool sights included two morays chasing each other, parrotfish, a spotted drum, small shrimp on an anemone. Slight long-shore current as before, stayed in a fairly small area for the dive and came up and swam right under to the exit point as my tank ran low.

Dive #181, 3/21/2005
Hilma Hooker, Bonaire
80′ vis, 46 min @ 82′

Wreck dive on the Hilma Hooker. Sunk in the 80s after a marijuana cache was found inside, sits in the double reef system of South Bonaire on its side between the two reefs. A lot of nice encrusting growth, topside and bottom (spent more time on bottom, the more exposed half of the ship). Nice coral and sponges, a few interesting fish sights: a barracuda (Mom found two more and a tarpon at the bow), a sergeant major laying eggs (big purple patch), another brave sergeant major attacking my fins. Went back early, spent a while looking at fry in the shallows by the reef drop off.

Dive #182, 3/21/2005
Angel City, Bonaire
80′ vis, 57 min @ 69′

Nice relaxed dive in the South Bonaire double reef system. Went out to the dropoff, down to a sand channel at 30′ or so, then up to a very big reef and dropoff with fairly healthy coral. Turned at 1500 psi to come back shallow on the inner reef. Site was fairly nice, some very big heads of coral and nice fish life, but not as spectacular as rockpile was.

Dive #183, 3/21/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
30′ vis, 58 min @ 59′

Very cool Bari reef night dive. Spent first part of dive with light cannon not seeing much. Tarpon showed up suddenly and would spend most of the dive lazily circld me while I tried to get shots of it in the dark. Very little illumination (it didn’t like the lights), awesome to see its silhouette moving along the reef. Left HID off and spent rest of dive exploring mostly by moonlight, using my camera focus light to get closer looks at things. Very nice, peaceful, almost indescribably cool. More life too, most don’t like the light — snapper, grouper, soldierfish, boxfish, an angelfish, a flounder right at the end, just a great experience.

Dive #184, 3/22/2005
Monk’s Haven, Klein Bonaire
80′ vis, 51 min @ 84′

Decent dive in the lee of Klein Bonaire. Current was unfavorable, so we went in the less optimal direction and coral wasn’t that great. Some nice sights though, including a scorpionfish, two morays, queen and french angelfish, several barracuda and plenty more.

Dive #185, 3/22/2005
Andrea 1, Bonaire
80′ vis, 61 min @ 67′

Very nice, relaxed dive on Bonaire. Topography on this site is more varied than most single reef Bonaire sites: lots of channels (4-5′ high) with sand in the center running down the reef. Made it a more interesting dive ducking in to look at fish and other critters. As usual, great fish variety with more angelfish, rock beauties, lots of parrotfish as usual, general Bonaire fish life. Also saw a flamingo tongue, anemone, and one cowfish at beginning sucking up a jelly, lots of nearly transparent jellies in the water too, one comb jelly.

Dive #186, 3/22/2005
Oil Slick Leap, Bonaire
80′ vis, 52 min @ 56′

Cool little dive. Entry/exit was the neatest part. Instead of an ironshore beach entry like most, there was a platform and short ladder (~10 steps) to use to get in/out on the sheer coastline. Very easy to use though, especially with AL63s. Nice reef with life (not coral) going right up to the base of the shoreline wall. Usual nice fish life, including lots of the blue and yellow parrotfish, a small jack harassing a three-spotted goatfish, and on. Small moray, not many other notable sights.

Dive #187, 3/22/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
30′ vis, 56 min @ 60′

Nice moonlight night dive back at Bari. Spent most of the dive without any lights, no problem navigating by moonlight but camera light was good for getting a close look at fish. Some nice sights: big snapper visiting and circling the first part of the dive, couple passes from the big tarpon, smaller tarpon right near the dock, nice groupers, squirrelfish and other nocturnal life. Coral banded shrimp and little black and white shrimp on black and white anemone thing, weird. Very navigating by moonlight (easier to pick out reef features and landmarks with night vision than HID) and seeing other divers moving along and sending the beams sweeping.

Dive #188, 3/23/2005
Sampler, Klein Bonaire
80′ vis, 59 min @ 68′

Nice Klein Bonaire dive. Again, in the lee of the island owing to fierce winds. Dropped down, swam along at 60′ until turn pressure, then came back at 30′. Sights included a nice crab, peacock flounder, lots of territorial damsels in the shallows — one right in my face bit the strobe a couple times. A couple other people saw a green turtle, unusual around here. Separated from Mom and Sean a couple times when I stayed back with DM and they went ahead with another group. No real excuse for this in such good visibility.

Dive #189, 3/23/2005
Leonora’s Reef, Klein Bonaire
80′ vis, 66 min @ 75′

Another nice dive at Klein. Topography and dive similar to previous one, out at 60′, back at 30′. Saw two morays, several sea lettuce nudibranchs, very cute little porcupinefish, boxfish, fairy basslets, lots of damsels and basslets as usual, hamlets, odd tunicate thing in a brain coral, and on. Dive was fairly crowded owing to the number of people on the boat, several other camera users and about 12-15 divers total. Waited my time at the bottom looking at the porcupinefish to get aboard, longer dive and less air remaining at the end as a result.

Dive #190, 3/23/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
80′ vis, 77 min @ 51′

Fun little dive in the shallows of Bari reef. Went off in search of a frogfish and octopus. Didn’t find either, but lots of other cool stuff. Little boggle-eyed fish in crevices, several porcupinefish, two flounder, free swimming moray, pair of lizardfish following each other around, small snake eel foraging, lots of friendly parrots, groupers, goatfish, and on. Have had mask problems for several dives now, continuous minor flooding, as well as some intermittent clearing issues, annoying.

Dive #191, 3/23/2005
Oil Slick Leap, Bonaire
30′ vis, 48 min @ 57′

Nice night dive at Oil Slick. Went in, south at 40-50′ for 20 minutes or so, then wandered back. A lot of coral was feeding, cool to see the polyps spread out. Biggest sight was an octopus that Mom found, flattened out at first not moving, then scooted off around and through rocks for a minute after we touched it. Nice iridescent green on it while moving, very cool. Other sights were two big spider crabs, a nice free swimming moray, sleeping parrotfish, roaming soldierfish, spotted drums, tiny iridescent/transparent fish, and on.

Dive #192, 3/24/2005
The Lake, Bonaire
80′ vis, 56 min @ 77′

Good dive in Bonaire’s double reef system. Site is named because the sand channel kind of resembles a lake here, closed on the side by a coral bridge. Quality of the coral here is excellent, many very large heads of star coral and brain coral, and lots of good coral. Big sights were a midnight parrotfish (very big and beautiful, and first I’ve seen here), whitespotted moray, and cowfish.

Dive #193, 3/24/2005
Tori’s Reef, Bonaire
80′ vis, 50 min @ 70′

Nice little dive pretty far south on Bonaire. Right near an outlet/channel/? for the salt works about 1/2 mile south of the salt pier, went into the outlet first and then out to the reef. Sandy area is pretty wide here, long swim out and got blown off on way back — surfaced after a couple minutes further down the reef, then swam back in without incident. Biggest sights were a big scorpionfish and a scrawled filefish missing its tail — no apparent trouble swimming since it uses other fins for locomotion. Fairly good coral cover.

Dive #194, 3/24/2005
Small Wall, Bonaire
80′ vis, 61 min @ 63′

Very nice dive on a small, well, wall. Site is pretty close to dive op, but is not accessible from shore due to private property. Wall is a couple hundred feet long, goes from 35-60′ or so, blending in with the normal (fairly steep, but nowhere close to vertical) reef, and with a neat little cave at the base. Coolest sights were a small yellow frogfish near the boat mooring, a big tiger grouper with a tattered tail fin — was under a gorgonian, left as I photographed it and went back to the same gorgonian. Wall itself was very picturesque, nice vanishing point effect as the wall blends in with the reef.

Dive #195, 3/24/2005
Salt Pier, Bonaire
30′ vis, 61 min @ 44′

Great but stressful night dive at Bonaire’s salt pier. This pier is used to load salt onto freighters, extending out to the reef dropoff. Lights on top filter into the water, making much of the area very light to navigate and see in. Great sights, including lots of orange cup corals on the supports, critters including an octopus peering out of a coral head, a frogfish nestled in a sponge, a few morays, orange nudibranch, scorpionfish, porcupinefish, parrotfish, boxfish, tarpon and barracuda in the water column, very cool. Managing camera, two buddies and DM made dive somewhat stressful, increasing air consumption and sloppiness.

Dive #196, 3/25/2005
Bloodlet, Bonaire
80′ vis, 60 min @ 52′

Very good dive to the north, near Rappel. Boat was moored in 30′ of water, had a light fill and got in early so spent the dive in shallow water looking at fish and coral. Not many standout sights — big schools of tang and grunt, good sized moray — but coral and fish were very good and had a nice and relaxed dive.

Dive #197, 3/25/2005
Barcadera, Bonaire
80′ vis, 67 min @ 61′

Nice dive near Oil Slick. Off private property and with a short cliff at the edge, so not diveable from shore. Very good coral — lots of big star coral heads and so on, elkhorn in shallows, good fish including lots of blennies and jewelfish (juvenile yellowtail damsels), other damsels, french angelfish, nice cowfish, and on. Boat was very crowded, got in quickly and hung around under the boat waiting for everyone else before heading out and back.

Dive #198, 3/25/2005
Carl’s Hill, Klein Bonaire
80′ vis, 55 min @ 66′

Very nice dive in the lee of Klein. Unusual feature at this site is a very small wall east of the mooring. Going from 30-60′ and at most 100′ long, even smaller than small wall but still very picturesque. Biggest sight was a very nice seahorse underneath the mooring; a couple are often seen here, and the DM found one several minutes into the dive, curled up near the base of a gorgonian. Other sights included a lot of fairy basslets, spent much of the dive trying to photograph them as they flitted around.

Dive #199, 3/25/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
30′ vis, 63 min @ 94′

Interesting and somewhat problematic dive at Bari. Went south further than usual this time, after several minutes finding a rope suspended above the floor leading down to a small tugboat lying on its side in 90′. As we went over, the current picked up and was going pretty good by the time we hit the wreck. Spent little time there, ascending back to shallow water and swimming up current back to the Bari dock. Sights included a big tiger grouper at the wreck, some very big barracuda, a moray, several snake eels, groupers, sergeant majors guarding eggs, some flounder, and on.

Dive #200, 3/26/2005
Ol’ Blue, Bonaire
80′ vis, 60 min @ 74′

Pretty, uneventful dive further north in Bonaire. Coral is very good here, nice fish life. Biggest sights were a nice gold-speckled moray, two porcupinefish, huge orange and green parrotfish, some tame spanish hogfish that came within a few feet, several big jacks that haven’t shown up at other sites. Beach here is kind of sandy, unusual for the island, and this site sees some of the easterly winds and had a fair amount of chop.

Dive #201, 3/26/2005
Karpata, Bonaire
80′ vis, 54 min @ 69′

Another nice and uneventful dive north in Bonaire. Not many fish sights of note here, though it was overall very good — some aggressive damsels that went for my camera and fins. Coral also was very good but largely standard, with lots of sea fans in the shallows being unusual. Coolest part was the site itself, very steep face with several big ridges alternating with troughs into the depths. Came across a big anchor in the coral on the way back, and lots of tiles being used for experiments. Entry/exit a bit tricky, some chop due to location and rocky slope next to a slippery concrete block.

Dive #202, 3/26/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
40′ vis, 59 min @ 57′

Relaxed dive in the shallows at Bari reef, puttering around in the coral rubble and shallow areas of coral. Nice sights like more sergeant major egg patches, three snake eels, odd snapper with a rounded, almost human-like face. Some nice vignettes of reef life: blue and yellow wrasse mating, bigger males matching and fighting over females with damsels clouded and going for eggs, snake eel unblocking a tunnel by pulling rocks out in its mouth, another foraging snake eel being followed around by several other fish (hogfish, yellowtail snapper, grouper, jack, goatfish) which would go for small fish or other critters unearthed while the eel moved around.

Dive #203, 3/26/2005
Hilma Hooker, Bonaire
30′ vis, 38 min @ 93′

Cool night dive back at the wreck of the Hilma Hooker. Swam to the inshore buoy, dropped and went down to the halfway point on the wreck. Went to the stern, crossed to the other side (topside of the wreck), traversed its length and headed back. Sights included a big lobster on the inner reef, a neat crab decorated with a big sponge, a tremendous number of orange cup corals in many places, lots of small shrimp in a sponge, long spiralling wire corals feeding, and on. Very mellow dive, though mom was disturbed by the depth and the darkness.

Dive #204, 3/27/2005
Rock Pile, Klein Bonaire
40′ vis, 65 min @ 60′

Nice dive back at Klein Bonaire. Crowded with other divers, and cloudy visibility from sand kicked up by the wind, so keeping track of buddies was somewhat tricky. Biggest sight was a nice green frogfish about 10 minutes in, perched on a sponge and camoflauged perfectly. Also had another colorful grouper (tiger?), odd snapper. Cool new sight of a tiny filefish hiding in the gorgonians, a mottled tan and studdded with tiny cirri, great camoflauge.

Dive #205, 3/27/2005
Petrie’s Pillar, Bonaire
40′ vis, 57 min @ 52′

OK dive on Bonaire, just south of Andrea 1. Went here because there had been sightings of young caribbean reef sharks here over a couple of weeks. Stayed in the shallows much of the dive looking for them, but no sight. Still, saw a small hawksbill swimming along for several minutes, and a pink squid moving along near the surface. Other sights included a blue spotted coronetfish (bigger than most trumpetfish, but apparently pretty small for a coronetfish), two more filefish in the gorgonians, sea lettuce nudibranchs (slug?), and on.

Dive #206, 3/28/2005
Bonaventura, Klein Bonaire
80′ vis, 64 min @ 66′

Good last boat dive with Bonaire Dive and Adventure. As with most, followed the cloud of boat divers along from a safe distance. Main sight was a seahorse found by the divemaster a few minutes in, curled up at the base of a sponge. Also, cowfish and the usual sights, and nearly saw a big turtle swimming out past the dropoff — another diver was pointing him out, but got there too late.

Dive #207, 3/28/2005
1000 Steps, Bonaire
60′ vis, 50 min @ 66′

Nice dive at 1000 steps. Road is at a pretty good elevation, so there is a long stairway (64 steps) down to a nice beach that’s still mostly ironshore. Spent the first half of the dive at 60′ before returning via the shallows. Good sights including a trumpetfish with a damselfish clearly visible in its mouth (transparent, can make out the scales), a hawksbill turtle, juvenile spotted drum (very cute, long trailing dorsal fin), some cowfish, a nice tiger grouper, and on.

Dive #208, 3/28/2005
Karpata, Bonaire
60′ vis, 61 min @ 96′

Cool dive back at Karpata. Dropped down to around 90′ initially, stayed for several minutes, then wound our way back up and over, seeing all the levels of the reef. Main sights were some iridescent coral down deep, big anemone and lots of plate coral, huge bar jack, french angels courting, then in the shallows a couple gold spotted morays, scrawled filefish, school of bluge tangs shadowed by some trumpetfish, goatfish, and a bar jack. Again, great topography at this site, dramatic ridges and vistas of the reef wall.

Dive #209, 3/28/2005
Bari Reef, Bonaire
40′ vis, 62 min @ 60′

Nice dive at Bari. Decent south-bound current, so went north watching fish until 1300 psi, then drifted back and stayed in the vicinity of the pier for a while. Sights included several whitespotted morays, a snake eel, good angelfish life like a queen, several rock beauties, juvenile french. The wrasses are still spawning, pairing off with each other (and a confused hogfish and parrotfish, hmm…) and lots of damselfish around. Big bar jacks, nice hermit crabs, bristle worm, soldierfish, and on.

Dive #210, 4/5/2005
Marco’s Pinnacle, Point Lobos, CA
30′ vis, 62 min @ 67′

Great dive with a problematic ending. Kayaked over to Bluefish and dropped anchor at the SE end of Marcos Pinnacle. Circumnavigated the pinnacle at a depth of 50-60′ typically, returned to the anchor line. Not a lot of fish life, but the invertebrates were fantastic: huge amounts of hydrocoral (far more than I’ve ever seen), strawberries, bryozoans, tube worms, and on. At end, realized anchor line was tangled in the kelp and spent several minutes in a futile attempt to untangle it. Removed anchor from end of line and ascended, with only 100 psi at end of safety stop. Was breathing very heavily at this point from stress, should have switched to pony bottle as tank got low.

Dive #211, 4/5/2005
West Mono Lobo, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 49 min @ 83′

Another really nice kayak dive out of Lobos. Went past the east boundary of the park and dove the west end of Mono Lobo. Bottom was a mixture of granite boulders and small pinnacles, not quite the density of life as on the last dive, but great nonetheless. Lots of small hydrocorals in groups — under overhangs, in channels — nice anemone and other invertebrate life, good rockfish with nice schools of blues and a vermilion lazing about, plus a cabezon at the end. Went west from the drop until turn, then came back along the edge of the kelp forest at 65-70′, overshooting the kayaks since we were so slow going on the way out.

Dive #212, 4/5/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
10′ vis, 52 min @ 48′

Nice breakwater night dive. Picked along the wall until 0:39, then went down to the sand and came back. Lots of cool stuff out and about — nice octopus near the beginning, mostly in the open until it poured back into the rocks, big giant dendronotid in the sand, heart crabs, big sheep crabs, lots of abalone (some chowing on kelp, cool to watch), lots of shrimp, decorators, sea cucumbers. Tons of fish about too, lots of rockfish including a juvenile china, nice sculpin tan with dark vertical stripes on body, ling cod, blacksmith, several gunnels, perch and on.

Dive #213, 4/6/2005
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 69 min @ 52′

Relaxed, largely uneventful dive with the Metridiums. Dropped closer to shore in one of the rocky areas adjoining the pipe, went out to the first stand of metridiums and stayed there, returning via the pipe until about 10′ of water. Visibility wasn’t terrible but had lots of particulates. Nice thing though was that the Metridium were almost all out in full bloom, bigger and more vibrant than I’d seen there. Two big sights: an octopus nested under a rock (slipped away after I removed my glove and tried to grab it), and a cormorant that came zipping by and went right under me as I was looking in the rocks off the pipe.

Dive #214, 4/11/2005
Outer Chase, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 55 min @ 65′

Really nice kayak dive, first solo one I’ve done. Paddled to outer chase, dropped in the kelp east of riase 1, then went east and north to the ridge down to rise 5. Until the ridge is fairly nice diving, good invertebrates and plenty of greenlings. Much of the ridge itself is great, lots of strawberries, metridium, other anemones and starfish and snails, great invertebrate life all around. Other big sights were a nice supermale sheephead (shy, stayed under an overhang for a minute after I saw him; forgot the light, grr…), a harbor seal making a sneak attack on my fins, nice cabezon and plenty of rockfish. Went back the way I came, surfaced about 50′ from the kayak.

Dive #215, 4/11/2005
Aumentos, Monterey, CA
8′ vis, 64 min @ 60′

Another solo kayak dive, not as nice as Outer Chase. Went to Aumentos this time, mild surface current heading west, with winds heading east — anchor line was making some interesting shapes. Viz was soupy, trouble navigating and nearly lost the main rock after venturing too far; spent rest of dive on top and next to the main rock. Top has 5′ viz and lotsa surge, so kept that brief; sides had less surge and better life. Despite the viz, this is still a great site. Biggest sight was a nice treefish I watched a minute; rest was the great invertebrate life here, lots of strawberries, barnacles, metridiums, starfish and on.

Dive #216, 4/16/2005
Phantom Pinnacle, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 77′

Kayak dive at the ‘phantom’ pinnacle off of Butterfly House. According to CSUMB sidescan sonar data, there’s a pinnacle coming to 15′ from 75′ here, but saw no sign of it. Spent the dive wandering the area and further in. Spectacular topography, enormous obelisk-like pinnacles, walls, and on. A couple scattered areas packed with hydrocoral, more than I’ve ever seen and beautiful to behold. Lots of nudis — hilton’s aeolids, veriable dendronotids, dorids, and on, and several cowries, some with 2 or 3 packed into one crevice. Visibility was variable, pretty close to the carmel river here and it was murky on top but generally very good below.

Dive #217, 4/16/2005
Phantom Pinnacle, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 49 min @ 70′

Another dive attempting to locate the phantom pinnacle, without success. Dropped about 50′ NE of the ‘pinnacle’, explored the area surrounding it, found some nice formations going up to 50′, far cry from 20′. Right near the drop point is a lot of fantastic hydrocoral, nice little chute with the walls and floor thick with large bunches. Also here were a ling cod on eggs, and a nice wolf eel (first in a while!) with some eggs in its mouth (had them there several minutes later too, weird). Other nice fish, big school of blues up in the kelp, lots of other rockfish and greenlings wandering around. Monster abalone in a crevice, more hilton’s aeolids, great inverts.

Dive #218, 4/16/2005
Butterfly North, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 52 min @ 70′

Another very cool dive off Carmel Point, did this in conjunction with the previous one, brought a second tank on the kayak and swapped them out between dive. This site is further north, further from the carmel river and visibility was considerably better. Main feature was a ridge running southeast at 45′, dropping to 60-70′ on either side. Fair number of invertebrates, scattered hydrocoral but some big bunches. Very good fish, lots of blues and blacks, other rockfish, ling cod, and on. Went pretty far down but got sidetracked on way back. Surfaced several minutes from kayak and had trouble finding it in the waves. Something to watch out for.

Dive #219, 4/17/2005
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
15′ vis, 54 min @ 71′

Nice solo shore dive at the twin coves. Conditions were not ideal today — mild NW swell but big W winds ended up throwing some impressive and sloppy waves into the coves (and good rollers to Monastery). Descended quickly after the surf zone to avoid the wind waves, headed west among the boulder slope towards North Monastery at 60′ or so. Despite greenish color, vis was oz, and saw some neat stuff — several ling cod, a small green cabezon, cowries in crevices, a sheep crab eating a clown dorid (?!), feather worms and anemones, cup corals, the other nice and expected sights. Got tripped up by kelp walking in afterward, watch out!

Dive #220, 4/17/2005
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
15′ vis, 51 min @ 58′

Another good twin coves solo dive. Main goal of this dive was to find the spanish shawls again. Success! After searching without luck the rocks in the 50′ range or so, came up shallower as I was close to turning and saw a nice one. Nearby rocks had about a dozen more, beautiful purple and yellow. Also saw a good sized Hilton’s aeolid, some nice moonglow and other small anemones, a tiny crevice kelpfish, plenty of nice rockfish. ??? picked up for this dive, but had fewer problems getting out. Keep to west side of the cove to avoid getting washed into rocks, keep reg in mouth for waves (pack little punch here), and watch your step on the way out.

Dive #221, 4/21/2005
Butterfly House, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 50 min @ 52′

Pretty nice dive out of Butterfly House. Very easy entry here, protected deep cove but a bit tricky to get down from the road. Kicked out several minutes to some scraggly kelp near a big forest. Dropped and headed mostly parallel to the forest, didn’t hit it until 20 minutes into the dive. Turned a bit later, came in perpendicular to shore, pretty shallow and had some kelp crawling to get back in. Topography inshore of the kelp was alright, lots of coralline algae covered rocks. Forest itself was neat, very dark under the canopy but nice and eerie. Decent sights, a Hilton’s aeolid, ling cod, other dorids and plenty of rockfish. Dove as a foursome, no real problems staying together with good visibility.

Dive #222, 4/21/2005
Butterfly House, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 53 min @ 72′

Awesome shore dive at Butterfly House. Went further out this time to the edge of the thick kelp forest, dropped and spent the whole dive going out and back in the forest. Went back a little too far underwater, had to go around the point into Butterfly at the surface. The kelp forest here is excellent, 50-70′ in depth with great topography, thick kelp, lots of fish and invertebrates. Main sights were a small wolf eel, two vermilions, ling cod, plenty of hydrocoral and dorids and anemones, on and on. Perhaps best was the atmosphere of the forest itself: very eerie swimming under the canopy, felt like being transported to another world in a way I’ve never felt in these forests before.

Dive #223, 4/22/2005
Butterfly West, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 58 min @ 76′

Very nice kayak dive at Outer Butterfly. Another bogus GIS pinnacle, this one turned into a shelf with nice cracks and ridges at 50-60′, dropping off to 80′ or more on the souther side. Anchored here and was shooting pictures, so didn’t venture too far. Big school of blues and some kelp to the west, but lots and lots of hydrocoral near the anchor itself, pretty much blanketing some surfaces around. Lots of strawberries and bryozoans and other inverts, just beautiful. Some fish besides the blues, including a treefish loaded with eggs in a crevice. Surf was flat when I went in, wind had picked up pretty good by the exit, some anchor aggravation but got it up ok.

Dive #224, 4/22/2005
Copper Roof House, Carmel, CA
15′ vis, 48 min @ 31′

Consolation dive at CRH. After the first kayak dive, wind started picking up even more. Had landed at butterfly to swap tanks, went out for another dive and aborted due to the wind. Got back into CRH without difficulty and decided for a shallow shore dive in the kelp there. Decent vis considering how much surge there was in here, but not a lot to see. Kelp, some young bull kelp, coralline algae, palm kelp, other weeds to muck through. Encrusting feather worms, strange tunicates buried in the sand, not much fish except a few wary surfperch. Nearly got pushed into the big surf swimming back in, had a hard 15 minute swim to get back in the kelp’s shadow for an easy walk out.

Dive #225, 5/3/2005
Fire Rock, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 57 min @ 67′

Nice dive at the big wash rock off of Pescadero Point. Sticks up several feet out of the water, and is fairly massive underneath. Dropped west of it, went around the south side at 60′ and returned at 40′. Lots of rockfish here, greenlings too but no cabs or lings. Invertebrate life was great, lots of strawberries, other anemones, several cowries, nudibranch life particularly nice with Hilton’s aeolids and lots of dorids. Some hydrocoral, but the larger pieces were fairly beat up and isolated. Dropped flag in the water after the dive, bounced down to 50′ and found it without having to do a search.

Dive #226, 5/3/2005
Stillwater rocks, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 52 min @ 70′

Another nice dive at Stillwater. Dropped south of the rocks at the entrance to the cove in 40′, explored south and west among shelves and huge rocks, tiny pinnacles, cool topography. Coolest things were the nudibranchs. Saw two spanish shawls, hilton’s aeolids, a hopkins rose, lots of dorids, and one I’ve never seen before — dull white with bright spots and black rhinophores — pretty little thing. Lots of rockfish out and about, more good invertebrates including some abalone. Transmitter finally quit at around 1600 psi, around when we turned and got somewhat concerned on the way back in and surfaced early, still a few minutes swim from the kayaks.

Dive #227, 5/6/2005
Breakwater Reef, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 64 min @ 44′

Nice dive on the BW reef trying to find the damned Metridiums pipe. Dropped just off the pump building where the pipe ends, but was unable to find it (lots of other pipes though) going back and forth. Eventually gave up and headed towards the wall, ending a couple minutes from shore. Nice dive, excellent visibility and no surge. Saw a nice cancer crab, nudibranchs, plenty of rockfish, not too much amazing stuff. Had the wrong batteries for my transmitter, so had to use a regulard SPG without air integration on the computer, not too bad to manage. Weird centipede thing in the sand.

Dive #228, 5/6/2005
Breakwater Reef, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 75 min @ 51′

Great night dive at the Metridiums and BW reef. Dropped further out, still no pipe, but wandered into the metridiums anyways. Stayed there about 20 minutes, then slowly wandered in the rest of the dive, still surfacing over about 30′ of water. Awesome sights include a small red octopus, two dendronotids, toadship or something (? — midshipman), vermilion and other rockfish, moon snail sliding over a starfish, comb jelly, several huge anemones, lots of whiskered fish that would burrow into the sand when I looked too closely. Just a really relaxing, cool dive looking through the metridiums, snady areas, and scrabbly rock structure of the breakwater.

Dive #229, 5/7/2005
Soberanes Cove, Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 47 min @ 54′

Pretty nice dive that took a lot of work to get to. Soberanes point is about 5 miles south of Lobos, in Garrapata SP. Had a nice little hike from the parking area, then a sheer 20′ cliff to get to a beautiful little pocket cove (ropes for gear, could climb down/up easily). Dove around the mouth of the larger cove, gently sloping bottom of sand and palm-kelp covered rocks. Did not go for too deep or too long, as I had no working SPG on this dive or the next, oi… Sights included some surf perch, anemones, and a small school of very curious blue rockfish, but if you’re not a big fan of palm kelp it’s not the nicest spot. Better to take a kayak out, though that has plenty of logistical headaches too!

Dive #230, 5/7/2005
Soberanes Cove, Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 50 min @ 27′

Great dive in the kelp bed at Soberanes Point. This is a shallow (20-25′) but very thick kelp bed, lots of palm kelp, coralline algae, and other marine plants under the macrocystis canopy. Not a lot of fish life, though some surfperch and blue rockfish towards the end. Just great drifting through the kelp, sunlight streaming down (very clear water). Relaxed and beautiful.

Dive #231, 5/14/2005
Butterfly 2, Carmel, CA
70′ vis, 54 min @ 95′

INCREDIBLE dive at outer butterfly. Went just a couple days after an upwelling from the canyon, and visibility was just amazing. Could see surface clearly from 90′, extreme horizontal viz, just incredible. Site was a very nice pinnacle (real this time!) coming up to 50′ or so (could see clearly from surface) from 100′ to the SW, 70-80′ other sides. Southwest face was particularly nice, with lots of hydrocoral, strawberries and on encrusting a jagged slope going down to the sand. Also a small swim through here, a 3 foot wide slot canyon with granite rubble overhead, some hydrocoral though so didn’t try it. Not paying too much attention to life, but saw a red rock crab, hilton’s aeolids, conchs, on…

Dive #232, 5/14/2005
Phantom north, Carmel, CA
70′ vis, 50 min @ 73′

Another incredible dive at outer butterfly. Dropped at a kelp patch north of the phantom pinnacle. Great topography here, just SW is a ridge coming up to 40′ or so. On S side is a sheer drop to 75′ that even forms an overhang, with other walls nearby forming a canyon. N side of ridge was even nicer, more fractured and with tons of strawberries and a few HUGE hydrocoral colonies at 55′ or so. Even more incredible relief to the NE of the drop, this is just an awesome area. Cool fish sights: lots of curious blues (love them), two cabezon, two ling cod — one I got right up to and one huge one sitting in the middle of a huge hydrocoral patch. Clark was shooting WA of us, fun to pose for shots.

Dive #233, 5/15/2005
Mono Lobo 4, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 50 min @ 80′

Yet another fantastic dive thanks to the upwelling. Launched at South Monastery and paddled to Mono Lobo pinnacle 4, the closest to the Lobos park boundary. Top was in 45′, surrounding bottom around 70-80′. South face nearly sheer but barren, north craggy with plenty of hydrocoral and other life. It seems life favors the northwest sides of many of these pinnacles, should check to see how prevalent it is in the future. Sights included plenty of greenlings — kelp and painted, blue rockfish, a neat aggregation of those long and narrow rockfish. Interestingly, nearly a dozen variable dendronotids, neat how they clump together in various spots. Also, three tiny aeolids (1cm long), reddish cerata and a bright white/yellow line going down their back.

Dive #234, 5/15/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 52 min @ 100′

Very cool dive along the North Monastery wall. Kayaked over from South Monastery, going past the wash rock so I could drop basically right on top of the wall. Followed it west at 95′ until it bends southeast, then down some distance before ascending to the kelp forest and returning. Fantastic fiz, cool wall, but biggest sight was a good sized Great Pacific Octopus (first I’ve seen in California!). Down in a crack at 95′ just E of the bend, reached down, he reached up to grab my glove then retreated down but gave me a good look at his eye and mantle. Ah… Also saw some lings, a cluster of over a dozen kellet’s whekls laying eggs, clown dorid, plenty of white dorids, awesome stuff overall.

Dive #235, 5/15/2005
Mono Lobo 1, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 53 min @ 70′

Awesome dive! Went down at the edge of the kelp bed north of Mono Lobo 1, lazily swimming west at the edge of the thick stuff before coming back and ascending right on the kayak. Topography is wonderful in this area, lots of huge rocks, sheer cliffs, covered in encrusting life and kelp. Biggest sight was another GPO! Pretty far out and sleeping next to a crack, took my glove off and touched his suckers, but he retreated back in, oh well. Also saw a nice cabezon, a ling and treefish in the same crevice, nice school of blues at the safety stop. Inverts included snails laying eggs, several hermissendas, a few Hilton’s aeolids, and on. Everything just came together here, making for an incredible experience. What an unforgettable weekend.

Dive #236, 5/20/2005
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 62 min @ 52′

Fun dive in the Metridiums and surrounding sand. Poor conditions in Carmel, even Lobos was nasty, so retreated to the BW where things were pretty nice — some surf and a very long period swell, nothing to get hung over on. Wandered around the sand and found some of the metridiums in full bloom. Lots of neat critters in the sand. Tiny octopus in a hole in the sand (2nd I’ve seen like this), lots of hermissenda, over a dozen giant dendronotids — ranging from tiny (2cm) to huge (8in, covering a tube anemone), sliding around and on the anemones and having a ball — lots of moon snails going around. Squid eggs maturing, sand anemones, clown dorid, nice red fringehead in the algae that Ericson found. Lots of activity, the sand was positively bustling with life.

Dive #237, 5/20/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
10′ vis, 56 min @ 41′

Another nice and simple dive on the BW wall. Dropped at the usual place and went out nearly to the end — wall turned to small rocky rubble, fishing lines, boat noise, and two juvenile sea lions that came down and made several passes from a few feet away. Fish life was very good — several ling cod, including two very big ones, three nice cabezon, lots of perch and juvenile rockfish and on, even a kelp greenling towards the end. Invertebrate life was the usual for the BW, some neat little crabs but nothing remarkable. Viz was all over the map, got very bad in shallow parts on way back, lost track of Ericson in a kelp bed and we surfaced separately.

Dive #238, 5/27/2005
Fanshell Pinnacle East, Pebble Beach, CA
60′ vis, 52 min @ 86′

Awesome dive at Fanshell Pinnacle. This is about 1/2 mile off Cypress Point, very exposed, bu9t it was amazingly flat today with no swell and little wind. Anchored on the south side of the pinnacle, explored it and then went to the west pinnacle. Buddy started running low (1200 psi), got lost/disoriented on the way back and did a free ascent w/no stop. Swam to boat, then went down for 10 mor minutes to sunset the anchors, this time with a stop. Wonderful site, sheer cliffs, awesome canyon on the N face, tons of strawberries, bryozoans, starfish, hydrocoral. Fish life was especially good, lots of BIG blues and other rockfish up top, many kelp greenlings, two ling cod and a nice purple cabezon.

Dive #239, 5/27/2005
Fanshell Reef, Pebble Beach, CA
50′ vis, 48 min @ 56′

Another great dive off Bird Rock. Went to a kelp bed we spotted off Fanshell Cove (maybe .75 mile paddle). Site was a shallow (30-50′) reef, but lots of cuts and sand channels and fun to explore. More great fish, nice cloud of blues at beginning and end, big ling cod (kind of antsy, odd), small cabezon bolting around, nice longfin sculpin and an odd green clingfish (?) on my drysuit after exiting the water. Usual shallow reef invertebrate life, clown dorid and some other neat stuff.

Dive #240, 5/28/2005
Butterfly Pinnacle 2, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 55 min @ 94′

Very nice dive back at Butterfly. Revisited the 2nd pinnacle, pretty much the same but visibility not so extraordinary. Nice fish life, baby ling and bigger one, two curious vermilions following me for a while, scalyhead sculpin, assorted rockfish and greenlings, lots of blues in the canopy. Also good nudibranchs, lots of san diegos, a spanish shawl, few lined aeolids I still need to identify, bueautiful white bushy aolid. Very nice hydrocoral and strawberries, good encrusting invertebrate life. Went along the W/SW sides admiring the topography, then went shallower to the top of the pinnacle before checking out some nearby areas.

Dive #241, 5/28/2005
Carmel Pt Pinnacle 2, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 45 min @ 98′

Another cool dive off Butterfly. Landed at the house, swapped out, then went south of the point off the kelp bed, anchoring with a very mild surface current. Cool site, lots of cuts in the granite making for varied topography, 70-90′ with sand to the E at 100′. Invertebrate life not as dense here as some mplaces, but good variety: metridium, strawberries, hydrocoral, lots of gorgonians at 90′ too, very pretty and cool. Good fish, some juvenile chinas and gophers, gophers and kelp greenlings chasing each other around. Big school of blues at the bottom, and a huge one at the safety stop, hundreds of individuals. Some eating algae off the anchor line, fun to watch. Another shawl, diamond back tritonia. Lots of cool anemones in sand.

Dive #242, 5/28/2005
Outer Butterfly 3, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 55 min @ 79′

Outer Butterfly is indeed nice… Yet another great dive. Butterfly 3 is two good sized areas with amazing topography (pinnacles, walls, cliffs, and on) separated by a short boulder field. Lots of fish here, couple nice lings, treefish, good sized cabezon that got chased off by a good sized vermilion, nice, lots more nice rockfish and greenlings. Great nudibranch life, several hilton’s aeolids close by, another diamond back, hermissendas, dorids and on. Encrusting invertebrate life is a good mix, most of the usual stuff and plenty of hydrocoral in the crevices.

Dive #243, 6/9/2005
Lobos Inner Reef, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 43 min @ 51′

OK dive leading Mom and Sean around — their first time diving in California. Whalers cove was packed with kelp, so we swam a little out to Cannery Point until it got thick, then dropped, went to the sand channel and out to 50′ before turning. Mom and Sean were both fine down to about 30′, but got cold below that. Vis lousy in the reef, improving out at the sand channel. Saw some decent things, a few rockfish, starfish, anemones, dorids, clown dorid was the nicest. Owing to how inaccessible most of the cove was, went to the BW for dive #2.

Dive #244, 6/9/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 40 min @ 37′

2nd dive leading Mom and Sean around, somewhat nicer than the first. Did the BW wall, going out at 30′ and back at 20′. No lings or cabs (what I was looking for), but several good-sized crabs, plenty of small fish, cool tiny dendronotid, basic BW life. Coolest bit was at end in 15′ of water: saw some fresh craters in the sand, wondered what they were, then saw an otter up ahead digging another one, spinning around in a cloud of sand before coming up with a moresel. Watched him come down a couple more times, then surfaced as Mom had already come up. Very friendly at the surface too, was eating just a few feet away, totally unfazed.

Dive #245, 6/19/2005
Keystone Jetty, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 67 min @ 50′

Nice to be back in Washington. The jetty is at the Townsend-Whidbey ferry, about 250′ long. Swim most of the way out, drop into quite variable currents along a rocky wall covered in inverts — short plumose and giant barnacles, mostly. Saw two giant octopus in cracks, dozens of ling cod — all over the place, crowding each other, some gigantic. Plenty of copper rockfish and some kelp and painted greenlings, mosshead warbonnets, small sculpin and a fringehead. Cool inverts including some huge sunflower and other stars, nice anemones, lots of crabs including small red rock crabs in old barnacles, several ??? nudis, one of the beautiful nudis w/orange-tipped cerata, awesome life all around.

Dive #246, 6/19/2005
Keystone Jetty, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 51 min @ 57′

Another cool jetty dive. Highlight was an AWESOME octopus encounter just a few minutes in. Sitting in the open, I touched him with my glove, he felt it but retracted. Took glove off and tried again, this time he grabbed on and pulled my hand in to his mouth. Spent several minutes playing with my hand, pulling on fingers and separating it, biting (?) a couple times without breaking skin. Unfortunately, was so mesmerized that I didn’t notice I’d dropped my glove, ugh. Plenty of current, boodby…. Other good sights included a huge octopus just visible in a tiny crevice, one of the octos from this morning’s dive, lots more ling cod and plumose anemones and on. Made it out to the end of the jetty, curving around in 25′ of water with shitty visibility.

Dive #247, 6/19/2005
Keystone Pilings, Puget Sound, WA
25′ vis, 51 min @ 44′

Cool and unique dive starting at the pilings near the Keystone Jetty. This is a very shallow abandoned pier or something, with depths from 15-25′ at the high tide. All are covered with life, lots of short and regular plumose, barnacles, stars, big heart crab, crabs, and on. Bottom fish had young lings and kelp greenlings, short fat sculpin too. Dove the site on an ebb current streaming through the pilings and variable all over the place, great fun moving from one to the other, sticking hand out to feel the current. After 1/2 hour left the pilings and drifted to the jetty, spotting a cool flounder, red rock crab, mating hairy crabs, and on. Visibility, which was quite good at the pilings, deteriorated a lot in a big eddy created by the jetty. Once I got to the jetty the current was too much and I drifted into shore.

Dive #248, 6/25/2005
The Pinnacle, Hood Canal, WA
25′ vis, 62 min @ 80′

Interesting kayak dive in Hood canal. About a mile up the coast from Seal Rock campground, the pinnacle comes up at a shallow rate to about 25′ on the tide we had. Top 15′ of ater was really clear, then green crud down to 25′, slowly getting better until pretty clear again at 50-60′. Went around the pinnacle at 50-60′ most times, lots of small rocks and mud but some boulders and small walls, ok topography. Cool sights though, best was a big wolf eel (5-6′) full out in the open, swimming away as I got up to him. Also saw another wolf with his head out, lots of shrimp and squat lobsters, several lings, good rockfish life including big blacks, quillback, copper, and a couple vermilion. Some weird inverts, like a long red worm (?), two lions manes, hairy lithoid crab (?).

Dive #249, 6/25/2005
Pulali East, Hood Canal, WA
30′ vis, 52 min @ 91′

Very cool dive at Pulali Point, a little peninsula about 2 miles up from seal rock, tipped with cliffs and rocky beaches at low tide. This is a great site, base is a very steep mud slope, with lots of sheer rock walls, very dramatic topology. Spent first half of dive at 80-90′, lots of rockfish, including several vermilions, yellowtails, very curious blues, quillbacks and coppers, one gorgeous one, red/white horizontally striped. Inverts included a small area with dozens of white aeolids, red rock crab, hairy lithoid, and on. Gradually ascended to shallows, several dying (?) midshipmen, weird. First UW sighting here of a small shark/dogfish, very skittish and darting away quickly as soon as it saw me see it. Saw one off the kayak earlier (!), interesting there are so many in the shallows.

Dive #250, 6/25/2005
Pulali Point SW, Hood Canal, WA
20′ vis, 55 min @ 87′

Nice dive checking things out at a rock on the SW part of Pulali. Topography here isn’t as dramatic as other sites around, shallow mud slope with small relief scattered about. Some big plumose here, nice to see and first really big ones I’ve seen in a while. No spectacular or unusual sights below the green layer, saw a dirona, other nudis, rockfish, couple vermilions, and on. Spent a fair amount of time above the green layer in 10-15′. Got a very good look at a shark/dogfish, sharply angled head and ridge w/white spots going down side. Had a 2nd shark/dogfish flyby, some schools of young fish, and on.

Dive #251, 6/26/2005
Sund Rock Wall, Hood Canal, WA
25′ vis, 59 min @ 88′

Nice dive returning to the wall at Sund Rock. Spent first 20 minutes below the wall on a mud slope, lots of isolated big plumose, white sea pens, several white/grey nudibranchs and, literally, fields dotted with hundreds of white aeolids. Further shallow is the wall with lots of relief, ling cod, rockfish, lots of shrimp and squat lobsters, clusters of plumose and pretty, smaller anemones, small lions mane, two giant dendronotids, one about 8 inches long, the biggest I’ve seen. No really spectacular sights, but a lot of neat stuff and a great site.

Dive #252, 6/26/2005
Sund Rock N Wall, Hood Canal, WA
20′ vis, 53 min @ 70′

Very nice second dive at Sund rock. Started out at the north wall, just a short swim from the ramp, stayed there ~25 minutes, then a quick swim to the fishing boat (looking a little more decayed now) before returning in the shallows. Lots of stuff on the wall, saw three octopus in crevices, including two pretty big ones, two wolf eels, good sized school of coppers, lings, and on. Shallows were nice too, lots of metridium, gobies, several red rock crab, big 6″ moon snail, several lion’s manes being eaten by anemones, cool stuff.

Dive #253, 7/4/2005
Sand near KVI, Puget Sound, WA
10′ vis, 28 min @ 91′

Awful fucking dive. Had a 1kt surface current going to KVI, so dropped way too far short of it hoping for a drift dive. Problem was there was no current at the bottom, which was flat and sandy. Just wandered around in a fruitless attempt to find interesting topography. Scattered metridiums, some flatfish and sculpins, several lion’s manes, coolest thing was a mellow ratfish going around. Oh, and a raging CO2 headache on the way up from all that swimming. Ugh. Topside scenery sucks too. Did a quick checkout of the pilings near Tramp Harbor with the remainder of the tank, looking to see if there was anything (answer: no, but sunflowers stacked up, flatfish, crabs). 20 min at 40′.

Dive #254, 7/4/2005
KVI, Puget Sound, WA
15′ vis, 50 min @ 86′

Much better dive, at KVI in fact. Spent most of the dive in 60-80′, mostly beams and some large boulders here. Lots of red and white plumose, tiny barnacles covering every surface. Other inverts include smaller anemones, scallops, clams, a san diego dorid, beautiful orange-tipped-nudi-whose-name-I-don’t-know. Fish life was very good especially and several (8+) ratfish lazing around and bumping into things when I shine my light on them, oi. Other fish were mainly rockfish, flatfish, small sculpin, cool stuff.

Dive #255, 7/4/2005
KVI, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 52 min @ 90′

Another nice KVI dive. The tide started flooding before this, making visibility noticeably better than the previous two. Again, lots of nice fish, including many rockfish, several ratfish, a few lings, painted greenlings, perch and on. Usual invertebrates, saw a strange little black slug or dui with tiny yellow spots, almost like a mini-navanax, weird. Went at 80-90′ for a while, coming up to 60′ and then 30′ as the current picked up and drifted back.

Dive #256, 7/13/2005
Keystone Jetty, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 70 min @ 52′

Very nice dive at Keystone. Came looking for octos, didn’t find any but saw plenty of other cool stuff. Very mild current towards beginning of jetty, but stopped quickly and most of dive was current-free (was diving on a 1/2 kt ebb at admiralty). Lots of fish, saw several big lings, lots of big blacks and kelp greenlings, painted greenlings, small sculpin and a nice mosshead warbonnet. Good inverts with lots of plumose, colorful anemones, barnacles, neat crabs, nice dirona, good stuff.

Dive #257, 7/13/2005
Keystone Pilings, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 60 min @ 52′

Another cool pilings dive. Did this near slack, so only a very mild ebb at the pilings themselves. Spent about 30 minutes among the pilings, then swam/drifted to the jetty and spent another 15 minutes or so. Best part was all the fish at the pilings: lots of juvenile ling cod, buffalo sculpin, and great sculpin, really all over if you took a close look. Found a very nice alcove on the east side packed with fry, cool to see so many together and very nice view. Inverts include lots more barnacles and plumose, a clown dorid, some nice starfish, and on.

Dive #258, 7/17/2005
Diamond Knot, Juan de Fuca, WA
30′ vis, 45 min @ 111′

Pretty amazing dive. The Diamond Knot sank in 1947 transporting salmon down from Alaska, in about 120′ of water near Port Angeles. Massive ship, spent ~30 minutes at 100′ wandering around looking at the great plates, spires, twisted scenery, then ascended on a pole coming up to 70′. Life was fantastic. Entire wreck was covered in plumose and barnacles, with several lings, kelp greenlings around, and tons of rockfish, including a few canaries (?). Inverts included some crabs and weird stuff, wasn’t looking too much at macro. Best sights were a tiny puget sound king crab (1″ across), and TWO decorated warbonnets out in the open. Got the BC vibe. Mild surface current at star (less than 1kt), picked up pretty good at exit and had a hell of a time getting the anchor.

Dive #259, 7/18/2005
Crescent Beach Kelp, Juan de Fuca, WA
15′ vis, 50 min @ 38′

Interesting dive in a thick forest of bull kelp. Right off the point at the east end of Crescent Beach is a large forest, anchored at W end and explored in the forest and the surrounding palm and thing bull kelp. Water was thick with tiny shrimp and fish in the forest, hard to see even. Saw lots of kelp greenlings, some pretty bold even (who knew!), a good sized cabezon, some nice small sculpin, clown dorid, very good variety of crabs (hearts, umbrella, several hermits), nice sights all around. Very surgy due to being shallow and unprotected, and hard to navigate, tid the gopher thing a bit near the end.

Dive #260, 8/13/2005
Keystone Jetty, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 58 min @ 57′

Good to be back in the water, been nearly a month since last diving. Suit went back to DUI for new seals, new boots, and pockets. First time completely dry in a while, great job DUI. Very nice dive at Keystone. As usual, decent current reversing direction on the wall itself, but slack out at the end (dove just after slack). Keeps getting shallower and lots of soggy kleenex algae, turned around at 7′ owing to ferry and lots of private boats. Nice sights, found the octo again in the notch near the beginning, lots of big lings, painted and kelp greenlings, some buffalos and lots of small sculpin, very good encrusting life with lots of crabs and plumose.

Dive #261, 8/13/2005
Keystone Pilings, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 54 min @ 54′

Nice dive at the Keystone pilings. Current running pretty good, not too much dificulty moving around in the pilings, checked them out for 30 minutes, then drifted to the jetty for another 20 (very crowded). Lots of neat stuff at the pilings: fighting red rock crabs, small hermits, pretty feather dusters, lots of juvenile fish (grown since last month) and bigger lings — some gorgeous brown ones. More crabs and several flounder / flatfish going to the jetty. Saw the octo again at the jetty. Some other team had set a clam right ousdie the crevice and the octo was inching out towards it. Blinded it with my light and retreated (be careful!), oig.

Dive #262, 8/15/2005
Harrington Island, Vancouver, BC
40′ vis, 60 min @ 85′

Great first dive off the Nautilus Explorer. Harrington is an old quarry with a steep slope of boulders going down to 120′. Dove in the lee of the island, little current but picking up pretty good as we went around the side. Whole area was thick with plumose, and lots of small anemones and shrimp and cucumbers and other things in large crevices between the boulders. Fish life included several large lings, a tiger rockfish, lots of blues/blacks and other rockfish, small sculpin, a shy decorated warbonnet on the safety stop, lots of cool stuff around. Had a buddy for the first time in a while, had some communication issues and separated when he ran low, otherwise fine.

Dive #263, 8/15/2005
Snowfall, Port Hardy, BC
40′ vis, 50 min @ 83′

Awesome wall dive in Browning Pass. Wall is nearly sheer and flat, with some crevices and structure. Completely coated with life, mostly squat plumose (snowfall!) but some red soft corals and lots of crabs. Nice rockfish life with several chinas and numerous yellowtails, lots of kelp greenlings swimming around, nice, small mosshead warbonnet at safety stop. Saw a HUGE puget sound king crab, took one picture and it picked up and started walking down the wall, awesome. Also, lots (8-12) of candy stripe shrimp on the snakelock anemones, beautiful little guys. Nice sponge life, big stands of finger sponges coated with crabs, big mounds of orange sponge.

Dive #264, 8/15/2005
Bay near Hussar Point, Port Hardy, BC
30′ vis, 61 min @ 61′

Really nice night dive off the Nautilus. First half was at 20-30′ in a protected bay with kelp on the bottom, 2nd half was at the base of a nice wall with sand and shell bottom. Great sights include a hundred or so melibe, several dendronotids, lots of hermissendas, dironas, some new nudis, awesome. Also, a nice little puget sound king crab, a nice ratfish (cover light and swim right up to it), lots of vermilions and small rockfish, several juvenile red irish lords, a couple abalone, lots of tritons, big hermit crabs, couple spotted juvenile moon snails, awesome stuff all around. Beautiful clinging jellyfish in shallows, transparent w/white tentacles and orange bits inside.

Dive #265, 8/16/2005
Hussar Point, Port Hardy, BC
40′ vis, 61 min @ 82′

Another great wall dive in Browning pass. Not as deep as the others, the wall stops at a rocky bottom with plumose at 90′. Wall itself is steep and coated with short plumose, some undulating ridges with kelp up top. Nice fish include a red irish lord, lots of china rockfish, black rockfish, and kelp greenlings. Buddy found a nice octopus in a crack, back pretty far but shot an arm out at my strobe, cool. Also, several small basket stars, red soft corals, crabs and on.

Dive #266, 8/16/2005
Browning Wall, Port Hardy, BC
50′ vis, 51 min @ 72′

Awesome wall dive. Browning remains an incredible site, with parts coated in short plumose and soft coral. Fantastic visibility and very clear blue water below 40′ or so. Lots of beautiful inverts, basket stars and finger sponges and big formations of giant barnacles. Saw a grunt sculpin hiding in a giant barnacle shell, good disguise, a decorated warbonnet full out in the open at the safety stop (darted in as I picked up camera, shy guy), lots of kelp greenlings and puget sound rockfish, nice cluster of hermissendas, small sculpin, some nice crabs. Current was pulling pretty good first half of dive, then went slack on soft coral part of wall (white wall is N, then red wall to S). Got separated from buddy, though it was kind of a cluster dive.

Dive #267, 8/16/2005
7 Trees, Port Hardy, BC
40′ vis, 60 min @ 79′

Great great dive at 7 tree. One of my favorite sites around here, great wall on the east and a shallowish (40′) ??? sand bar on the east with a nice kelp bed to the south. Thick green layer in top 40′, very dark but clear below, saw other divers but only lights, and separated early. Drifting alon, great wall sights include several red irish lords (one red and white, spectacular), dozens of hermit crabs on finger sponges, nice large shoal of puget sound rockfish, little spiders on soft corals, more barnacles and plumose and soft coral and on and on. North side has lots of urchins and cucumbers, west had a flounder, sea pens, nice, safety stop in kelp saw some clusters of snails spawning, white clouds of egg and sperm.

Dive #268, 8/17/2005
Lucan Chute, Port Hardy, BC
30′ vis, 60 min @ 96′

Awesome drift/wall dive. The chute doesn’t have quite the encrustation of other sites, a 35-45 degree wall with lots of boulders and crevices. Still, great things hiding if you look. Three octopus: a couple other divers found one in a crack early, and came across one near the end (retreated from light, leaving a shower of crab parts), best in the middle, a small guy out in the open who was pretty shy and would move away if anyone got too close. Also, a juvenile wolf eel in the open, stayed for a couple minutes and swam away slowly from the attentinon. Four puget sound king crabs, three juveniles and a comical little baby (bright orange, like the cup corals around). Moltings from one large crab, dinner plate sized carapace.

Dive #269, 8/17/2005
Browning Wall, Port Hardy, BC
40′ vis, 53 min @ 96′

Another very nice wall dive back at Browning. Current still running ok when we got in, taking us down the wall. Nice sights of divers early on, but separated fairly quickly and most of the dive was solo. Nice stuff at 80-90′, lots of the usual squat plumose, soft coral with spiders, snakelocks with candy-striped shrimp, crabs, other shrimp, quillback and puget sound rockfish, kelp greenlings. Got further this time, wall loses density and becomes mostly plumose past the red wall. Best sight was a large decorated warbonnet at the safety stop, swam into view and stayed put for photographs, awesome little guy and covered with decoration. Nice lion’s mane in mid-water.

Dive #270, 8/17/2005
Dillon Rock, Port Hardy, BC
30′ vis, 65 min @ 59′

Very cool diving for wolf eels and octopus. Dillon rock is topped with a navigational marker, going down to 70’ish on all sides. Some encrusting life, very cool juvenile sculpin someone found, like a swimming piece of algae. Small tiger rockfish. Saw three wolf eels in cracks, back and not looking to play. Five octopus: two pretty deep in cracks, just watched two more near opening of crack. Took right glove off and tried to get them out but put up a wall of tentacles and wouldn’t budge. Several minutes playing with the first, just a bit with the second. Last octo was a little guy with his eyes poking out of a hole, cute. Took glove off and petted him between the eyes. Came out further and further, after about 10 minutes was all the way out (but out of dive time), AWESOME.

Dive #271, 8/18/2005
Wedding Cake, Port Hardy, BC
40′ vis, 51 min @ 86′

Nice drift/reef dive. Wedding cake is a rock, very heavily terraced with 10′ walls covered in squat plumose (accurate site name). Went along the south face at 70-80′, then reversed back at 50′ before ascending in the kelp (some macrocystis and lots of skeleton shrimp). Cool sights were a young free swimming wolf eel (came right in front of me, went and perched down, calm and cool guy), and a good sized octopus in a crack (lashed out with a couple tentacles, took glove off, then he grabbed me with three tentacles and tried to pull me in, fun). Also, several ling cod, two puget sound king crabs (juvenile), plenty of kelp greenlings and painted greenlings, chinas and blue rockfish, nice colorful anemones and very dense life.

Dive #272, 8/18/2005
Dillon Rock, Port Hardy, BC
40′ vis, 62 min @ 80′

Very cool octopus dive back at Dillon Rock. Saw four octos, all out in the open. First was pretty shy, swam off as we tried to touch it. Second was friendly, took my glove off and he glommed on for several minutes, managed to separate my wrist seal too. Third was a small guy we didn’t bother. Fourth was a very big one I saw at the end of the stop, Eric and Ian were playing with it and it was very cool. Other nice things were some lings, a ratfish, lots of swimming scallops (one kept trying to suicide into the plumose), two wolf eels (one being petted), lots of blue fish in the macrocystis — very california safety stop, just gorgeous with clear water and sun shining.

Dive #273, 8/18/2005
Deserters Gap, Vancouver, BC
30′ vis, 52 min @ 78′

Very cool drift/night/wall dive. Dropped right around sunset, site was very dark, effectively night, with decent currents running over most of the wall (some upwellings and eddies; lots of mixing and variability), which was very steep with sheer walls and boulder piles. Variety of life was fantastic, all sorts of cool stuff: two decorated warbonnets and two mossheads, a big king crab and two juveniles, a small lion’s mane being eaten by squat plumose (pulsating to try and get away, how tragic), tons of basket stars (one crawling around, cool), several red irish lords, kelp greenlings, big crab in crack, beautiful clusters of purple anemones in shallows, variable dendronotids, nice nudi w/red cerata, lots of hermissenda and geometric egg clusters.

Dive #274, 8/19/2005
Eagle’s Nest, Vancouver, BC
20′ vis, 51 min @ 61′

Fun little ‘adventure’ dive. Went to a fairly new spot, at least one which Mike (Nautilus captain) hadn’t been to before. Bottomed out at 50-70′, boulders along bottom but largely sheer faces for much of the wall. Bottom kind of boring, but lots of big basket stars, a mosshead and red rock crab. Walls themselves were very nice, largely covered in white and orange squat plumose, soft corals, sponges, barnacles. Very fuzz, reminding me a lot of Browning wall (with poor viz and a shallow bottom). Reasonably fast current (turned early) most of the dive swam up current for a while before stopping and drifting back pretty much to the entry point. Nice scaled crab under a rock.

Dive #275, 8/19/2005
Rita’s Backside, Vancouver, BC
30′ vis, 51 min @ 91′

Cool wall dive at another new site. Rita’s Rock is a chute w/bottom at 80′, but current was ripping and lots of downwellings and upwellings visible from surface, so dove the outer side of the rock. Very nice wall starting at 50′, covered with fuzz and sponges, barnacles and soft coral and on. Nice sights include lots of basket stars, a puget sound king crab, small warbonnet in a crevice (cute little guy), lots of nice pink anemones, tiny black shrimp with white sots, pretty, small kincaid’s shrimp, very cool stuff. Last dive with the Nautilus, nice way to end the trip.

Dive #276, 8/23/2005
Alki Cove 2, Puget Sound, WA
10′ vis, 53 min @ 111′

Interesting night dive, first at Alki. Kick out to white / read buoy, descent to 60′, follow ropes to I-Beams at 80-100′, then rope over to logs at 100′. Used reel going to logs, jammed on way back (fun way to use it first), wadded the line up and clipped it back off. Came back in and headed back to shallows relatively fast. Nice sights: three octopus, one small guy who swam off and inked as I approached (sticks together in water, neat), second a big beat up octo out foraging, third a tiny octo trying to stay out of the way of the big guy. Also, cabezon on I-beams, a couple ratfish, plainfin midshipman, a sailfind sculpin in shallows, several melibe on the bottom kelp, lots of shrimp and crabs, northern clingfish.

Dive #277, 8/23/2005
Alki Cove 2, Puget Sound, WA
10′ vis, 63 min @ 101′

Another fun night dive at Alki. Went down to the end of the I-beams again, but turned there to spend more time in the shallows. Honeybear wreck is a big pile of metal in 30-50′, with lots of wooden logs at odd angles with lots of plumose. Nice sights include four octopus: the same big beat up one from the first dive, still foraging, another big beat up one hiding in the wreck, and two small ones, one a friendly little guy who let me pet him for a minute. Also, a funny ratfish which kept swimming right into me (attracted to light I think), a couple small lings, cabezon sleeping in a log, odd little sturgeon fish, another sailfin sculpin, lots of red rock crabs (a couple mating pairs, one eating and holding a fish head), shrimp and sunflower stars.

Dive #278, 8/28/2005
Possession Fingers, Puget Sound, WA
25′ vis, 61 min @ 94′

Really cool wall dive off Possession Point at the south end of whidbey island. Wall is mixed sand and clay walls, lots of overhangs and small caves, pockmarked with holes and crevices full of cool stuff. Sights include a nice GPO in a crack, lots (10+) of juvenile yelloweye rockfish, beautiful, three sailfin sculpin, a nice gunnel, plenty of clown dorids and chrimp and other awesome macro stuff. Field of orange sea pens at 50′ on top of the wall (which goes very deep, and very far), lots of big red rock crabs skittering about and flatfish, nice big cabezon and a few lines at safety stop. Also, small comb jelly, several golf ball crabs, some strange sponges.

Dive #279, 8/28/2005
Possession Sand, Puget Sound, WA
25′ vis, 47 min @ 75′

Er, tried to find the Possession Pt ferry without a GPD (lost during a hiking misadventure yesterday), without success. So, had a nice dive in the sand flats at 70′. Played around with hermit crabs, chased red rocks and flounders, just picked around looking for cool stuff. Best find was a grunt sculpin, watched him flit about for a bit, very cool. Also, a hermit I picked up abandoned his shell, looking in, a strange black/white striped millipede thing, weird. Lots of flatfish, lots of old bottles (?), one with a metridium growing on it, hah! Also, a boulder, wow! Had lots more growth than anything else, nice sailfin sculpin in a crack and lots of metridium and other anemones and encrusting life.

Dive #280, 8/28/2005
Possession Fingers, Puget Sound, WA
25′ vis, 58 min @ 79′

Another awesome dive on the Possession Fingers. A bit eventful in the beginning, dropped 100′ of line in 5′ of water with a rocky bottom and a strong ebb. Pain. Several minutes later, got to the sand and untangled the line, clipped off and went, mostly at 50-60′ around the top of the wall. Fantastic sights, this spot is like a clay condo for exotic macro stuff. Saw dozens of sailfin sculpins (one cave in particular was infested, 15+ easily flitting around), a small decorated warbonnet, several gunnels, clown dorids, a big snakelock with 50+ tiny shrimp around its base, several juvenile yelloweyes, several golf ball crabs, decorator crabs, lots of red rock crabs, tons of shrimp. Bigger stuff were some nice lings, big quillbacks and coppers, and that octopus again. Noticed this time she was on eggs, strangs hanging from the ceiling and slowly aerating them, touching.

Dive #281, 8/31/2005
Alki Cove 2, Puget Sound, WA
10′ vis, 45 min @ 80′

Uncomfortable dive. Dropped my computer beforehand and broke it, but went and dove anyways without gas, time, or depth information. Sucky idea, need depth in particular or otherwise get really disoriented. Went to top of I-beams, then back to the Honeybear area, wandering around for a while until I got pissed and came in. Still, nice sights: a cute little stubby squid at the beginning, sitting on bottom with iridescent eyes, three red octopus out hunting, weird-ass horned shrimp, moon snail, dironas, plenty of logy rockfish and even a few melibe.

Dive #282, 9/3/2005
Pulali Pt E, Hood Canal, WA
25′ vis, 61 min @ 91′

Interesting dive back in Hood Canal, launched at Pt Whitney with three tanks, 1.5 mile paddle down to Pulali. Kayak was a bitch to tow loaded down with tanks and the paddle in the water (d’oh). As before, site has great topography, sheer walls and cracks, not great macro life but good fish. Saw a gunnel out in the open, neat, a crazy red eel-like fish with beady eyes and two barbels under the mouth (red brotula), hairy lithoid crabs, several vermilions, lings, quillbacks, yellowtails. Best though was a school of several dogfish that came up to me close repeatedly before darting away. Some were pretty big and saw them numerous times later on, gets scary when several rush you at once. Cool white on red shrimp.

Dive #283, 9/3/2005
The Pinnacle, Hood Canal, WA
25′ vis, 56 min @ 81′

Another nice Hood Canal dive. Two other boats anchored so was somewhat constrained in towing the kayak. Wind picked up and it was pulling me pretty good, fun ~1hr back to Pulali, oi. Sights include a big GPO in a crack (didn’t pay me much mind), a nice wolf eel under a ledge, could see the whole body, lots of vermilions, several lemonpeel nudibranchs and some other dorids, several hairy lithoid crabs.

Dive #284, 9/3/2005
Pulali Pt E, Hood Canal, WA
25′ vis, 58 min @ 83′

Another nice dive, back at Pulali Point. Fairly uneventful compared to the first one, no aggressive dogfish (or dogfish at all). Best sight was a mother and pup seal right at the beginning, got a good look and then they took off (had been resting on a rock right near my landing point beforehand). Also saw lots of vermilions, huge coppers, yellowtails, some spooky blacks given the low light, they pop out at you, a couple lings, one pretty big. Smaller stuff was lots of squat lobsters and shrimp (some cool red/white striped shrimp a few mm long), black/white shrimp, hairy lithoids, a small gunnel, red rock crabs, the usual here.

Dive #285, 9/4/2005
Octopus Hole, Hood Canal, WA
25′ vis, 65 min @ 64′

Fun little dive near Hoodsport. Octopus Hole has two walls apparently, visited the first one going ~25′ to ~50′ or so, lots of surrounding shale and other rocks. Sights were one octopus in a hole (!) who didn’t want to come out, two fairly shy wolf eels in the rubble south of the wall, tons and tons of squat lobsters scouting about (one got nabbed by a flatfish), lots of red rock crabs and small dungeness, a small population of copper and other rockfish.

Dive #286, 9/4/2005
Octopus Hole, Hood Canal, WA
25′ vis, 63 min @ 49′

Decent dive back in Octopus hole. Went looking for the southern wall, swimming well past but seeing nothing really interesting. Kind of like underwater jogging with all the swimming, mild current running south made getting back more work. Sights include two wrestling dungeness, interesting to watch them vie for position, two lewis moon snail, one with a 2mm long nudibranch crawling on it, one of the wolf eels from the previous dive, lots of red rock crabs and dungeness (some very big) and the usual Hood Canal stuff.

Dive #287, 9/4/2005
Rosie’s Ravine, Hood Canal, WA
35′ vis, 57 min @ 84′

AWESOME wall dive. Site is about 1 mile from Duckabush river (launched upriver and paddled out to sea), just off a point, and a fairly nondescript silt and rock 45 degree wall. Sights awesome though. Best by far at 70′ is a 6′ or so six-gilled shark, the first I’ve ever seen. Looked up and he was slowly cruising by, looking me over casually before turning into deep water, wow! Also saw two grunt sculpin, nice, a decorated warbonnet, weird scaled thing with zombie midshipman, coppers, vermilions, a small wolf eel, plumose, free swimming gunnel, nudi fields, the usual hood canal stuff. Weather topside was windy and rainy on descent, cleared with sun and a rainbow upon surfacing. Nice…

Dive #288, 9/4/2005
Rosie’s Ravine, Hood Canal, WA
30′ vis, 58 min @ 79′

Twilight dive back at Rosie’s Ravine. Some ambient light down below but pretty dark. Still buzzed from the previous dive, didn’t notice too much on this one. Saw another nice decorated warbonnet sticking partly out, lots of coppers and yellowtails and some vermilions, lings, painted greenlings. Invertebrates were a couple tiny starfish, cute, another beautiful red/white shrimp, lots of other shrimp and squat lobsters and so forth. Ah, six-gill…

Dive #289, 9/11/2005
Possession Pt Fingers, Puget Sound, WA
25′ vis, 62 min @ 85′

Great dive back at Possession Point. Did the fingers for 30 min then a slow ascent through the sand. Awesome sights as always. Two octopus, one small GPO back in a crack and a red out in the open. Took off glove and he went up on my hand for a while, nice. Also, lots of sailfin sculpin, several gunnels (beautiful red w/white spots dorsal), smallish ling cod, lots of rockfish. Nudibranchs great, 3 clown dorids, several giant red dendronotid, big dironas, big guys I don’t know (white with tufts of cerata on sides), tons of shrimp and crabs and on. Flounder flocking to my anchor line, funny.

Dive #290, 9/11/2005
Possession Pt Ferry, Puget Sound, WA
30′ vis, 63 min @ 75′

Nice dive, first time on the Possession Pt ferry. It was sunk here a while back by dropping chunks of concrete on it, and is now more or less a big field of beams and other rubble covered with Metridiums. Very thick here, some big gorgeous bouquets of anemones, nice. Lots of quillback rockfish lazing about, some coppers too, surf perch, and lots of lings, all shy but some pretty big. Not a whole lot else I noticed (was shooting wide angle), nice big clown dorid sand a small jelly at the safety stop. Got off the line to shoot it and had to do a free ascent, but minimal current so not much of a problem.

Dive #291, 9/11/2005
Possession Fingers, Puget Sound, WA
25′ vis, 58 min @ 75′

Interesting dive back on the fingers. Was tethered to the kayak, plus had camera and light cannon, a lot to juggle and kind of screwy (stuck camera shutter didn’t help). Great macro stuff here, etc. just keep your eyes open. More clown dorids than I could count, lemon peels, a huge giant red dendronotid, several more exotic species of nudibranchs, very cool. Also, a few sailfin sculpin, two decorated warbonnets, pretty shy though, several gunnels w/one in the open, a juvenile yelloweye, pretty shy but stuck around in a small cvae, lots of other rockfish, shrimp and crabs as usual, with a lost dungeness wandering right up to the anchor line. Screwing with camera on safety stop, stayed too long and came up very low on gas.

Dive #292, 9/17/2005
Alki Cove 2, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 40 min @ 45′

Dive with Mom on her drysuit checkout. First dive at Alki during the day, nice vis and enjoyed it a lot. Fun stuff including the big GPO at the Honeybear, starfish, perch, rockfish, crabs, shrimp, and so on. Some white-lined dironas, a gold dirona, sailfin sculpin in a piling, nice views of metridiums on the pilings. Diving with Mom as buddy, Curtis and three others. Most newish to drysuits, kicking up silt kind of annoying and dropping viz significantly as we passed. Ah, well.

Dive #293, 9/17/2005
Alki Cove 2, Puget Sound, WA
20′ vis, 30 min @ 60′

Mom’s second drysuit checkout, rather short dive. Followed the boundary line down to 60′, hung out for a few minutes, then came back. Some nice sights, a big brown/orange crescent gunnel, some other nice gunnels, rockfish, crab, the usual stuff. Mom was underweighted and having buoyancy problems in shallows, nearly popped up once but Curtis got her under control (I was off a few feet away looking under a rock, d’oh).

Dive #294, 9/18/2005
Edmonds UW Park, Puget Sound, WA
15′ vis, 46 min @ 28′

Nice dive touring Edmonds with Mom. Site is a big grid of lines run through cement blocks, 27 acres and packed with small wrecks and artificial reefs. Went out on Cathedral Way towards the Triumph, swimming out and dropping on the second buoy (very low tide), following the line and touring nearby structure, ending at the cathedrals, bcool big structures connected with chain. Nice sights include a few big cabezon, several huge lings, one gigantic and really fast one which swam between me and Mom, less than 1 foot away. Also several white-lined dirona, a couple leopard dorids, rockfish and greenlings, and a fair number of crabs, tons of shrimp. Lively and interesting, also had a strong back-eddy further out.

Dive #295, 9/18/2005
Edmonds UW Park, Puget Sound, WA
15′ vis, 46 min @ 29′

Another nice dive at Edmonds. Went out on the line just to the north of last dive’s, after 20 minutes hit tubehenge, a big confusing complex of big metal tubes and pipes and such. After several minutes, Mom was getting cold and turned. More nice sihts, saw several big lings and lots of big cabs, cool. Good macro stutff was a neat gunnel coaxed out in the open, odd ridge over head, juvenile painted greenling and plenty of adults, leopard dorid, and then the usual crabs and stuff. Especially cool was coming into the eelgrass beds at 10′, a fair number of melibe out filtering food and lots of little cup-shaped egg clusters attached to the eelgrass.

Dive #296, 9/29/2005
Ballbuster, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 60 min @ 93′

Very nice dive on Ballbuster, first time back since the Cypress Sea trip last year. Beautiful pinnacle, flat top at 70′ and dropping to 90′ on all sides, covered with plumose and strawberries. Nicest sights were a young wolf eel mostly in the open, midwater jellies, and a cool little octopus in a crack — blue sheen to it, smooth skin, unusual. Also lots of small rockfish — blues and gophers, plenty of kelp and painted greenlings (numerous juveniles) and that great Monterey encrusting life. Hit NDL in 32%, 6 min stop from 80′-10′. Left the weight on the pinnacle and fought the kayak to keep it from moving, worked well.

Dive #297, 9/29/2005
Aumentos, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 58 min @ 62′

Another nice dive closer in at Aumentos. Slightly cruddy top layer, cleared up very good at 40′ or so. Spent 30 minutes checking out the edge of the rock, then the rest wandering around the surrounding boulders and nice terrain. Good sights include cute little juvenile treefish in a crack, several heart crabs, clown dorids, a spanish shawl, lots of lemonpeels and good additional fish like kelp and painted greenlings, blues, perch, and an opaleye.

Dive #298, 9/29/2005
Outer Chase, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 65 min @ 52′

Very pretty, relaxing kelp forest dive at Outer Chase. Consistently good vis from surface down, so nice and bright and gorgeous views of the kelp. Best sight was a harbor seal, who came by early in the dive and revisited me several times, never coming in close but seemed curious nonetheless. Nothing else terribly exciting: lots of rockfish, a juvenile ling cod, juvenile cabezon (tan, pretty), lots of greenlings. Then some good inverts, lots of crabs (including some more heart crabs, hermits, and on), a cluster of hermissendas, a small lemonpeel with eggs (laying them?). Blue rockfish visited again, love those guys and their curiosity.

Dive #299, 9/29/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 65 min @ 44′

Very cool BW night dive (aren’t they all?). New sights were 3 (!) red brotula — two I just saw the tails of, the other one turned around and got a good look at its head. Also, a real social sheep crab, interesting. Small octopus out in the open, slid around to get away from me for a while, including trying to dig (?) a hole under a rock using its siphon and tentacles. Nice little monkeyface eel, several gunnels, big clown dorid, more big decorator and kelp crabs, lots of painted greenlings, rockfish, perch, lots of lightbulb tunicates. Lots of shrimp around, would somersault when I shined my light on them, very weird.

Dive #300, 9/30/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 61 min @ 104′

Nice dive at Monastery. Marginal entrance at north, but took kayak out from way S end without problems. Fog set in reducing surface visibility, argh. Vis somewhat cloudy, but could see easily once out of the kelp. Went down to the wall at 100′ for about 30 minutes, then back at 80′ before a leisurely ascent in the kelp. Nice sights were a good number of nudibranch, incl. several diamond back tritonia, numerous dorids and on, a cool odd gunnel-like fish with green markings, red rock crab, crescent kelpfish, a couple small lings, lots of rockfish and greenlings, and nice encrusting life — tube worms, sponges. Lots of big decorator crabs, one covered almost entirely in encrusting tunicates. Lots of egg-yolks in shallows.

Dive #301, 9/30/2005
Mono Lobo, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 80′

Very cool dive at Mono Lobo. Dropped on the outer edge of the kelp forest in 80′ (still fog up top, oi). Went shallower and spent most of the dive at 50-60′. Nearby wall about 25′ tall, covered in strawberries, bryozoans, and lots of big bunches of hydrocoral (in only 40′!), beautiful. Great sights, juvenile canary rockfish at 60′ (like a vermilion, but yellow with black spot on dorsal), good nudibranchs including several Hilton’s aeolids, one of those little white ones with orange ball cerata, a few hermissendas, lots of dorids. Quick glimpse of a seal. Lots of crabs around, two decorators sharing a jellyfish, one crevice with a couple heart crabs, hermits, decorators, and another crack with over a dozen hermit crabs, little pile.

Interesting event before the dive. During SI three divers entered through the surf without problems and descended. On my paddle out, one of them popped up away from the kelp in a near panic. Took his weights and hung out for several minutes and hung out waiting for his buddies to surface. Apparently they went down to 100′ in the sand, racked up some deco and then ascended separately, ugh. Took the weights back and then accompanied them to shore, they got out ok. While waiting with the guy, a whale surfaced ~200′ in front of us, surprising and awesome.

Dive #302, 10/10/2005
Middle Reef, Point Lobos, CA
25′ vis, 54 min @ 65′

Nice little dive at Lobos. Kicked out to the center of middle reef in 30′, went N to about 60′ and turned. Fair bit of surge, especially in shallower areas, hand-over-handing much of the way. Good sights, big sheephead just off the sand channel (seen him there before), several vermilions, nice cabezon, jellies, greenlings, rockfish. Small bunch of hydrocoral, some huge FE anemones, usual inverts otherwise. Interesting topography, some caves in the rocks and a small tunnel.

Dive #303, 10/10/2005
Cannery Point, Point Lobos, CA
25′ vis, 54 min @ 58′

Another nice dive at Lobos. Swam out to the sand channel a bit before descending and going along the nice cuts and large rocks out toward the point. Cool sights like a brown ling cod, another big grey one, vermilion, and on. Found a small crevice kelpfish hiding in the palm, trying to stay between leaves as it shifted back and forth cute. Two tiny decorators fighting each other, interesting. A little bit rushed on the way in, Kevin was getting cold I think and both him and Ericson really motored.

Dive #304, 10/10/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 83 min @ 46′

Extremely cool BW night dive — longest dive ever! Dropped down during early twilight, still some light below and the night critters not out yet. Trip out kind of dull,hightlights were a sheep crab, two red brotula, red rock crab holding a big piece of grey flesh, big heart crab — very shy, small sleek bocaccio. Trip back was pretty awesome. Full out night now, so more stuff coming out. Saw another crab, red brotula’s head (unusual that), a huge clown dorid wandering around, more rockfish and some blacksmith and generally the usual wall stuff. Best part was when I went off the wall towards the end. First went to around 30′ in sand. Found a small octopus splayed out, poured itself into a hole and disappeared. Cool little crab crawling around a tube worm, an isopod in the sand would bury itself in the sand when I shined my light on it, picked it up and it kept reburying, cool. Went in shallower, found a nice little ray in the sand, swam away quickly though. Next was a baby cabezon, looked like an adult but 3 inches long, black and white and very cool little guy. Followed the sand over to the sand dollars and then this long red stringy sweaweed. Lots of cool stuff here, found a ray hiding under the weed who stayed for a while, more isopods, another octopus, another ray, finally had to come up after an awesome dive.

Dive #305, 10/11/2005
Fanshell Pinnacle, Pebble Beach, CA
40′ vis, 63 min @ 87′

Very nice but somewhat problematic dive at Fanshell — launched at the cove (tidewater?) at fanshell overlook. Even on a small swell like today, area is kind of a washing machine — there’s a straight shot out, but all the reflecting waves and relatively little margin of error make things tricky. Compounds this with the fog, which was in fairly thick in the morning — lost sight of the beach about .2 miles out. Out at the site, relatively little surface movement (yay!), but failed to hook the pinnacle and didn’t notice until on my way down, argh. Headed back to the surface, paddled back to the pinnacle and managed to hook it. Lesson: MAKE SURE YOU HOOK THE SITE! Was punished for this by my oceanic, which now registered me as diving 50% O2, 79% N2, fucking POS.

Anyways, the dive itself was really good. Came down on the line to the top at 50′, there was a lot of surge and some current (possibly — nothing on the surface), so tied off at 65′ and did most of the dive sans kayak. Lots and lots of bryozoans and strawberry anemones on the top and sides, lots of palm kelp on top sheltering fish, isolated pockets of metridium and hydrocoral. Real mixed bag of Monterey Bay and Carmel Bay life. Some especially nice stuff were several big kelp greenlings, lots of big blues and yellowtails, an interesting shrimp that looked decorated almost — fuzzy yellow body, very unusual, need to identify. More fighting decorator crabs, odd. Several jellies in the water column, neat. Came up to the top of the pinnacle, and did most of my safety stop / fake deco drifting, nice way of doing it with the kelp attached.

Dive #306, 10/11/2005
West Cypress 3, Pebble Beach, CA
40′ vis, 53 min @ 89′

Exploration dive at Cypress Point. Found a neat looking pinnacle with GIS data and headed over to it. Only complications here were on the way out. Stupidly decided to take a shortcut inside two large wash rocks. There was a lot of surf today, and the inside reflection made things very washing machine like. Got through without being hit by a wave, but a few close calls. On to the site, only trouble here was an underwater rock waves were breaking on a few hundred feet away, oi. Anchored, hooked in, descended. Beautiful pinnacle. Top is at 30′, drops on the south side to 100’+. Completely vertical, too, was hovering off the wall at 70′ and could easily see straight down to the sandy bottom and straight up to the palm kelp on top, with thw all continuing on either side. Just awesome. Nice mix of life on this face. Lots of large, usually isolated heads of hydrocoral, some big blooms of strawberries under some overhangs, rest was bryozoans and lots of gopher rockfish swimming about. Going round to west, huge boulder propped up against the pinnacle, small tunnel with numerous rockfish inside, lots more hydrocoral off to the side. Heading back to the east side of the pinnacle, there is a narrow ravine between it and the next one — 5-10ft wide at the base, more at the top. Went down, had a female kelp greenling swim by, more strawberries, bryozoans, rockfish nice. Rather than pressing my luck, went up to the top of the pinnacle and hung out in the surge for a few minutes, neat little game to play as you realize you are in the same place in the water column, it’s just the rocks that are moving. Did safety stop ok and ascended. Nice.

Dive #307, 10/11/2005
Fanshell Reef, Pebble Beach, CA
15′ vis, 60 min @ 62′

OK dive in the kelp off fanshell. Big disappointment here was the visibility — after two very clear dives further out, in the kelp it was fairly green/brown and dark, ugh. Went out and back along the edge of the kelp forest, saw lots of fish eating anemones, some painted greenlings, grass and gopher rockfish, small ling in the beginning. Accompanied by blues and yellowtails near beginning and end, curious little guys. Not much else to speak of.

Dive #308, 10/20/2005
North Locals 7, Pebble Beach, CA
40′ vis, 61 min @ 85′

Awesome little dive near Local’s Ledge. Launched at tidewater cove with two tanks, came around the point (not as much surf as last week), and went here first. Site is two long, narrow pinnacle structures side by side, coming up to 30-50′ and down to 80-100′ between them and on ocean side. Tied off to ratty kelp at surface after problems hooking. Detached for way down and did dive clipped off, worked fine. Went to ocean side of pinnacles first, fighting to get NW (some wind topside) and then drifting SE. Really nice life here, tons of blue and yellowtail rockfish, numerous kelp greenlings with several females, beautiful, lots of gophers and generally gerat fish life for the area. Great encrusting of invertebrates, scattered hydrocoral with some glusters, corynactis and bryozoans and the beautiful usual. Highlights include one of thoese white nudis with orange ball cerata (identify, dammit!), pink spiral of eggs, beautiful green and black scallop. After ~25 minutes, crossed over to the gap between the pinnacles and followed the E side NW. More nice life and awesome topography, sheer walls intersecting with each other, deep cuts, amazing. Highlight was a neat swim through at about 70′, plenty big to get through comfortably, neat. Nearby top of pinnacle went to 30′, came up, hung around for a while and ascended.

Dive #309, 10/20/2005
Local’s Ledge, Pebble Beach, CA
40′ vis, 56 min @ 85′

On to local’s ledge itself (I think). GORGEOUS dive. The ledge (I think) starts at 40′ and goes to 100′ in a series of gentle terraces. And absolutely covered with thick, colorful, beautiful life. Tons of nice hydrocoral, bryozoans, corynactis, barnacles in every crack and with a nice covering of palm kelp. Just went down the ledge and back, varying depths and taking pictures. Saw a pretty brown but very shy cabezon, ran into him twice on the dive but would just scoot off, lots of kelp greenlings and gopher rockfish, plus plenty of inquisitive blues. Nice chestnut cowrie, lots of nudibranchs of the usual sorts. The one serious problem was damaging a piece of hydrocoral while taking a shot. Surge swung me into it and wasn’t hanging onto anything, no excuse. Just minor, and a small head, but felt terrible about it and need to be very careful in the future — it grows slowly and is very fragile.

Dive #310, 10/20/2005
Fanshell Pinnacle, Pebble Beach, CA
40′ vis, 63 min @ 86′

Another very fun dive at Fanshell. Mostly doing macro photography (nothing really amazing, but beautiful nonetheless), clipped to the kayak and wandering around the lee of the pinnacle. Some cool stuff was a nice ling cod that refused to budge (looked for but didn’t see any eggs), nice metridiums isolated on walls, some nice small sculpins and the usual nice inverts and schooling fish (still plenty here!), blue rockfish swarming tiny red fish. Went back and forth along the S side of the pinnacle, came up top and then moved off for a drift safety stop of several minutes. Between the safety stop and taking care of the gear on the surface, the NW winds pushed me back almost to the rocks off the point. It’s not THAT far offshore, should be somewhat careful.

Dive #311, 10/20/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 80 min @ 45′

Very nice BW night dive. Dropped at the bend, but went along the sand near the base of the wall the first half, going very slowly, then coming back on the wall, again very slowly — long and very relaxed dive, nice. Lots of nice stuff on the sand — cool little red octopus foraging, slid around trying to camoflauge, neat. Lots of fish going about, several nice cusk type eel-fishes, would slide backwards into the sand when I got close. Lots of sea pends, hadn’t really noticed them before, weird. Several big decorators out foraging. Nice kelp greenling. Getting to the wall, even more nice stuff. Beautiful red fish, looked like a greenling, neat. Lots more rockfish, blacksmiths coming back, one pregnant (?) bocaccio, large unidentified fish with lobed tail. Lots more crabs, plenty of kelp crabs included, nice white cancer crab with black-tipped pincers, pretty. Saw another octopus on the way in, biggest red octo I’ve seen down here. Went under a kelp leaf when he spotted me, then under a rock where I watched while he tried to sneak away.

Tore another neck seal after the dive — third time in a bit more than 200 dives. Need a better solution than these DUI latex seals.

Dive #312, 10/21/2005
Great Pinnacle, Point Lobos, CA
50′ vis, 55 min @ 93′

Awesome blue dive at Lobos. This was my first dive at the Great Pinnacle, the premiere spot in the park. Top of the pinnacle is at 45′ or so, a few kelp plants growing up to mark it at the surface. To the north is a nearly sheer wall down to 150′, lots of corynactis and some small pieces of hydrocoral. To the south are several smaller pinnacles, lots of crags and sheer walls and generally awesome topography. But the blue! Visibility the best I’ve seen in a while, some white particulate clouding things up but no green at all. Could pick out surface detail from 90′, see the top of the pinnacle at all times, and just marvel at the crisp, beautiful scenery and life.

At the surface, to avoid damaging hydrocoral (not a worry as it turned out), clipped to the kelp and let out line but did not drop anchor. Then unclipped kayak from kelp and let it drift SE with wind while we went down the kelp to the pinnacle. Checked out the north wall for a bit, then came to the southern pinnacles and explored those and the ridge on the W side for a while. Pinnacle is huge, would take a long time to fully explore. Some nice fish on the pinnacle, small tan cabezon, nice sheepshead a long way down while on top of the pinnacle, several beautiful female kelp greenlings, lots of gopher rockfish, nice big cloud of blues up at the safety stop. Didn’t spend too much time looking at macro stuff, but some nice sculpins, several heart crabs, and on.

Couple problems on the dive. First, near the beginning the shackle holding the line to the snap came undone, sending the line up to the surface quickly. This was just after turning over to look up, and fortunately Henry noticed and retrieved it in time. What bugs me is I knew the shackle was a problem but had not bothered to fix it. Second problem was the neck seal; the patch job I did last night turned out rather poorly, causing some seepage and a cold chest for much of the dive, ugh. Still, not too encroaching; discomfort paled in comparison to the site’s beauty.

Dive #313, 10/21/2005
Bluefish Cove, Point Lobos, CA
40′ vis, 50 min @ 78′

Another extremely nice dive at Lobos, not quite the awe of the previous one but great nonetheless. Dropped on the W side of bluefish in about 50′, right near the swim-through on the GPS. Went over and found the swimthrough and two seals came out of it right in front of us! Swimthru leaves plenty of room to get through, maybe 20′ long and lots of fun. Went out to the edge of the forest at 70-80′. Seals tagged along, always chasing each other and playing. At one point smaller one went under a rock after being chased, other one swam off, I went over and the smaller one popped out and swam off, cool. Nice topography in these deeper parts, a lot like Cannery Point and Monolobo. Lots of big fish eating anemones, some light encrusting life, nice and clear. After a bit, went in shallower to 50′ or so and started heading back. Lots of nice fish, including two juvenile canaries, a sheepshead that swam right by us, small ling cod, female and male kelp greenlings, big vermilion and other nice rockfish. Very nice. Tried to follow 50′ contour, but this actually brought us deeper into the cove, and ended up in 30′ of water with rocks for stop. Surfaced, and had a bit of a swim back to the kayak. Only problem on this dive was the neck seal. Considerably worse than the last dive, could feel the water trickling in and creeping down; was getting pretty uncomfortable by the end of the dive, and afterwards was pretty wet. Still seems worth it for the dive, but really aggravating to keep having these seal problems.

Dive #314, 10/29/2005
Hopkins Deep, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 70 min @ 83′

Very nice dive, first time at Hopkins reef. Launched at Lovers 3, there was some serious swell (10-12′ offshore) today and pretty big waves coming in, surfers were having fun. Went between sets, no problems getting in or out. Down the ~1 mile to Hopkins, dropped weight w/line and descended. Sand at first — d’oh! — but went deeper and found increasingly impressive rocks — some 10-15′ tall and quite wide — covered with metridiums. The metridiums were not in bloom, unfortunately; the water was fairly clear of plankton, just stirred up from the swell. Encrusting life besides metridiums not too dense — lots of orange cup corals, a few patches of corynactis. Very nice fish life. A couple big lings, one in the sand and one on the rocks. Big cabezon in a crevice, unusual. Nice kelp greenling, lots of blues, blacks, and kelp rockfish. Best were two large treefish, in crevices ononly about 5 feet from each other, interesting. Pretty good inverts, lots of decorator crabs and a spanish shawl. Despite the stirred up vis, clear upper layer let lots of light down, making for a bright, white and black dive. Nice purple-striped jellyfish on stop.

Dive #315, 10/29/2005
Mating Amtraks, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 55 min @ 84′

OK but pretty boring dive. The problem with the Amtraks isn’t that they’re not interesting, it’s that they’re small and you run out of things to see pretty fast. One is mostly buried in the sand, while the other is mostly up out of it and much more interesting. Lots of small tattered nets on trak. Still fairly intact, one can make out many features on it, lots of holes opening up into small cavities with rockfish inside. Kind of neat, with the heavy surge there was a strong outflow and inlet to some of the holes, felt almost like getting sucked in. Lots of corynactis on the trak, snails and painted greenlings and such, school of blues hovering over the wreck in ~60′. Looked around the wreck for ~25 minutes, disentangled anchor from anchor line (used this because of all the sand around), then looked at the wreck some more before a slow free ascent with the line. With the anchor hanging below me, some blues were picking food on it, felt like I was fishing.

Dive #316, 10/29/2005
Eric’s Pinnacle, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 65 min @ 63′

Awesome dive at Eric’s Pinnacle. Only downside to this one was the shitty vis, which was both stirred up and with lots of plankton, ugh. Not too much of a big deal, though, just stayed on the northeast side of the pinnacle and did several slow back-and-forths looking for cool stuff. Lots of it too — best sights were a small octopus sitting back in a hole looking at me (didn’t like HID), a beautiful juvenile treefish flitting about in a large crevice, not afraid at all, a spanish shawl, ling cod, this great crevice with two (!) treefish, several coppers, several gophers, blues, and a red greenling with white spots (saw at BW too, need to ID). Other very cool sights were numerous heart crabs — one sprang out of his crevice and started running around and getting tossed by the surge, funny — lots of dorids of various kinds, numerous decorator crabs, one with some gold ring topsnails crawling around on it, funny. Great encrusting life, lots of corynactis and bryozoans, especially good near the top of the pinnacle (20-40′). Great topography, some cool slots taken out of the pinnacle and filled with rockfish (don’t think there are any swim-throughs), sheer walls on the north face and lots of cracks and crevices on both N and E faces to hide the plethora of life.

Dive #317, 11/5/2005
Inside Yellowbanks, Santa Cruz Island, CA
15′ vis, 68 min @ 32′

Kind of lousy dive, first in the Channel Islands. Were on the protected east side of the island, ugly reef in about 15-25′, surge kicking up sand and making visibility all over the map. Took camera and lobster gear, not too many problems managing both. Nice to see the Socal fish, lots of white seabass, several garibaldi around, first time I’ve seen them, beautiful fish. Better sights were a short ridge with a small cave packed with small lobsters, peeked in and looked around, skittish around the light. Numerous short lobsters under other ridges, kind of funny to see lobster traps right next to the crevices and nowhere else. Some nice spanish shawls, not much invertebrate cover. Lots of eelgrass on the way back, found one possibly legal lobster just sitting in the stuff hiding. Tried to grab him but he got away, oh well. Better technique is to pin them down and then get a better hold.

Dive #318, 11/5/2005
Sandstone, Santa Cruz Island, CA
40′ vis, 65 min @ 56′

Extremely nice dive somewhere off Santa Cruz. Went to a deeper spot, reef bottom around 50′, very clear water and some nice bottom topo, first half of the dive was going out in this stuff and coming back, lots of beautiful gorgonians but fairly uneventful otherwise. After coming back, found a very nice ridge — lots of seabass, sheepshead, a nice garibaldi in a hole — watched him for a while, then he swam out and around for a bit before returning to the same hole, nice. Best sight here was a big and friendly seal. Very dark, first saw him swimming by looking at me and then off. Went back to the reef, several minutes later he was peeking over from the other side of the ridge, came up and he would lie there, occasionally glancing at me before swimming off. Couple minutes later he snuck up on me and made several attempts at my fins during the ascent. Was running low on air, but saw a small horn shark in a crevice, stopped to get a good look at him, very cute.

Dive #319, 11/5/2005
Pink Ribbon, Santa Cruz Island, CA
40′ vis, 58 min @ 63′

Another nice, fairly relaxed but uneventful dive off Santa Cruz. Deeper reef here, bottom consistently around 60′. Lots of crevices, saw one nice lobster out pretty far but didn’t go for him. Just went along the reef, lots of very young giant kelp, easy to tangle on, lots of very nice gorgonians to admire. On way back, at about 40 min in came across a boundary for the kelp forest — still lots of rocks beyond, but urchins everywhere. odd. Started a nice slow ascent here, beautiful and clear in midwater, lots of light filtering down and just gorgeous watching the kelp rippling about. Lots of small fish around, small school of silvery baitfish, beautiful.

Dive #320, 11/5/2005
Inside Pink Ribbon, Santa Cruz Island, CA
30′ vis, 49 min @ 37′

Fun lobster dive. Boat was in 30′ of thick kelp, went down and closer to shore (same depth) to look for bugs. Very cool rock formations here, heavily layered rock with lots of cracks, massive rippling and buckling of the plates, almost an alien landscape, awesome. Lots of bugs around, one tiny rock arch with several inside, Henry went to one side and I to the other. Kind of bedlam though, lobsters flying everywhere, caught one but it ended up short. Moved on, found a legal one in a revice, got it pretty easily and bagged it, first lobster! Found another one in a crack later but it was short. Nice… Other sights were several sea hares around, other stuff. Got fairly disoriented hunting, surfaced pretty far from the boat and had a good swim back.

Dive #321, 11/5/2005
Heart Attack Rock, Santa Cruz Island, CA
40′ vis, 67 min @ 54′

AWESOME twilight dive on a beautiful pinnacle. Heart Attack Rock is fairly shallow, base on the south side is ~50′, coming up to 20-30′! South side is a very nice wall, long series of cracks and ridges loaded with life. Truth was anchored W of the rock, swam over and out along the wall at 50′, back at 40′, then slowly made my way shallower. Wonderful sights. Saw two california scorpionfish, one a very big guy back in a hole, the other a tiny 3″ one at the base of a rock. Juvenile giant kelpfish, the kelp color of the adults with some iridescence, and so delicate, beautiful. Interesting behavior, if I shined my light at the kelpfish it would turn and orient its back to the light, assuming that’s how it orients itself during the day wrt the sun. Two small octopus out in the open first had a blue ring on the mantle (?!), would freeze up with my light on him but shaked around when I moved it away. Kind of a red-light green-light ame. Second one hid pretty fast, still cool though. Saw two lobster, one possibly legal back in an overhang but didn’t go for him, would trash some beautiful gorgonians. Regular fish life very nice. Tons of treefish, saw them out and about pretty much every few feet in places, several juveniles too. Lots of blacksmith, some rockfish, one garibaldi, nice. Encrusting life really good, much better than the other spots today. Lots of chestnut cowries, some bryozoans, sponges, some corynactis, cool.

Dive #322, 11/5/2005
Willows Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island, CA
20′ vis, 70 min @ 34′

Odd ‘lobstering’ night dive. Site was at the base of two large rocks sticking out of the water, sand meeting urchin and kelp covered rocks starting at 30′ and going up to 3′. Went through some of the rocks down to the sand, followed that for a bit, ran into Henry and continued north with him. Water got shallower and shallower until we were only a few feet below the surface. Stood up, talked for a minute, and headed back towards the boat for the remainder of the dive. Saw a grand total of one lobster the entire dive, and it was a short (between everyone else lobstering, only one legal was brought up). Ah well. Some great sights and interesting experiences besides. Saw a HUGE bat ray, wing span probably 4-5′ — Went right over him going into the sand and he swam off, could feel the force of his fins on my face. Also a small thornback, small octopus, cute horn shark lazing about, Henry found a small moray eel sticking out, very cool to see these guys in such cool water. A couple sea hares, a nice navanax hunting nudis, some garibaldi, a few sheepshead showing their night coloration (red w/white spots, almost like a vermilion) sitting in crevices, great non-edible sights all around. Interesting experience was the flying fish. Lots of them in the water to the north, were attracted to the lights and would repeatedly ram/bite me and Henry. Could really feel it, though more annoying than anything to have all these 4-6″ fish hitting you. Saw them jumping out of the water later. Weird.

Dive #323, 11/6/2005
Fire Reef, Santa Cruz Island, CA
?? vis, 62 min @ 68′

Nice and relaxed deep reef kelp dive, still on the back side of Santa Cruz. Pretty dark under the canopy, looked around at the decent relief, then to some sandy areas nearby to look for stuff and enjoy the light. Good early sights were a lot of gorgonians, sheepshead, rockfish, etc. Going over to the kelp, found a juvenile kelpfish hiding in the dead kelp on the bottom. Cute watching him move with the stuff and try to stay hidden. Coming back in, found a diamondback tritonia (festiva?) climbing up a gorgonian. Stayed a while taking pictures, beautiful watching it sway in the surge. Ascended a bit after, but accidentally racked up 2 min worth of deco, dammit. Around 40′ water was pretty clear. Saw an adult kelpfish swimming around, followed him for several minutes going for a shot. Very fun, like a big 3D game of hide and seek. No current on bottom, but picked up pretty good in top 20′. Waited several more minutes and surfaced.

Dive #324, 11/6/2005
Inside Sandstone, Santa Cruz Island, CA
?? vis, 64 min @ 57′

Another nice lobster dive. This one was pretty much at 30′ in the kelp. Found a couple lobsters early on, both me and Henry went for them but they popped out, one hitting me in the face. Moving on, lots of kelp and coralline algae, but few lobsters. Found a nice octopus looking out of his hole inquisitively. Took my glove off and moved in, he decided to grab on and try to pull me in. Quite a grip on such a small octopus! Got my hand in pretty far before realizing he wasn’t coming out, so pulled out. Moving in towards boat, found a good sized crack with a nice lobster in it. Henry came over, I went to the second exit, and then he pulled out a busted pole spear and started using it to poke the lobster. Lobster came in reach, I grabbed and bagged it. Hmm… Later on boat, decided to toss it back in the water. Thrill of the catch and all. Other nice sights were a number of small lobster, lots of garibaldi, sheepshead, rockfish, a beautiful purple cabezon hiding in the coralline algae. Found the anchor, hung around another 10 minutes and surfaced at the boat.

Dive #325, 11/6/2005
Rat Rock, Anacapa Island, CA
?? vis, 59 min @ 59′

Moved to the west tip of Anacapa for the last two dives. Great conditions here, much better visibility than the other sites we’ve done, awesome topography too. Lots of huge boulders, short walls, crags and cuts and tiny caves and swim throughs. Poor encrusting life, just a lot of urchins with a couple stands of kelp. Awesome fish life, though. Big schools of blacksmith, senoritas, lots of sheepshead, seabass milling about, more garibaldi than I’ve seen trucking around chasing other fish off, very busy dive site. Lots of treefish, found a couple juveniles too, some nice macro stuff with a number of sea hares and small fish. Spent most of the dive shooting fish and some very dense gorgonians, camera fogged up most of the way through. Had it dangling, a garibaldi took an interest in it, repeatedly swimming right up to the strobe and either staring transfixed at the focus light, or biting the metal screws for the diffuser. Wonder if they see their reflection there. Back to the boat and surfaced with the kelp and blacksmiths, beautiful.

Dive #326, 11/6/2005
Rat Rock, Anacapa Island, CA
50′ vis, 40 min @ 37′

Quickie repeat dive in the awesome scenery at Anacapa. Went east rather than west this time, some very cool sights despite the time constraints put on us by the rew. Saw a harbor seal at the bottom while descending, he was just passing through and didn’t want to play. Moving east, found a nice 15′ wall that went on for a while. Cloud of senoritas, a couple garibaldi, and sheepshead picking the flesh off a scallop shell that had been taken by a diver. Garibaldi vigorously defending the find without much success. Heading further, found several sea hares and spanish shawls, nice. Ha to turn in short order, on the way back noticed a small swimthrough at the wall and went in, tricky maneuvering through and had to rotate the tank several times, need to practice that stuff. More garibaldi, sheepshead and other fish. Found a juvenile treefish, watched him for a minute before noticing a good sized octopus in plain view right behind him. Reached hand in but didn’t want to play, just took light out and watched for a few minutes, cool. Was right below line so stayed til the designated time, came up for a stop and surfaced. Nice way to end the trip.

Dive #327, 11/16/2005
West Butterfly, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 63 min @ 83′

Extremely nice dive at Outer Butterfly. Upper layer of water extremely clear, somewhat stirred up on bottom w/sand (storms over the weekend, but totally flat now in mid-week) but still extremely nice vis and lots of light coming down. Great spot, went along a series of small pinnacles, lots of walls, crevices, several small swimthroughs (did not try going through), all coated with lots and lots of extremely nice hydrocoral. Many of the largest and most beautiful formations I’ve seen anywhere around Carmel. Most of the dive was just going around absorbing the color and taking shots of the hydrocoral. A number of fish about, some gophers, several kelp greenlings that kept their distance. Saw a nice red sculpin eating a shrimp, had it in the mouth slowly swallowing, while swimming around trying to get away from me (argh). Towards the end, came back to some kelp to follow up, found a huge shoal of blues and yellowtails huddled under a few plants, hundreds of individuals. Beautiful.

Dive #328, 11/16/2005
Outer Butterfly Kelp, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 54 min @ 74′

Nice dive at Outer Butterfly. Towards the north of the big kelp field, vis not so good as last dive but some nice sights nonetheless. Went along a short wall, across and around a big rock, then came back. Saw a nice treefish out in the open (retreated quickly), several good sized ling cod, a lot of gophers and other rockfish, some unusual ones, maybe a canary. Some good invertebrates, lots of dorids, some very nice hydrocoral, heart crabs, nice abezon being chased by kelp greenlings, decorators, and on. Problem at the beginning trying to use my reel, itw as already tangled somewhat at the beginning of the dive and lost a couple orings and washers taking it apart to fix it, got the line back together in a few minutes but didn’t use it onwards.

Dive #329, 11/16/2005
Butterfly 3, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 64 min @ 64′

Very nice dive, once again at Outer Butterfly. Back to a nice pinnacle in the kelp, cool narrow crevice on the north side, just navigated around the rock and checked out a couple nearby ones. Lots more nice hydrocoral (really is a great spot for this stuff), gold ring top snails, nudibranchs, decorator crabs, some nice little hydroids, lots of rockfish and on. A nice ling cod sitting on a ledge, pus a very pretty green and white cabezon resting on a nice patch of hydrocoral, would swim away occasionally but came right back in a few minutes. A kelp greenling up on top of the pinnacle at 30′ was neat, would dart around but came pretty close if I didn’t look directly at it, nice shot. Up shallow, lots of small blues hanging just below the canopy in 5′ of water. So clear, with sunlight streaming down and rippling off their backs. Amazing the life down here.

Dive #330, 11/16/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 60 min @ 43′

OK night dive at the Breakwater. Went out on the sand, back on the wall, spending a few minutes in the red stringy stuff. Best sights were a bunch of giant dendronotids in the sand. Saw at least 6, a few very large, beautiful and pink. The wall had a big red brotula, big gunnel, lots of rockfish, several huge ugly decorator crabs, not a whole lot else. Very weird white worm thing in the stringy stuff, didn’t respond to touch, weird.

Dive #331, 11/17/2005
Lobos Rocks, Big Sur, CA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 45′

AWESOME way cool dive at Lobos Rocks. The rocks are about 1/3 mile off Soberanes point, launched the kayak just north of the point at a beach of baseball and basketball sized rocks. Nice paddle out, as I got to the rocks could see the star attraction, all the sea lions just covering the rocks. Many in the water popping up, diving down, breaking the surface in all kinds of formations. One big group all poking their heads out looking at me. Some difficulty finding a good place to anchor, the walls drop straight down to 100′ on pretty much all sides of the rocks. Ended up tethering 50′ of line to the BC at the surface and descending down the wall. Saw sea lions immediately, and within a minute of descending the pack came by. Over 20 sea lions, flying by so close together, like a solid wall, awesome. Many individuals streaming by, would either do a quick pass, come in close and look at me, blow bubbles, do crazy contortions and hold them, so playful! Awesome! Would disappear after a minute, only to reappear a couple minutes later. While the pack only appeared in the first 10-15 minutes, saw many many individuals throughout the dive, hardly even any time to recover. Just a way cool experience, tons of adrenalin. Site itself has real potential too, caked with corynactis, lots of starfish, and some hydrocoral. Stayed on the inside channel on the W side, protected but a N current making movement difficult. Of course, at this site the sights come to you. Hung out at a short stretch of the wall. Came up to a shallow area, but some incredible surge, even in such a light swell, it gets magnified hitting the wall and squeezing through such a small space. Got out, back to the wall, and surfaced at the end of the channel. Cool.

Dive #332, 11/17/2005
Soberanes Wall, Big Sur, CA
30′ vis, 62 min @ 87′

Another way cool dive at Soberanes Point. The wall here is really dramatic, top at 40′ and going down to 150′ on the outside. Very exposed location both to the swells and the longshore currents; a definite N current was at the site, probably 1/2 kt or a bit less, but the kelp on top of the rocks only came up to 20′ below the surface, really being pushed. Anchored OK and set out the current line, followed it mostly hand over hand down to the top of the wall. Spent most of the dive at 70-80′, making my way along the top and sides of the wall and nearby pinnacles. While the vis wasn’t so hot, some plankton in the water, the life at this site is fantasic. Great fish life! A big school of big blue rockfish and yellowtails escorted me for most of the dive, way cool. Saw several ling cod, two huge vermilions, a nice supermale sheephead, one large female sheephead, lots of gophers and other types of rockfish. Invertebrate life also fantastic. Mostly corynactis, lots of barnacles, some nice big bunches of hydrocoral, lots of small sculpins and on. The density and vibrancy all around is just great. Ascent on the kelp until I ran out of it at 30′, then free ascent to stop under the kayak and surface.

Dive #333, 11/17/2005
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 48 min @ 49′

Group dive with Jarod from the MBDC and several other folks. Walked down from the shop, swam out and dropped in 20′ at the pipe, went out to the Metridiums and back. Very neat dive visually, great visibility with lots of lights in the background (six divers total) and Metridium that would just glow white in the light, awesome sights. Much of the dive was keeping track of everyone else and watching the lights, so didn’t catch too much small stuff. Best was a nice octopus in the open at the beginning of the dive. Flared up, very red, stayed that way for a minute before finding a hole and doing a rock imitation. Also, a way cool chain of siphonophores or something at the surface before descending, orange bits but mostly transparent, maybe a foot long and very pretty. Other stuff was a small octopus with just his head sticking out of a hole, and lots of small cusk eels with a couple big ones.

Dive #334, 11/18/2005
South Malpaso 4, Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 59 min @ 85′

Very cool dive on a pinnacle about 1.2 miles north of the launch at Soberanes. Top is about 50′, stayed on the north side which went down to 100’+. No surface current, light current in midwater, no current on bottom, interesting. Got down to the pinnacle, went back and forth slowly making my way up to the top. Like the other big sur sights, great fish life. Lots of blues down to 80′, yellowtails, gophers, greenlings, nice cabezon missing a cirrus, odd. Lots of palm kelp with corynactis, hydrocoral, barnacles, all the encrusting life expected at sites like this. Some fishing line on the pinnacle, had to cut some line to free up the anchor, probably not too many people diving this nice pinnacle.

Dive #335, 11/18/2005
Malpaso Kelp, Big Sur, CA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 72′

Awesome dive in a beautiful kelp forest. SI after the previous dive was spent on the water, when I tried to land in a nearby south facing channel, big swells came around the corner and started tossing me and the kayak around. Kayak flipped, but managed to get it out of the channel, cback over, and way the hell out of there. Some pinholes in the BC, no other damage fortunately. Anyways, went out in the kelp, swapped tanks and dove. Most of the dive was spent along a nice 15-20′ wall, very narrow channel in places and wide open in others. Towards end found another wall going down to ~100′, very steep with other pinnacles nearby, altogether really dramatic topography, nice. Fish life outstanding. Felt like a celebrity with all the attention; blues following me throughout the dive, gopher rockfish looking at me intently, big vermilion following me around for a while. Some ling cod and kelp greenlings (lots of females around) even seemed curious. Lots of nice life hiding in the walls. Best were two young wolf eels hiding in crevices, one female a golden color, very beautiful hue and cool fish. Also, two small red brotula in crevices, a small sailfin sculpin with one of the eels, a hopkins rose, heart crabs, on and on. Big kelp bed here, will have to do a lot of exploring when the weather is nice.

Dive #336, 11/18/2005
Lobos Rocks, Big Sur, CA
20′ vis, 32 min @ 82′

Kind of crazy disoriented return to Lobos Rocks. Bigger surf than yesterday, couldn’t go in next to the W rock like yesterday. Clipped to some kelp to the south, dropped 100′ of line and went towards the east rock. Getting closer, the sea lions started showing up, groups of 8-10 and many individuals buzzing me, not staying too long except one inquisitive young male but great nonetheless. Poor visibility complicated things, was in a channel near the rock when the kayak swung around into some small wash rocks S of the main rock. Felt the resistance, surfaced quickly from 20′ and the kayak was ok but on the other side of the rocks. Got through ok, line wasn’t caught on anything so could return with a deeper appreciation of the ocean’s power.

Dive #337, 11/18/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 63 min @ 57′

Very cool night dive at North Monastery. Went down right at the kelp, made it out part of the way along the wall at 50′, then returned. Dive was all about a nice big harbor seal that used my light to hunt pretty much the entire dive. Lots of fun watching him hunt, would sneak up behind fish in their blind spots, then try to get them. Some he would chase for a while, winding around the reef, going under rocks and around kelp, cool. Had some success taking pictures, most of the time he was looking away but would frequently pass very close. A couple times, he actually crashed into me, once into my fins and another squirming right under me after a fish. Kept going all the time I was in the water, even in a few feet as I was getting out. Cool.

Dive #338, 11/19/2005
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 65′

Very nice dive on the Monastery side of the twin coves. Weather just gorgeous and flat today, no surf going into the coves and water nice and clear. Dropped in 20′, going out to the wall and following it at 60′ before turning and returning at 50′. Nice fish, had several lings, a big cabezon hiding in a crevice, lots of greenlings including several very pretty female kelp greenlings, a bright red juvenile kelp greenling, and of course lots of rockfish. Odd sightings were three big decorator crabs in different parts of the reef, all chewing on a blue sunflower starfish arm — wonder if it had died and they were scavenging, or if they ganged up on it? Also, a guy went out freediving while I was there and once popped down to me at 50′ to say high — great. New sight were a bunch of carpets of tiny (1mm) orange tunicates — some on top of big rocks, many at 15′ in the kelp beds. Beautiful hue.

Dive #339, 11/19/2005
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 64 min @ 61′

Another very nice, rather different dive on the other side of the twin coves. Went down in 30′, followed the reef edge down to 60′ or so, checking out the densely encrusted islands sticking out of the sand. Came back shallower. Some areas here with lots of huge, rounded boulders with many tiny caves and swim-(maybe)-throughs to check out. Vis seemed better than the last dive (maybe from being out of the kelp), it was just beautiful hanging out around the boulders and watching all the blue rockfish overhead. Nice… Nice fish including two crevice kelpfish, a juvenile kelp greenling, numerous other kelp greenlings and rockfish. Unusually good encrusting life at this site (for a shore dive), some outcroppings and boulders caked with corynactis. And, as usual, the twin coves nudibranch convention. Out on the islands saw 6-8 spanish shawls in a small area, very cool as usual. What was surprising was the number of Hopkinds roses — saw four right next to one another in one spot, with several more in the immediate vicinity. Very neat.

Dive #340, 11/23/2005
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 71 min @ 49′

Great night dive mostly in the Breakwater sand. Dropped on the pipe, followed it out to the fields, explored there a while, then came back at a diagonal to find the BW wall just before surfacing. Interesting life out, lots of things I haven’t seen before or only rarely have. Highlight was a big comb jelly, 4+ inches long: mouth thing at the end, several rows of cilia beating and making multicolored rainbows of light, beautiful. Nearly transparent, covered with semi-translucent brownish tubercles. Three octopus, two hid in a hole right after spotting them, last was a very cool little guy out at the fields. Was working to open a clam, but a sunflower star was motoring through and he was trying to get out of the way. Ended up dropping the clam, which the starfish got (d’oh), and shifted around almost pouting for a few minutes afterwards. Several very small (1 inch) plainfin midshipman hovering off bottom, would swim down and bury themselves as I approached. Huge variety of shrimp, lots I’ve seen before but a couple striped/hairy/translucent tiny ones I haven’t, neat. Good variety of sculpin, several snubnose and other small ones, a couple larger red/black striped with white. Lots of stuff in midwater, needlefish and numerous worms swimming around, white or yellow with many segments and cilia, crazy undulations. Nice crab sightins round things out, a couple red rocks, sheep crab, big decorators, numerous tiny decorators, longhorns, lots of nice hermit crabs, some pretty big. Well, just a great critter dive I guess.

Dive #341, 11/24/2005
Outer Pinnacles, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 60 min @ 77′

Great dive off the Silver Prince. No one showed up at the MBDC yesterday (confusion around Thanksgiving I guess), with both my 80s in there couldn’t really dive but had a great time kayaking from Whaler’s cove to Yankee Point and back, about 9 miles RT. So, got invited on a fun dive off the Silver Prince today, with just shop employees and friends. Motored south to the Pinnacles for one dive (Thanksgiving and all). Dive itself was on a very nice blocklike pinnacle, top at 50′ and bottom at 90′ or so. Many other formations nearby, but just circumnavigated the pinnacle at 70′ before slowly winding up. Wonderful hydrocoral here, many big formations and dense clusters, all under a canopy of palm kelp to make getting around nice and easy. Some excellent sights, best was a nice wolf eel poking his head out of a hole, with another crevice letting me see his whole body. A pretty red brotula in another hole, this one was almost curious and nearly came out when I backed off several feet. Several cowries, several china rockfish, lots of lemonpeel dorids, one nice male scalyhead sculpin, looked almost like a fringehead.

Dive #342, 12/4/2005
Eric’s Pinnacle, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 56 min @ 57′

Kind of lousy dive at Eric’s. Problem here was the serious wind topside blowing from the NE — took nearly 40 minutes to paddle the .6 miles over from Coral St, whitecaps everywhere and needed to keep the boat pointed into the wind. Got to the pinnacle, dropped to the west, but could only explore the west side of the pinnacle due to the anchor line, kind of lousy scenery compared to the other parts. Spent 20 minutes on the pinnacle, then off to the kelp forest, which was largely driven underwater by the wind. More lessons in aggravation, line kep getting caught on kelp and difficult time making much forward progress. Argh. Saw some stuff, lots of anemones I guess, kelp greenlings, rockfish, the usual stuff. Surfaced and paddled back in 10 minutes, zippy with the wind at my heel.

Dive #343, 12/4/2005
Outer Outer Chase, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 56 min @ 78′

Awesome dive at a very nice offshore pinnacle west of Ballbuster. Bottom is at 90′ or so, top at 50′. Very sharp top, lots of corynactis near the top, plenty of dense groups of metridium along the sides. Fantastic fish life here. Pinnacle was enveloped with blues and yellowtails, several hundred forming a cloud of fish looking up and around the pinnacle. Several chinas, some grass (one came right up to stare at me). 3 good sized treefish hanging out, defending their cracks and chasing off other fish. One beautiful juvenile treefish, very nice. Best was all the sheephead on the rock. One big supermale which never came in close but spotted several times, plus probably a dozen or more good sized females, going around and eating, generally ignoring me. Very cool. Spent the whole dive wandering about the pinnacle, soaking in the fish life. Coming up, the wind had died down considerably (it was already trending down at the beginning of the dive), making for a nice paddle back in. Lots of other tiny pinnacles in this area, will have to do more exploring and hoping for more great clear vis.

Dive #344, 12/4/2005
Aumentos, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 67 min @ 64′

Pretty nice photo dive at Aumentos. Was a good bit more stirred up here than at the last pinnacle, kind of disappointing. Went around the north side of the rock, then down to the east, checking out a number of rocks before coming up. Short period swell very annoying, but some nice sights: a good sized dark ling cod, a good sized cabezon who let me take a bunch of close in photos without budging (thanks!), greenlings and rockfish and on.

Dive #345, 12/4/2005
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 71 min @ 43′

Great little BW night dive. Highlight was right at the beginning: a huge sailfin sculpin out in the torn up kelp and tube anemones. Very pregnant with a red, distended belly, flitting around every several seconds, sometimes swimming right at me, cute little nonchalant gal. Followed her for about 10 minutes until she found a crevice in the wall and swam in. Continued along nthe base of the wall, several red dendronotids here, cusk eel, juvenile canary rockfish swimming around biting at tube anemones, weird. Turned and headed back along wall. Several gunnels, a red brotula, the usual rockfish and crabs. One big white red rock crab, very nice. Coolest sight though was a very weird nudibranch, teal color with lots of little white circles on it. Was sitting there when I found it but started crawling around pretty good once I started taking photos.

Camera on this dive was fogging up, had a little bit of water intrusion during the last dive from a bump. Good shots of the sailfin, then fog, but after taking several shots of the nudi it pretty much cleared up, interesting.

Dive #346, 12/5/2005
East Pinnacle, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 63 min @ 74′

Beautiful clear blue water dive out of Stillwater to the East Pinnacles (about a 30 minute paddle). Water very clear with minimum suspended particulates, top to bottom. Nice cloud of blues hanging out over the pinnacle (top at 50′, bottom at 100′), wonderful to look up through the sparse kelp with them hovering, sun shining through. Pinnacle is extremely nice. Many bunches of hydrocoral, some individuals among the largest I’ve seen, beautiful big pink and purple bunches. Lots of corynactis and barnacles and the usual encrusting life, very dense in parts here. Nicer sights were a nice juvenile treefish in a crack, fairly large compared to others I’ve seen recently, many sculpin of various types, a good sized ling cod, lots of kelp greenlings and painted and so on. Some good dorids, lemon peels and san diego. Towards end of the dive, went southwest to another, smaller pinnacle, some extremely nice hydrocoral on the east and west sides, have to make sure to get over here in future.

Small amount of aggravation with line tangling, got it wrapped around my tank valve and did not fix until surfacing, more tangles getting everything sorted out.

Dive #347, 12/5/2005
Lingcod Reef, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 52 min @ 82′

At least I think this is lingcod reef. Good sized kelp forest inshore of the east pinnacles. Edge of forest is at 80′, spent the dive pretty squarely at 75′ or so. Not a lot of relief on the botto, some big rocks and small ridges, but lots of life sticking in the cracks. Had some good fish life, blues showed up early in the dive to hang around, a small lingcod (lingcod reef!) near the beginning, more kelp greenlings and so forth. Continued great visibility, could see for quite aways, neat looking up to see all the kelp sticking straight up in a proper forest. Two awesome sights on this dive. First, a young sea lion showed up early, zipping past looking at me a few feet away several times. Could turn over and watch him swimming up to the surface, great. Second, gotwards the end of the dive, I was going by a ridge and a 3-4′ wolf eel came out of his hole and went free swimming just a few feet away. Followed him for a bit. A kelp greenling stared chasing him around, then he took off after something like an eel possessed, weird. Dive plan was fairly simple, went west for a bit, back east, in to the north, then back. Slow ascent, hung out in the canopy, beautiful, surfaced very close to the boat.

Dive #348, 12/5/2005
Pescadero Rock, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 63 min @ 67′

Another very nice dive at the wash rock off Pescadero Point. Kelp anchored in 60′ on the SW side of the rock, swam a quick bit to a cool 20′ vertical wall, followed that around to the SE side of the rock and came back. Still very clear water, yay, life generally not as good as other spots but still quite nice. Interesting stuff was a very thick cloud of blues at the base, being very active doing I-don’t-know-what (all those mysteries). Lots more dorids, anemones, rockfish, greenlings. Some hydrocoral at 50′ to the SW, nice. Camera still fogging up even after a thorough drying, annoying… got some WA shots but missed after that.

Dive #349, 12/6/2005
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 60 min @ 124′

Extremely nice dive at North Monastery. Kayaked over from south, dropped on the edge of the kelp on the outer side of the wash rock. Right below the boat was a big school of blues. With the clear water and morning sun, was absolutely gorgeous to watch them swimming around, sunlight shining through the water and playing off their backs and the kelp. Spent about 10 minutes without going deeper than 25′. Then went deep down the wall. Wanted to (briefly) check out a (slightly) deeper part of the wall. Saw some rosy rockfish for the first time, cool, vermilion, was taking photos and remembered my housing is only rated to 100′, d’oh. Hurried back up, lots of fish out on the wall — more young rosy rockfish, coppers, grass, and on. Some blacksmith mixed in with the blues. Slowly made my way back up to the shallows, checking out some tiny caves made by boulders, the base of the wash rock. Swam back into the kelp, bid the blues adieu, and surfaced.

Dive #350, 12/6/2005
Mono Lobo 3, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 58 min @ 69′

Very nice dive at Mono Lobo. Biggest pinnacle here, top is at 20′, bottom at 60′. Went down and west, following a small wall around and back to surface at the kayak. Highlighs were a sea lion zooming by, and a harbor seal that made several passes fairly close by, twisting around looking for food. Otherwise, the usual suspects, good terrain, good fish, some nice hydrocoral in the shallows.

Between this and the next dive, something (the seals?) was driving a school of anchovy up to the surface, and the gulls were going nuts. Could reach in and scoop them out of the water, fun.

Dive #351, 12/6/2005
Mono Lobo 2, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 55 min @ 56′

Did this dive close to Mono Lobo 2. Bulk of dive was lazily swimming around a nearby pinnacle photographing stuff. Lots of light shining down through the kelp canopy, fun to play with natural light and got some nice shots. Highlight again here were all the seals about: saw several individuals out hunting, tried to approach but they didn’t want anything to do with me. Finally, right near the end of the dive a young, very dark seal came up and started spinning around and looking at me just a few feet away. Awesome! Very cool little guy, swam over and lay in a crack, coming out when I got closer. Lots of fun.

Dive #352, 12/10/2005
Local’s Ledge, Pebble Beach, CA
35′ vis, 58 min @ 82′

Very nice but surgy dive at Local’s. Found the highpoint of the south pinnacle, only about 10ft below the surface, clipped to some bull kelp to stay put before dropping and doing the dive tethered. Stayed in the channel between the two pinnacles at first, then crossed to the north one, doing a slow counterclockwise trip around before crossing the channel again and surfacing. Lots of extremely nice hydrocoral, barnacles, great encrusting life as usual. Clear base, with some crud suspended due to the strong surge, but lots of light getting down and didn’t need the light cannon that much. Sights included a lot of kelp greenlings out and about, the males being very bold and swimming right up (before realizing you’re a diver and darting off), it’s mating season I guess. Also, a tiny red copepod swimming around some hydrocoral, lots of scalyhead sculpin (very pretty), a young brown ling cod that was almost swept into me by the surge, blue rockfish and on. Several other divers showed up in a boat shortly after I surfaced, they probably had a longer boat ride than my paddle.

Dive #353, 12/10/2005
Local’s Kelp, Pebble Beach, CA
30′ vis, 54 min @ 77′

Just dove a random spot in the kelp forest west of the wash rock near Local’s Ledge, on the outside. This was a kind of cool and crazy dive. The terrain here is kind of like the huge pinnacle fields on the outside: all angles, packed with structure and relief, making it hard to navigate (especially with the surge) so did not stray too far from where I dropped down. Highlights of the dive were a group of young sea lions. Got buzzed by about 5 about 2/3 of the way through. Again, at the safety stop was just hanging out with a nice cloud of blues. Suddently, all the blues dart away, then a sea lion comes into view, looks me over, then takes off, the blues returning just a few seconds later, hah. Other nice stuff was a lot of kelp greenlings, including some beautiful females. Cracks in the rocks just filled with life. Lots of crabs, especially, some big heart crabs, tons of hermits with some crevices containing dozens. Overall, very vibrant and active forest, nice.

Dive #354, 12/10/2005
North Cypress 7, Pebble Beach, CA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 87′

Another nice but surgy dive at Cypress Point. This was on a new pinnacle for me, a nice big one with steeply terraced sides, lots of cracks, walls, cuts making for fun exploration. Life itself not as dense as some other spots, but still some nice stuff: some good hydrocoral, lots of bryozoans, metridiums on the east side, and on. Lots of blues that started following me about 1/2 way through the dive. Tied off the kayak at 60′ partway through to explore the east side of the giant pinnacle, got back OK. Couple issues on this dive: first, surge was bad enough that with the exposed locations depth could rapidly change by 8-10′ in a few seconds, not good for bubbles and requires close breathing control. Second, doing the dive on air sent me up against NDLs fairly quickly. Rode the curve up the pinnacle but still ended up with about 2 min deco (stayed for a good while longer, was right on top of the pinnacle and not going anywhere).

Dive #355, 12/15/2005
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 61 min @ 54′

Nice night dive at the Metridium fields. Followed the pipe out, then east for a while before turning south and eventually hitting the wall right after it gets shallow. Kind of lousy vis, in a couple spots it was stirred up down to just a few feet. Very localized, pretty sure it’s due to bat rays feeding. Second time it happened I came across a small bat ray and got a good look as it swam off. A small octopus out in the sand (couldn’t linger to watch as I was keen on getting closer to shore), lots of small sculpins and tiny rockfish, more inch long plainfin midshipmen, a HUGE sunflower star — 4ft or more across, cusk eels as usual, a big red ling hanging back pretty far at the end of the pipe, along with hundreds of shrimp with eyes reflecting back at me. Nice dive.

Dive #356, 12/16/2005
Outer Pinnacles 1, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 62 min @ 84′

First time at the outer pinnacles on my kayak. There was actually a pretty good swell today. Some surf at stillwater, a few guys were going out in a tiny metal rowboat through the surf, helped them get out ok. Was here yesterday in similar conditions and somewhat worried about the swell, ended up just kayaking up and around Cypress point, turned and headed back at point joe.

Anyways, despite the similar conditions today, decided to give it a go, and things turned out quite nice, surge at depth wasn’t so bad. Tied to some kelp about 150′ SW of the pinnacle, tethered and unclipped at the surface, followed the line down (which had wrapped around the kelp a bit, eventually it worked itself free) and headed up to the pinnacle. Beautiful dive, this area and pinnacle are extremely nice. Great hydrocoral, lots of palm kelp, cowries, decorator crabs, sculpin. All this the usual stufff, but it’s so wonderful to just go down and drink up the color and the life. Found the wolf eeel I spotted here a few weeks back in the same hole, cute little guy and hope he sticks around. Meandered around the base of the pinnacle awhile before slowly following it up and getting off for a drift stop. Some surface current running from the NW, took me towards some bent down kelp where a lot of blues came in to take a look, cute.

Dive #357, 12/16/2005
Sunset Point Kelp, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 58 min @ 67′

Nice followup dive to the Outer Pinnacles in a forest south of Sunset point (between Pescadero and Cypress point). Not amazing topo here but still very nice, more interesting than the stuff to the east with lots of ridges to follow and look under for critters. Some good hydrocoral in a few surge channels to the west of the boat. Ended up doing several out-and-backs in different directions, never going too far from the boat — vaguely worried about surface currents which turned out to be a non-issue, and surfaced right on the kayak. Cool sights included a lot of sheephead — one big male and numerous females right under the boat, pretty friendly too, several ling cod, a tritonia festiva and numerous dorids. Found one crack with five abalone in it, including two would-be-legals, tasty snails, and a few smaller abs nearby. Lots of blues at the stop.

Dive #358, 12/16/2005
Pescadero Arch, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 65 min @ 79′

Successful recon dive to find the arch/swimthrough at Pescadero point. Started south of the wash rock in 70′, went west a few minutes and hit a nice wall from 40′ down to 70’+, followed that south a while until it broke up, went back north and shortly after passing where I’d started found the arch. One rock is pressed right against the wall but leaves a 5′ x 10′ or so area to swim between the two. Lots of fun to ride the surge in and out. After checking that out, continued following the wall further north as it bent around, eventually cutting back over to the arch again to finish the dive and get coordinates off the kayak (clipped stuff to kelp and quickly swam the couple hundred feet to the kayak). Good life on the wall and in surrounding area, saw a nice treefish, couple sheephead, lots of crabs and inverts and so forth.

Dive #359, 1/8/2006
Carmel Pt Pinnacle 3, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 51 min @ 106′

Nice dive south of Carmel point, first dive in 3 weeks due to all the storms over winter break. Paddled about 1 mile north from South Monastery into a decent wind. Pinnacle’s top is at 60′, bottom at 100’+. Hooked the pinnacle the first time, went down to the base then went up and around slowly. Nice fish including lots of blues, a couple big lings, vermilion, yellowtail rockfish, lots of kelp greenlings and sculpin and on. The usual invertebrates, cowries, some hydrocoral, strawberries, nice sight was a group of yellow zoanthids near the top of the pinnacle, unusual. Problem with the dive was I was using air, ran into deco after only about 25 minutes, and had about 5 minutes of deco racked up by the time I started my ascent after 35 minutes, 15 minutes to surface. ARgh. air sucks. Nice big sea lion came by to check me out near end of the dive.

Dive #360, 1/8/2006
North Monastery wall, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 57 min @ 116′

Paddled back and did a dive on the North Monastery wall. Fair amount of swell up top and most of the kelp that was here a month ago was torn away, only a couple places thick enough to kelp anchor to. Fairly milky vis near surface, cleared up a bit around 60′ or so. Kept going to the top of the wall and down a bit to look around. Nice lone gorgonian, very pretty red color, some rockfish I didn’t recognize, an odd, shy gunnel-like fish, gray and green coloration but a blunt head, didn’t recognize it. Came up shallower as I quickly got close to NDL (air again, dammit), but ran into deco again around 80′. Went up and along at 60′ looking at stuff, came back, went shallower but still ended up with about 7 minutes of deco, stupid air. Nice sights include a small ling cod, lots of mating painted greenlings (very different coloration and behavior, some tiny red/orange dorids hiding on some red/orange sponges, small spirals of red/orange eggs nearby. Got that camoglauge thing down I see. Large harbor seal at edge of visibility on wall.

Dive #361, 1/8/2006
Mono Lobo 3, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 62 min @ 65′

Very nice macro dive at Mono Lobo. Nice pinnacle, top at 15′, bottom at 60′ or so. Checked out the north side of the pinnacle, criss-crossing at several depths before finally ascending. Nice little cockerell’s dorid (white with orange protuberances) I think, more tiny red/orange dorids, lots of tiny purple-ringed topsnails, some covering a lacy byrozoan, lots of shrimp and some unusual crabs, hermits, heart crabs, ones I couldn’t see too well, lots of painted greenlings and small sculpin, pretty green cabezon, another gray/green gunnel, on and on. Many large abalone in a couple cracks. Nice and relaxing dive.

Dive #362, 1/9/2006
Inner Pinnacles 4, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 57 min @ 88′

Great dive, first time at the inner pinnacles. Went down on the south side of the pinnacles (enough swell that waves were breaking further north), top at 20′, bottom at 80-90′ and a very steep drop. Checked out the base first for 10-15 minutes, several gorgeous female kelp greenlings, a fair amount of hydrocoral and other encrusting life, vermilion. Then went south to another smaller pinnacle somewhat more exposed. Top at 55′, bottom at 90′. Denser life here, lots of hydrocoral and palm kelp covering, nice. A couple big ling cod, relatively tolerant of me, must be getting to be mating time for all the *ling*’s. Made my way around and up, the usual gorgeous life. Nice tiny wolf eel in a crack at the top of the pinnacle, very shy and could barely see him. Swam in midwater back to the larger pinnacle, hung out away but in sight of it to avoid getting thrown up and down by the surge.

Dive #363, 1/9/2006
East Pinnacles, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 86′

Kind of screwy but ultimately good dive at the East pinnacles. Had wanted to do a wall up in the kelp beds for my 2nd dive but forgot to upload the coordinates to my GPS, grr… Not like the east pinnacles suck or anything. Paddled over, hooked, swapped tanks and ate, found that I had unhooked and had drifted 500′ east. Pulled the line up, paddled back, dropped the line, started drifting again, paddled back, live drop over the pinnacle, found a big bird’s nest of anchor line and the anchor weight nowhere near the bottom, argh. Took 4 or 5 minutes to untangle the line down to a little clump which I ignored, then went the rest of the way down and managed to find the pinnacle without difficulty. Looked at all the pretty hydrocoral, greenlings, a couple ling cod, on and on. Nice little rosy rockfish hiding in a crack at 75′ or so. Found a few kelp plants that were actually still alive (all that’s left of the kelp I saw last time I was here are some torn up fragments wedged between rocks) with a lot of blues and yellows hanging out. Nice long ascent with those guys, quickly untangled the clump. Some blues trying to eat the anchor line, funny little guys. Ok, lesson: be careful with how the anchor line gets brought up when rehooking. Fairly easy to get it tangled on itself by crossing lines repeatedly. Finesse and care.

Dive #364, 1/9/2006
Pescadero Rock, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 74 min @ 87′

Another very nice dive, old favorite at the Pescadero rock. Not as much color here, but still tons of life. Went around the south face of the rock to the deep wedge cut in on the east side, turned around and headed back for some more exploring, going up the wall and then back out to surface about 100′ from the kayak (d’oh). Great life: on the way out saw lots of rockfish, with a lot of blacks and one big vermilion, greenlings, etc., fish eating anemone chowing down on a starfish, nice, several heart crabs, with one out in the open and a BIG one near the end. Some cracks with lots of small abalone, fair number of crabs, too. Best sights were at the end. First, a pair of large decorator crabs fighting each other. Would go up to each other and slowly spar/faceoff. Then would suddenly erupt in a wild flailing of comically long arms, before quieting down to face off again. Hilarious! Even had a perch come by to gaze on their decorations at one point, jeesh. Second sight was a small sailfin sculpin in a crack, pretty guy and great way to end the dive.

Dive #365, 1/13/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 116′

Very nice shore dive at the twin coves. Went along the east side down to 60′, then followed a ridge in the sand out to 100′, the top of a steep wall going down into the canyon. Lots of rocks, boulders, some very steep sand channels trailing off into the abyss, very cool and kind of creepy. Stayed down until within a couple minutes of NDL, then made my way up and slowly back in. Very nice fish life, several large lings, one on the wall and one in the sand just above it, some big coppers, a good sized school of blues joining me on the wall, many male and female kelp greenlings, a pretty mottled purple cabezon in the shallows. Had a big harbor seal swimming around in the kelp watching me towards the beginning of the dive. Seal followed me up to beach after dive.

Dive #366, 1/13/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 61 min @ 88′

Another cool dive out of the twin coves, this time heading over towards North Monastery. Time on the wall not terribly exciting, found a big cabezon who lazily swam into my hand and ate something right next to me before lazily swimming away, had a couple lings, lots of greenlings, red rock crabs going around, that’s about it. Really picked up around 40′ on the way back, had a couple harbor seals get really interested in me. One was very young and nearly white, kept looking at me from further away but never got too close. Second seal was a larger grey one, very friendly. At first he would go and rest on rocks right in front of me, kept looking at me. As I get in to the stop he kep tsneaking up, once resting right on top of me. Offered my fin and he started playing with the tip. Surfaced, and he kept going for it when I kept my foot still, holding with front paws and mouthing the tip, very curious guy. Both seals kept popping up to look at each other and at me as I swam the rest of the way in.

Dive #367, 1/13/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 61 min @ 55′

Went back on the east side of the coves, this time to check out the shallower stuff and avoid the wall. Great macro stuff. Star of the show was, as usual, the spanish shawls. Out in force today, saw about 20 individuals without really trying. Beautiful little guys, wonder why they’re so prolific here. Many other nudibranchs: two Hopkins roses next to each other on a bryozoan, two tiny adults with a clear body, white stripe down the center and red cerata. Lots of the usual dorids too. Very nice little crevice kelpfish, another kelpfish hiding in some rocks. Beautiful shrimp I hadn’t seen before, striped white and red with iridescent purple spots, spotted it hiding in the latticework of sand constructed by the tube worms. Was blocked from going too far east by declining visibility, still lots of stuff and a great dive.

Dive #368, 1/16/2006
Outer Pinnacles 2, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 85′

Very nice dive out at the pinnacles, surf spiked over the weekend but got very calm within a day, best weather so far this year. So went out pretty far to a new spot at the Outer Pinnacles. Very nice spot, mainly explored two large, parallel ridges, top at 65′ or so and bottom at 90-100′. Tops covered with palm kelp and hydrocoral, very vibrant and colorful gardens, beautiful. Wandered around on top, keeping the kayak from getting tangled in the bits of giant kelp around, making my way down one ridge before crossing the sand channel between them and going to the other one to look around and finish up the dive. Cool things included a swim through on the southeast side of the northern ridge, at about 85′ or so. Pretty wide, but some hydrocoral buds on the bottom and didn’t make the attempt. Besides all the hydrocoral, kelp, and usual encrusting life, saw a fair number of fish, including a nice cloud of blues, some kelp greenlings and a nice green cabezon right at the end. Fairly substantial current running just above the ridges, kelp at a very shallow angle and had to swim decently to keep up — probably more than 1/2 knot. Very nice to do these dives on a tether. By the time I surfaced, had drifted most of the way down to the Canyon lands.

Dive #369, 1/16/2006
Sunset Pt Ridge, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 58 min @ 62′

Awesome rock and kelp forest dive. The ridge here is a wall to the west, about 20′ tall and tapering off to the south. On the east, the top is fairly flat, shallowly sloping down, with numerous boulder and shallow ridges around. As with other spots below Sunset point, topography is very different from other kelp forests in Monterey Bay and Carmel, more ridges than boulders and pinnacles. Dropped on top of the ridge in a pretty good current going W -> E, so followed the kayak down the backside of the ridge looking around. Eventually the current died so headed back west to check out the wall’s top for a while before surfacing. Great sights. Best was a wolf eel pair, small male with head partly out, shined my light in and female was right behind him. Other stuff was several fre swimming ling cod (odd) and some big ones lying down, big female sheephead, kind of curious coming in for a look, several abalone, variable dendronotid, some very active clusters of blues (mating?), lots of kelp and painted greenlings, and of course the blues. Some very nice hydrocoral on the wall, and lots of shallow water hydrocoral (some at 35′) up on top as well.

Dive #370, 1/16/2006
Pescadero Rock, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 64 min @ 76′

Nice dive at Pescadero. Dropped SW of the rock, swam west to the swim through, going through and following the wall south for a while, before returning and checking the main rock and south wall for a bit. Decent sights included a big cockerell’s dorid, could clearly make out the red-fringed cerata and gills, a nice vermilion, greenlings, rockfish, nice heart crab, decorator crabs, the usual.

Dive #371, 1/16/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
12′ vis, 65 min @ 45′

Out and back on the BW wall, first dive here in a bit, nice to get back and do the slow lide in the dark. Nice little smorgasbord of sights. On the way out were a bunch of tiny crabs with long straight shells, a bunch of cylindrical pits, one with a red rock crab at the bottom chowind down on tube worm parts, cusk eels and shrimp and the usual fish. On the way back were a very pretty young treefish, post juvenile but with very vivid coloration, gunnels, a big but shy red brotula, shy monkeyface eel back in a crack, and back in the sand a small octopus (hung out for about 15 seconds before pouring into a hole) and a nice flounder — just the eyes sticking out of the sand, neat little sight. Always great stuff here.

Dive #372, 1/17/2006
Butterfly West, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 60 min @ 83′

Great diving at Outer Butterfly. A little rough topside and with an extremely hight ide, but still no trouble getting out and over to the site. This spot is very nice as always, very clear down below (a little chunky up top, though, limiting light penetration) with tons of hydrocoral and corynactis around. Best sight was a large pipefish, about 12 inches long hovering several feet off the top of a small pinnacle. Easy to mistake for a piece of kelp, but moved in closer and was amazed. It swam right up to my mask, even pecking the lens a couple times (seeing its reflection I guess). Just sat watching it for several minutes, extremely cool to see such a unique creature out here. Other than that, female sheephead, a couple free swimming ling cod, lots of greenlings, some cowries, the usual I guess. Found the big, thick shoal of blues and yellowtails that hangs out here, slowly ascend near them and a few dozen blues split off to go swim next to me, neat. Just as soon as that happened, they darted off, and a few minutes later a nice sea lion came shooting by, hungry I guess.

Dive #373, 1/17/2006
Butterfly 2, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 58 min @ 87′

Another nice dive at Outer Butterfly. Wanted to do the pinnacle here, but a small raft of seabirds was right over it. So kelp anchored a couple hundred feet away, navigated to the pinnacle, did a circumnavigation and navigated back to surface right underneath the kayak. Pretty good sights, nice small nudis with a good sized cockerell’s dorid and a couple Hopkins roses next to one another. Also a red rock crab, some other crabs, the usual nice fish life, good hydrocoral and corynactis. Getting spoiled. Oh, and underwater bird shit looks like a tiny white jellyfish, he he.

Dive #374, 1/17/2006
Butterfly 3, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 61 min @ 72′

Another fun-with-navigation fun dive. Went southeast from the pinnacle I drop on here, crossing a boulder field before coming to a larger, very nice pinnacle. Went around and over this one before crossing back, checking out the smaller pinnacles around there and then surfacing at the kayak. Some neater small stuff includes another Hopkins rose, some aeolids, a crevice kelpfish hiding under an abalone shell (picked it up looking to inspect it and the fish stayed inside! Looked at it a few seconds and then put it back where I found it), a northern clingfish in a crevice. Some grass rockfish with hypnotic black eyes, had to stare down. Towards the end of the dive, turned around and saw a big supermale sheephead cruising right by and then off into the distance, cool guy and a good way to end the dive.

Dive #375, 1/21/2006
Molera Reef 4, Big Sur, CA
15′ vis, 56 min @ 75′

Interesting dive, first time at Andrew Molera state park, about 20 miles south of Carmel. Portage to the water is about 1 mile, took about 2 hours to get all my stuff to the water, launched ok with some wind going out to the spot, a pinnacle in the kelp forest about .8 miles offshore. Top is at about 20′, bottom at 60-80′, with some small walls on the side but a general ‘mound’ shape. Fairly dense invertebrate life, strawberries, some cowries, tiny bits of hydrocoral, nice stuff. Tons of fish, was almost always surrounded by a curtain of blues, staying at the edge of the (cloudy, stirred up) vis. Also, 3 female sheephead, a huge copper, huge vermilion, free swimming ling cod and a nice little cabezon. Dropped a couple hundred feet from the pinnacle, then managed to wander over there and then ascend on it at the end of the dive.

Dive #376, 1/21/2006
Molera Inner Kelp, Big Sur, CA
5′ vis, 50 min @ 49′

Problematic 2nd dive at Andrew Molera. Wind really kicked up since the last dive and did not go out very far. It gets deep very slowly here, though, and at .5 miles out it was still only about 45′ deep. With the serious surge going through, serious water movement and terrible visibility. Just blindly wandered around looking at rocks and sand the whole dive. Some stuff, not much, a pretty crescent kelpfish, painted greenling, that’s about the only fish I saw the dive. The saving grace was a young harbor seal who came along pretty early in the dive, kept sneaking up on me and nibbling my fins. Would turn around and he’d already be gone out of the shit visibility. Came in close to me several times, once resting his head on my light, cute. STayed ’til the end of the dive, then up on top while I packed up the gear. Tough paddle back in, and managed to flip the kayak twice in the surf. Long day I guess.

Dive #377, 1/22/2006
Molera Pinnacle 1, Big Sur, CA
30′ vis, 55 min @ 87′

EXCELLENT dive back out of Andrew Molera park. Felt very gratifying to dare another day down here, drag my tanks down to the water with trees blowing around violently overhead, launch and find the air calm, water flat (well, except for the good old surf entry) and not a cloud in the sky. So…. headed west about 1.8 miles, going through sparse kelp mostly until some open water near the end and more kelp marking the pinnacle itself, which comes up from around 100′ of sand. Dropped on the west side of the pinnacle in about 60′, fairly clear water with lots of blues around. Found a short wall nearby and followed it south for a bit to where it bent west into a vertical-walled canyon about 20′ wide, top at 60′ and bottom around 100′. Nice in here, stayed on the north side at about 80′, looking at lots of gophers and more blues. Some small overhangs on the side, then came to one with natural light at the end. Tied off the kayak, went through the swim through (maybe 10′ wide and 5′ or more tall) to where it opened up on the kelp with several hundred blues overhead. Marvelous! I wonder how many people have swum through that before? Went back and continued down the canyon, still many more fish. Big vermilion, several lings, several female sheephead accompanying a very nice supermale, who swam in a crack where we both watched each other for a minute. Alas, had to start heading up, slowly going to the high point on this part of the rock at 50′. Nice invertebrates up here, big random healthy collection of hydrocoral, bryozoans, strawberries. Saw some cowries and several variable dendronotids earlier as well. Another huge school of blues to watch on my ascent, got up to the surface and was greeted by a fierce west (phew!) wind and some quite large wind waves, so took off back east and into the kelp where the wind died down to almost nothing again. AWESOME.

Dive #378, 1/22/2006
Molera Reef 4, Big Sur, CA
15′ vis, 55 min @ 74′

Another nice dive at Molera, can’t really hold a candle to the last one but that’s ok. Back here in the kelp conditions were pretty quiet, swapped tanks and went diving. Conditions similar to yesterday, pretty crappy, but still a fair amount of fish (not quite as abundant on the south side of the rock) and encrusting inverts. Saw a very pretty treefish, variable dendronotid, the rest of the stuff fairly standard, then made my ascent up the pinnacle and finished to take a much-needed piss.

Dive #379, 2/2/2006
Hopkins Deep, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 65 min @ 83′

Very nice dive at Hopkins. Lousy forecast for today, but it was out of the west and conditions around the BW turned out quite nice. Paddled up to Hopkins and dropped on the reef in about 70′, stayed at 70-80′ throughout the dive. More relief in this area than where I was last time at that spot. Some large rocks covered with Metridiums, about 1/3 in bloom which made for a very nice scene. Good nudibranchs with four spanish shawls, two small clown dorids. Plenty of fish, a nice big treefish, vermilion, a few ling cod, big grass rockfish and the usual painted greenlings and kelp greenlings. Large harbor seal came down in front of me, then slowly swam off after noticing me. Nice.

Dive #380, 2/2/2006
Former Anchor Farm, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 55 min @ 86′

Nice dive at the site formerly known as the anchor farm. Out in the shale beds east of the BW, there used to be several huge anchors and chain lying around here in 80′, but in November or so they disappeared (with lots of broken shale and drag marks) and have not yet been relocated. But the shale itself is neat, first time I’ve been here. Area is mostly just flat shale, but with a number of ridges surrounded by broken up pieces of shale. Lots of nice macro stuff hiding under and around the ridges. Two diamondback tritonia, two good sized clown dorids, several spanish shawls, even two very nice orange peel nudibranchs (first time I recall seeing them in California, neat). A couple big lings, lots of kelp greenlings, some grass rockfish and blues overhead nice.

Dive #381, 2/2/2006
The Barge, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 56 min @ 65′

Interesting dive, off the kayak but just at the barge off the BW. Not a particularly interesting wreck, the barge is wooden so there’s mostly just a long pile of wood and fragments with grass and olive rockfish hiding in and around. Best bit of the dive was early on. Was just minding my business looking over the wreck, when a young otter popped down and started crawling all over my face and head! Almost like he was looking for food, grabbing my mask and probing all over and behind me. Very crazy and cool. After 10-15 seconds he went up, but a couple minutes later came back down, went down to the sand in front of me, then came and grabbed onto my fin, going behind me and back up. Wild! Didn’t see him anymore, ah well. Looking around the wreck for the first 30 minutes of the dive, then off into the sand. Lots of black eye hermits going around, a flounder, not much elese. CAme across a large ??? right before the ascent, and had a quick little show with 6 or so sea lions spinning around in front of me. Saw them leaping around once I got to the surface, too. Cool.

Dive #382, 2/2/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 64 min @ 48′

OK BW night dive. Out on the sand, back on the wall. Sights on the way out included two big red rock crabs, two giant dendronotids on the anemones, juvenile canary rockfish, pipefish swimming right up to me. On the way back, lots of gunnels, couple red brotula, nice ling cod, blacksmith, the usual fish. Saw a large confused shrimp (6″) foraging in the shallows, and lots of anchovy in the water column flashing around above 30′.

Dive #383, 2/3/2006
Granite Point Wall, Point Lobos, CA
30′ vis, 48 min @ 71′

Nice dive with Ericson, first buddy dive I’ve done in a while. Surface swim out to the mouth of Coal Chute cove, follow the wall north for a while, then turned west and crossed the middle reef, eventually coming across the sand channel, turning south and coming up right near the ramp. Nice sights with a couple vermilions, that sheephead which always hangs out in the middle reeef, greenlings and all. Big screwup was putting my finger near a piece of hydrocoral to brace, and have the barnacle I touched fall apart, luckily not damaging the hydrocoral.

Dive #384, 2/3/2006
Cannery Point, Point Lobos, CA
40′ vis, 51 min @ 70′

Another very nice dive at Lobos. This was pretty relaxed, just go out, look around, admire the great vis and head back. Awesome topography in this area, first time in a while I’ve been. Sights included a big brown ling, a couple mating painted greenlings — very cool to watch their dances and colors; one was nearly black, the other had a lot of vivid orange. On the way back in, headed too far to the SE (didn’t want to get stuck on the rocks at the point) and ended up closer to the middle of the reef with a shorp kelp free swim back.

Dive #385, 2/9/2006
Ballbuster, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 60 min @ 97′

Crazy kind of problematic dive. Was delayed in starting today by big surf at Coral St, retreated to Lovers 3 and headed north from there. E wind blowing (died by end of dive), tried twice to hook the pinnacle without success. Out of frustration tried a live drop, messy quick entry and drop about 100′ west of the pinnacle. Came down on the surrounding rocks at 90-100′ with no pinnacle in sight. Wandered around for about 30 minutes before it finally popped out of the gloom, a big relief. Looked around for another 20 minutes before ascending. Some fish around, several vermilions (or one vermilion several times), big ling cod on eggs, fair number of rockfish and a handful of small blues. Red rock crab. Big thing on this dive was just staying calm at depth and making the best of the dive, not too hard given the not-extreme depth and fair amount of decent relief. Some encrusting life on the outer rocks, notably lots of nipple sponges, some small pieces of hydrocoral, but nothing compared to the very nice corynactis, metridiums, and (some) zoanthids on the pinnacle itself.

Dive #386, 2/9/2006
Aumentos, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 59 min @ 60′

Very nice dive at Aumentos. Went around the north side of the rock, then the reef to the south before returning to the rock to finish the dive. Tons of corynactis of all different shades, metridium and barnacles, scallops, very rich encrusting life. Fish sights include another ling cod on eggs, nice cabezon at the beginning, another purple cabezon on top of the rock itself, rockfish and so on. Fair number of crabs, including a small red rock, plus a spanish shawl, nice.

Dive #387, 2/9/2006
Eric’s Pinnacle, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 60 min @ 58′

Yet another nice dive, this time going back from Aumentos to Lovers 3. Went around the outside of Eric’s Pinnacle, east to a few large rocks, then back to ascend slowly on the pinnacle itself. Fish sights include a very pretty juvenile treefish, lots of rockfish, a kelp greenling chasing a tiny rockfish (territory or hungry?), a ling cod on eggs at the way top of the pinnacle (aggressive, moved to block me if I came in to look at the eggs), juvenile kelp greenling in a crack. Usual great encrusting life, more unusual crabs and things. Lots of metridium on a rock away from the pinnacle, neat.

Dive #388, 2/9/2006
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 60 min @ 52′

Cool BW night dive. Dropped in 20′ near the pipe, very clear water is nice. Wandered around, locts of anchovy guys in here, out to 30′ with a nice little octopus foraging. Out further, found the pipe, kept heading out. Came across a tube anemone chowing on a siphonophore trailing off a foot or so, colorful orange glands in a transparent series of orbs. Got out to the metridiums, fully open and almost glowing in the clear water, beautiful. Yet another ling cod on eggs, not too much else. Started heading back in, got disoriented at first and went E rather than S, eventually got straighted out but had to hurry on my way back in. Going back, a number of interesting sculpin, also another cool octopus, this one without a hole to hide in so watched it swim around and change skin texture etc. for a few minutes. Couple small pipefish. Eventually got to 15′ (another small octopus here), and made it in next to the wall. Lots of light coming down from the streetlighs. Turned off my light, could see fine in 8 fsw or so, got surrounded by baitfish faintly shimmering in the light. Very cool.

Dive #389, 2/10/2006
Flintstones, Big Sur, CA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 87′

Awesome dive at Flintstones, first time diving off Yankee Point. Paddled out of the beach at Soberanes pretty early in just a farmer john, quite foggy with waves crashing and many cormorants flying overhead, neat. Reached Yankee Point beach (about 2.5 miles), changed into drysuit and headed .8 miles west to the Flintstone pinnacle. Not much wind, hooked the top easily and then saw how much current there was. Boat and feet were leaving little wakes in the water, measured the current at a little over a knot, but felt plenty fast for me. Deployed current line, got into gear (no easy feat), and hand-over-handed down to the pinnacle’s top at 50′. Spent the dive on the north and east sides of the pinnacle, current went down to the bottom (though not as strong) so spent much of the time pinned to the reef, holding onto palm kelp and looking at the surroundings.

And what surroundings! The pinnacle is principally a palm kelp and hydrocoral garden a la Local’s Ledge and the Outer Pinnacles. The density and vibrancy of the life here, however, is just amazing. Every surface packed with fish, and practically the whole pinnacle enveloped with blue rockfish. A nice seal followed me out and was cruising around most of the dive, carving large swaths as the blues scattered to avoid it. Just wonderful to sit and watch the almost solid clouds swimming about. Many other rockfish, some lings, a cabezon, lots of greenlings, then a good bit of hydrocoral, tons of corynactis, cowries, small sculpins. Just drink it in.

Dive #390, 2/10/2006
South Malpaso 1, Big Sur, CA
35′ vis, 58 min @ 81′

Very nice 2nd dive on the way back from Flintstones. Picked a waypoint at random, turned out to be a very nice little pinnacle, top at 50′ and bottom at 100′. Kelp at the surface, clipped off and dropped weight, descending down that line. Initial aggravation with the line, got twisted around a number of kelp plants and went down to 70′ or so before realizing the problem, forced to come up to around 30′ to sort out the mess. Paranoid with the line after that, but no further problems. Went most of the way around the side of the pinnacle, lots of corynactis, some hydrocoral, giant barnacles, cowries, nudibranchs. Saw a fair number of blues (a few small schools), a couple cabezon, several lings, lots of the usual rockfish and greenlings, some pretty curious about me. Some beautiful small sculpins, deep reds and oranges, beautiful. Pretty chilled for much of the dive, clear water but damn cold. Beautiful scenery down here.

Dive #391, 2/11/2006
Soberanes Wall, Big Sur, CA
50′ vis, 56 min @ 75′

Ah, hmm… er… well it was an awesome dive and a somewhat less than awesome post dive experience. Launched through zero surf and paddled over to the Soberanes wall. Light wind out of the south and a north current running, meeting west wind waves for some unusual and large wave action. Paid this no heed, anchored on my second try and bolted down once I got in the water and noticed the kayak had detached. Fortunately did not drift far, was still on the wall and spent the dive horizontal climbing up to the high point at 50′. Beautiful stuff here. School of several hundred blues as I descended, awesome visibility, there was a supermale sheephead hanging about, watched him swim around for a while from some distance away. Then turned south and started making my way over, hand over handing in the kelp due to the stiff bottom current (close to one knot). Lots of hydrocoral, corynactis, the works. Very pretty and vibrant treefish, ling cod, cab, greenlings etc. About 50 minutes in and about to ascend, heard a BWRAAR and looked up to clearly see the Escapade 50′ overhead. Yeah, time to ascend.

After surfacing, had drifted probably 1/2 way to Lobos rocks by the time I was packed up. Yeah, currenty. Paddled south past the Escapade (Cypress Sea I think came cruising by going further south) to the beach on the S side of the point. Swapped tanks, then a set came through that crabbed the kayak. Hopped in for a hasty exit, but flipped after getting dragged into the (mild) shore break. AND LOST my fucking glasses. Grabbed mask and fins and looked for several minutes, then my remaining tank and looked for probably 15 minutes, to no avail. Once I finished noted the wind had picked up… sloppy launch but got out ok.

Round 3… serious fucking wind out of the NW for the 1.2 mile paddle back to the launch. Not to be melodramatic but getting back was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Like hiking up a down escalator and getting sprayed in the face every 5 seconds by the 3-4′ wind waves breaking over the bow. No fucking fun. But was making measurable progress, got aggravated/tired and tried a few times to anchor to bull kelp. First time I found a few strands of macrocystis (about 3/4 up the point) I tied off and took a breather. After several minutes kept going, cut the NW tip of the point very close but cleared it, and quickly sped back to the launch running abeam to the wind (THANK YOU RUDDER). No surf at the beach and just sat watching the water for some time, got up and got my stuff back to the car ok. Driving home without glasses isn’t fun.

Ooof. Can’t wait to go back.

Dive #392, 2/19/2006
G3, Point Lobos, CA
50′ vis, 60 min @ 116′

Great kayak dive at G3. Launched at South Monastery and paddled over, skirting the park boundary (the pinnacle is about 200′ outside the park). Hooked 2nd time (reel jammed first, spooled out by hand), descended to the top at 60′. Nearly sheer walls on all sides of the pinnacle, dropping down to 140-160′. Very dramatic, and coated with palm kelp, corynactis and hydrocoral above 80′ or so, down below there are many large sponges, gorgonians, and on. Went down to 110′ or so and around the W side of the pinnacle, admiring the encrusting life, fish (some lings, greenlings) and wonderful clear water. Slowly wound my way back up as the NDL approached, eventually hitting deco at 80′ or so. Still stayed towards the top of the pinnacle for a while, admiring the huge school of blue rockfish on the east side of the pinnacle, the hydrocoral and everything. Had about 5 minutes of deco on ascent, passed uneventfully with a few hundred feet of drifting (close to the park boundary!).

Dive #393, 2/19/2006
North Monastery Wall, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 57 min @ 100′

Nice kayak dive on the north wall at North Monastery. Anchored in 30′ and dropped to 100′, lots of fish out and about with very clear water. Several ling cod, three young rosy rockfish, cool, nice vermilion, lots of blues and coppers and grassys out and about. Out and back along the wall at several different depths, nice and relaxed.

Dive #394, 2/19/2006
Mono Lobo 3, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 58 min @ 81′

Another pretty mellow dive at Mono Lobo. Pinnacle here comes to 25′ from 60’+. Went and wandered around several nearby rocks, then came back and went around and up the main pinnacle. Cool sights include a cluster of egg cases, like a skate or a small shark’s (leopard?), a cockerell’s dorid, a small octopus hiding in a crack, some unusual starfish, the usual fish, on and on. Came up top of the pinnacle to lots of hydrocoral, some as shallow as 30′, always love seeing so much here.

Dive #395, 2/19/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 56 min @ 47′

Nice BW night dive. Out on the sand, back on the wall, the usual. Sights were a nice ling cod at the beginning, a sailfin sculpin very under the weather, sail sitting flaccidly and out in the open, largely unresponsive, out on the sand a large dendronotid climbing up a tube worm. Coming back found a gorgeous little juvenile treefish, just sat in an easily visible place so I sat admiring him. Continuing on, several gunnels, two red brotula, one small monkeyface eel, brightly colored but very shy, retreating quickly. Several mating pairs of decorator crabs, one where one had its underside extended (?!) with lots of hairs/cilia for collecting eggs I guess. A private moment for these crabs please. Moving on, hit the sand at the end, and found a tiny octopus right before ascending, got to watch him scooting around a minute before finding a hole to hide in.

Dive #396, 2/20/2006
Local’s Ledge, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 52 min @ 82′

Very nice dive at Locals, first time going out with Corey in more than half a year. Paddled down for the single dive, extremely clear topside and could see all the way to Point Sur, cool. Got to the site, temp anchor on a lone piece of kelp reaching the surface, followed the line down. Spent the dive wandering around the pinnacle, admiring the wonderful encrusting life, lots of blues about and great visibility. Corey was shooting photos and kind of wandering around on his own accord, he had a short fill so went up the line I was towing at around 35 minutes, and I followed about 10 minutes later (still with plenty of gas). Nice sights include a female sheephead from close in, small pipefish, cabezon with head wound, swollen eye, then the many huge bouquets of beautiful hydrocoral. Few sights as vibrant as this.

Dive #397, 2/20/2006
Cypress Pt Kelp, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 50 min @ 55′

Really nice random kelp bed not too far from Cypress point. Went with Corey to the outer part of the kelp going NW from fanshell cove, descended to the top of a big rocky pinnacle with top at 30-40′, bottom at 70′ or so. Corey was shooting again so we just wandered around over top of the pinnacle, very healthy with lots of bryozoans, corynactis cover and rockfish milling about. Several very good sights, two cockerell’s dorids, nice, nice cabezon guarding a big patch of eggs. Coolest by far was another big cabezon, found it just a bit after it struct a kelp crab, and was swimming around with legs sticking out of its mouth and the kelp crab’s head, looking forlorn, peering out from between its lips. Over a few minutes it gulped several times and eventually got the whole crab down, looking quite content with itself. Yum.

Dive #398, 2/21/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 56 min @ 86′

Nice dive along the North Monastery wall out of the twin coves. Very good vis on the wall, a number of rockfish out and about etc. Seal flyby early on in the dive, and a couple juveniles in the shallows coming to check me out from UW and at the surface after the dive. Not much else to report, spent much of the dive keeping from freezing on account of the cold water and very cold weather topside. First time in California my tanks warmed up from going in the water.

Dive #399, 2/21/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 54 min @ 57′

Very nice dive at the twin coves again. Very cold and fairly short SI, but managed to warm up after getting back in the water. Out to the boulders here where the shawls hang out, they were out and about as usual, finding a dozen or so without trying too hard. Other nudis include a variable dendronotid, white/red aeolid (need to ID), and a cockerell’s dorid. Very pretty here with the boulders and light streaming down. Got off track on the swim back, went a little too far west and surfaced inside the kelp, dropped back down to make my way back to the entry. While the swell magnitude is not too great, the short period made exiting a little tricky, especially with a super low tide making for some stumbling on rocks, oi.

Dive #400, 2/24/2006
Que Paso (?), Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 58 min @ 82′

Very nice dive at what I think is the Que Paso pinnacle off Yankee Point (between Flintstones and Malpaso Creek). Got an early start, launching from Soberanes at 8:00 or so and paddling up in the clear, beautiful and windless morning. Some current on the pinnacle, missed the hook the first time, went south, prepped and dropped line right on top. Forgot drysuit inflator hose, hard time attaching it and let a fair amount of water in, minor discomfort the rest of the day. Some kelp on top, went down the north side and then around to the west to the southern end. Invertebrate life not nearly as good as other pinnacles in the area, not as much vertical relief, cracks, or rivulets so harder to take hold. Plenty of fish, a couple big shoals of blues hanging out, lots of yellowtails and kelp greenlings. Some spots on west side very nice, good relief with lots of blues and metridiums off in distance. Moving up shallower, invert life improved on west side, more on top. Great little spot right near the top. Huge head of orange hydrocoral in 35′ with a nice metridium and lots of corynactis and starfish. Beautiful.

Dive #401, 2/24/2006
South Malpaso 4, Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 56 min @ 82′

Way cool dive at the pinnacle south of Malpaso creek. Hit this on the way back from Yankee Point, current had completely died making for a very relaxed dive (unusual for Big Sur!). Went down the west side of the pinnacle at 80′, then back north and along the east side at 70′, returning along the top for a leisurely ascent. Great encrusting and fish life on the pinnacle, especially the east ridge, lots of hydrocoral and corynactis up top, metridiums visible down below. Many blues near the north side of the pinnacle, plus lots of yellowtails, other rocks and greenlings about. Saw four ling cod on top, a few pretty small but two guarding eggs, plus a very nice large brown ling, no fear.

Dive #402, 2/24/2006
Lobos Rocks, Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 56 min @ 96′

Awesome dive at Lobos Rocks. Light west wind blowing, so went to the east side of the rocks (no current), dropped and explored along the base of the rocks (nearly sheer going down, then large piles of boulders with sand on the outside) going around to the north, dropping away from 80′ to 95′ or so. Made my way back and ascended back up the rocks, moving away for the safety stop due to the rocking and rolling overhead. Lots of facets to the dive, beyond the great topography. Sea lions coming by every few minutes, usually one or two buzzing by, often coming in for a close look or pirouetting over the sand (quite light even at 90’+). A few times, several sea lions shot by, no huge groups, but way cool to see. Whenever the sea lions weren’t around, lots of rockfish out and about. Tons of blues, fairly small and skittish compared to other sites (high attrition I guess). Three huge vermilions lazing about, bigger even than the ones at Lobos. Couple ling cod, one quite large. Plus all the usual greenlings and regular rocks. Very good invert life too. Wall has lots of growth, including plenty of hydrocoral and corynactis, found a spanish shawl and a number of other small nudis too. Nice to have a fairly relaxed Lobos Rocks dive for once. This spot is a diving smorgasbord.

Dive #403, 2/25/2006
Random Outer Butterfly, Carmel, CA
35′ vis, 24 min @ 76′

Ok quickie dive at Outer Butterfly. Met up with a guy who was recently recertified but had done a fair bit of kayak diving in a former life. So we got out fine, but long time out of the water plus wetsuit equals short dive, and I still had 2000+ psi at the end. Not a whole lot at this spot in particular, had just chosen a random part of the kelp, and while the topo was nice and a lot of blues hanging around, encrusting and groundfish life not so good as other parts of the reef.

Dive #404, 2/25/2006
Butterfly 3, Carmel, CA
35′ vis, 31 min @ 75′

Better this dive this time, on account of a nicer spot that was somewhat shallower. Spent the SI at butterfly then a quick paddle out into building SW winds. Swam around together in the great visibility going around the pinnacle here, through canyons around the bottom and then making our way up to the better encrusting life — hydrocoral, corynactis — about 15′ off the bottom. Highlights were some ling cod on eggs on an outcropping. Larger one swimming after the other, mouth agape, while the other made shuddering motions similar to painted greenling dances. Interesting… At end, found David’s anchor line, used that to orient and came up right under my kayak, nice.

Dive #405, 2/25/2006
Butterfly West, Carmel, CA
35′ vis, 52 min @ 73′

Bid adieu to David and burned my second dive outside the kelp. Problem on this dive was my drysuit. My lousy sealing job on the neck (~60 dives, old now) came loose and seeped in water all day today (and yesterday too) making me pretty wet. Combined with not eating and I was damned cold most of the dive. Great hydrocoral, corynactis, greenlings, rockfish, the works and lots of very nice walls and pinnacles on top of that, but I just wasn’t in the mood to enjoy them. Boo!

Dive #406, 3/8/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 103′

Nice deepish dive at the twin coves. Swam out and down to the rock wall at 100′ on the east side of the coves, puttering around for a while, then made my way back up. A few nice lings, vermilion, other rockfish out and about, nice. Poor vis up top due to the recent rains and continuous storms, but getting down deeper conditions were quite nice, the wall at this point is quite dramatic. Bit of indigestion so feeling a little odd (not to mention narced) but got better and came out feeling better. Spent a fair amount of the dive contemplating the Sport KISS…

Dive #407, 3/8/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 50 min @ 83′

‘Nother twin coves dive. Went out along the wall towards North Monastery, then came back, oi. Saw a juvenile rosy rockfish which was cool, then the usual fish and invertebrates. Low tide and some surf on the way back in, saved several hundred psi but I had managed to navigate UW to just the right exit point and got back in without problems. Spent my SI, turned the gas on for dive #3, and it started sputtering due to a shredded O-ring whose death throes I had been ignoring. Oh well, let that be a lesson. Back to MBDC for more O-rings, tossed on the gear and back in…

Dive #408, 3/8/2006
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 60 min @ 54′

Not much to say here, this spot is pretty boring during the day. Dropped in 25′, found the pipe, out to the Metridiums, kicked E/SE for a ways and then S to hit the wall fairly close in. Not much to see except a friendly sea lion coming by several times when I was not too far off the wall. Coming back in, still had gas so did a little drilling with pony bottle and doffing gear, came out OK.

Dive #409, 3/13/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
35′ vis, 60 min @ 102′

There and back again to the twin coves (lousy weather for kayaking with few times to even shore dive, aggravating…). But a nice day, sunny and somewhat calmer than the last time I was here. Went east and down to the wall at 100′. Lings, vermilions, kelp greenlings, the usual sort of stuff. Then back up. Found a very pretty black abalone shell in the mash on the slopes going down, had been seeing a lot of red abalone shells turning up and curious if they’re just getting exposed by the storms? Seal in the distance on the way up.

Dive #410, 3/13/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 50 min @ 103′

Went down to 100′ on the north side of the Monastery wall this time, VERY nice dive. Mostly all the exotic rockfish out and about. Saw two or three rosies, one pretty big in a crack, the others small and swimming about. Several young canaries, variety of sizes going up to 8 inches or so. Crowning bit was my first starry rockfish, red and covered with white speckles, beautiful. Was hanging out on a rock at 100′, pretty good sized, but I came in too quickly and it darted back into a crack. Looked back and could see his head fine to confirm the sighting. Nice. The usual other sightings, nice spanish shawl though.

Dive #411, 3/13/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 58 min @ 57′

Shallow stuff back east, mostly in the 30-40′ range looking for macro stuff. Very pretty as usual here. Dozen or more spanish shawls of course, plus a hopkins rose and a few more types of aeolids, nice. Very pretty nearly white crescent kelpfish, shy and hiding under some kelp, when I got under to look he sort of slid partially into a crevice and stared back at me. Young harbor seal came in pretty close for a look, but kind of nervous and didn’t want to play.

Dive #412, 3/13/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
25′ vis, 56 min @ 70′

Yet another shore dive out of the twin coves. Hey, it was a nice day and I had the tanks. Plus this area is never really boring even if you don’t get standout sights. Stayed shallower up the wall, headed west to past where I’d turn coming out from north monastery. Need to do the end-to-end dive one of these days. Saw some fish and crabs and other inverts I think.

Dive #413, 3/19/2006
Outer Pinnacles 1, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 56 min @ 87′

Very nice dive at the pinnacles. Forecast was pretty iffy, 5-10 NW swell and strong W winds. Swell turned out close to N, so stillwater was still (while breakwater was breaking pretty good, oi). Pretty good wind though, strong enough to put out a small craft advisory. Can’t swamp a kayk though, and had a fun windy choppy swelly paddle out to the pinnacles. Tied to kelp then dropped the anchor, clipping off and heading north to the small pinnacle here. Tons of beautiful hydrocoral as usual, lots of corynactis, bryozoans, palm kelp, lots more giant kelp around than last time here but not a problem. Good sights include the wolf eel I had seen here earlier, still in the same crack and looking healthy, wonder how long he’ll stay there. Also a nice brown cabezon, kelp greenlings, the usual rockfish, and so on.

Dive #414, 3/19/2006
Sunset Point Kelp, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 56 min @ 74′

Nice 2nd dive at Sunset Pt. No current so all the kelp was up, found a dense patch SW of the ridge and went down. Like other kelp in this area, many large, thick slabs at a shallow angle, broken off and exposing lots of crevices and holes. Followed a couple ridges out and back, returning to the kayak. Fair amount of hydrocoral, other encrusting life. Very good fish life. Several ling cods, a couple free swimming, yellowtails and other rockfish. Big cloud of blues right at drop point, several hundred and very thick. At end of the dive they split and a big sea lion showed up, swimming up to me and circling me several times from a few feet away, both of us getting a good look at each other, cool. Once he left, blues showed back up coming out of the reef to reform. Speckled white whelks in group laying yellow eggs. Surfaced and paddled back in the following sea.

Dive #415, 3/19/2006
Pescadero Rock, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 60 min @ 79′

Very nice dive at Pescadero. Paddling out this morning the water in and around the cove was brown and nasty. Coming back in after the first two dives it was blue and clear, really nice. Hadn’t seen this before, amazing how fast the water can turn over like that. Out at the wash rock it was still pretty windy (flipped while setting the kelp anchor, argh), but really clear, awesome, even nicer than the previous two dives. Went around to the east side of the rock, fair number of fish including several lings, a couple chasing each other around over territory. Lots of lemonpeel and san diego dorids. Going back to the start, nice big cabezon, more scattered fish, some hydrocoral, lots of young whelks, nice. Lots of shrimp fry earlier, living clouds of little guys. School of blues in shallows, always a good sight.

Dive #416, 3/19/2006
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
10′ vis, 60 min @ 49′

Night dive at BW. Wandered around in the sand to the metridiums, SE to the BW wall then slowly back in. Some very good sightst. Best was a really weird worm. About 4 inches long and very fat, it scooted around in the sand with two feelers probing for food. Top was covered with cilia, glinting like gold in the HID and collecting dirt to disguise it. Turned it over with compass and it was highly segmented and flat underneath, twisted around and got back upright quickly. Crazy. Other sights include several pipefish, some flatfish, more rockfish, and several free swimming worms, one going right into a tube anemone, oops. On way back in kelp getting bumped, fish going into the light?

Dive #417, 3/20/2006
G3, Point Lobos, CA
70′ vis, 61 min @ 109′

AWESOME dive. Gorgeous, awe-inspiring, spectacular, whatever you name it. This dive was dwarfed by the sheer immensity, the size and scale of this pinnacle and this terrain in visibility this incredible. Some crud near the surface but below that, wow. Went to a couple precipices off the rock at 100-110′, looked back, could clearly see the pinnacle top 50’+ above, falling away sheer to the bottom at 140’+, then going off into the distance, other smaller rocks easily visible. Incredible. Caked with life this pinnacle is, corynactis and palm kelp around the top, sponges and some metridium below. A light dusting of blues completes the picture, some other fish like a cabezon, nice ling, the usual greenlings and on. Went down to 100′ and gawked for a while, then slowly back up as I approached deco, eventually accumulating 5 min at 10′ as I soaked the pinnacle in.

Surfaced into a very strong S wind, d’oh. Had some teeth on the way out, but wasn’t bad them, worse now. Mindful of the serious nitrogen loading, put out the rudder and even with hard paddling to the left all the way back, could not stay trained on S Monastery. Winds steadily pushed me north until I got to some kelp south of Stewart Point. Tied off, caught my breath, sprinted in for an easy landing about .7 miles N of my launch site. Biting rain didn’t help either. Stood pondering for a bit, then noticed wind was calmer, launched and had an easy paddle down to S Monastery. whew.

Dive #418, 3/20/2006
Mono Lobo 4, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 54 min @ 65′

Well after the wind coming in, the rain it took some thinking to decide to go out again. What changed was the rain stopping for the most part, and the wind changing direction to come out of the west (WHERE WERE YOU EARLIER?!). Close in at Mono Lobo, vis was too good to pass up. Still, this was a strange dive. Right after going down, noticed that a slight current was running out into the bay. While the spot I descended was sheltered, just a few feet away the kelp was bent over significantly, and I was being pushed back at 1/4 kt or so. Even stranger, the current water was nice and clear, while the rest slowly deteriorated over the dive from 50’+ to less than 30’. Hmm… Went up current hopping from rock to rock, looking around, then slowly made my way back. Nothing really spectacular sights-wise, just the usual suspects.

Dive #419, 3/31/2006
Boca Ciega Canyons, Ambergis, Belize
80′ vis, 51 min @ 85′

Nice first dive in Belize. Going out on the day boats, just a few minutes out to the barrier reef, wind waves breaking but some cuts in the reef allow passage outside to the sites. Very nice spur-and-groove reef. Drop down from the mooring in 40′, wander around waiting for the other divers and DM (ugh), then out where the reef takes on a very nice topography. ‘Grooves’ are canyons with sand at the bottom 20-40′ deep, ‘spurs’ are the rounded heads of coral between them jutting out in the open. Many wider patches of sand with island-like heads of coral, sheer walls you could follow around and down or just look at in the clear (but not amazingly) and warm (been a while) water. Coral pretty healthy, maybe more rubble and fewer large formations than Bonaire but still quite nice (and neither place as colorful as the California pinnacles…) Fish life very good, couple tiger groupers, usual reef hustle and bustle but a lot of big grouper, snapper, and other fish. Large stingray freeswimming in the distance. Smaller stuff includes a bunch of pretty yellow crinoids hiding in crevices with their arms sticking out, and a nearly transparent little fish, ribbed with red and with a grey solid head, interesting. Dive time limited to 40 min bottom for the DM, very annoying but without Nitrox doesn’t make much difference at 4 dives a day. Followed the herd around, then a slow ascent to the waiting boat.

Dive #420, 3/31/2006
Toftin (?) Canyons, Ambergris, Belize
100′ vis, 52 min @ 81′

Very nice dive back in the spur-and-grooves. Better sights this time. Several large panther groupers showed up right as we dropped, hmm wonder if they’ve been fed before? On the way out, was watching a porkfish and a hogfish (heh) fighting over a piece of food, when Mom pointed out a rather large nurse shark freeswimming just a dozen feet away, very nice. Also, large green Moray with its head out, gaping, started free swimming which was neat to watch. Going out over the grooves, saw another small nurse shark, more big grouper and good fish life. Inverts include a couple little arrow crabs, and two lobsters hiding in crevices, some a decent size. Nice reef.

Dive #421, 3/31/2006
Shark Bait, Ambergris, Belize
60′ vis, 44 min @ 82′

Another spur-and-groove, with a couple twists. First was a shark feeding area right under the boat. As we descended (in 50′) there were six or so nurse sharks circling right below us, along with plenty of grouper. Guess there’s a pavlovian response to the boat engines, dinner time! Went down and they stayed away at first, then the DM arrived with a baggie of sardines and they were all over him and friendly with us. Could brush hand over their body and tail as they passed, and they would often come up close and get bumped or hit by fins which they didn’t seem to mid. DM would grab and turn them over where they sat, docile, and hand them off to other divers (not me). Eventually he let out all the sardines and the grouper and snapper whooshed in for a miniature feeding frenzy, looked to me like it was mostly groupers who got them, several sharks followed us afterwards looking for more handouts, with one trailing us for the entire dive, hah! Just like an extra diver in the group (5 + DM, so not too crowded). Right after the sharks, went through a 50′ swimthrough or so, spots of light coming down from the ceiling, neat. Small lobster. One of the divers did Discover SCUBA yesterday, found himself butt-down on a coral head at one point, finning with his hands in a failed attempt to get off, oi. He ascended to the surface after.

Dive #422, 3/31/2006
Dardanello’s, Ambergris, Belize
80′ vis, 49 min @ 77′

Interesting last dive of the first day. All this fairly deep air diving, really accumulating a lot of nitrogen. Really caught up on this dive. Even though this was just moderate depth, slowly wound down the NDL, hard to find a place on the reef to go shallower. Waited until I hit NDL to start ascending, but WTF the deco time just shot up to 6 minutes, even though I was only at 40′. Hmmm… Came up to 15′ but it was still 8+ minutes before I knocked off all the deco and could surface (still 900 psi though, but a big problem nonetheless). Did not end up cutting other divers short (Mom plus one gal at 500 psi) but _need_ to use Nitrox at least in part if I’m to keep up with these profiles. Other than that, nice dive. Best sight was a big turtle, good lock at it. Differentn head from a green turtle, maybe a hawksbill? (loggerhead?) Also, one groove with several queen angelfish darting about, cool.

Dive #423, 4/1/2006
Some Canyons, Ambergris Belize
100′ vis, 51 min @ 85′

Nice dive back in some canyons near San Pedro. Very steep-walled canyons etc., some nice sights with a small hawksbill the best. Crinoids, fish, some queen angelfish, french angelfish that was quite friendly and let me have a good look at it, and a couple juvenile frenches later on.

Dive #424, 4/1/2006
Esmerelda, Ambergris, Belize
100′ vis, 56 min @ 79′

Great dive packed with big stuff. Interesting how much variety there is among these different spots that at the surface appear the same. Dropped and right away there were lots of big grouper swimming lazily around, some coming in close for a good look. Then, a few nurse sharks came by, not really looking for a handout but just swimming and occasionally coming close but usually keeping their distance. One was down in the gorgonians rooting around, got in pretty close to the odd behavior. Later in the dive were several more nurse sharks, free swimming and resting in the sand at the base of the grooves. Continuing on, more groupers and other fish and so forth, stingray. Cleaner fish pecking at my knee. Then at the end, found a large green turtle lying/resting in the gorgonians. Two remora on its back, one small and one quite large, seemed to be bothering the turtle which a couple times scraped its fins along the back of its shell, seemingly to get them off. ??? watched from safety stop but no more agitation or much movement.

Dive #425, 4/1/2006
Hol Chan Cut, Ambergris, Belize
50′ vis, 64 min @ 29′

Extremely good night dive packed with cool sights. Dive was at a new (shallow) spot, with two new divers and a DM (and one guy joining later), riding an ebb out through the cut didn’t seem the wisest choice. But it ended up great, started in 40′, drifted out to where a wall (sides of cut) dropped to sand at 30′, picked along the wall a while, crossed over to the other side of the cut and made our way back. Sights, in rough order of appearance, were a very large stingray (sedentary initially, then slowly swam away), a few large tarpon, large snappers, several large hermit crabs on the sand (in large conch shells), sleeping parrotfish, GIGANTIC sleeping parrotfish in a cave (3-4′), flamingo tongue, spiny lobster, more sleeping parrotfish, school of tiny fish going for the worms congregating on DM’s light left alone with a couple tarpon swoops, beautiful scallops with frilly tentacles and bright red filters, fireworm moving around, some coral banded shrimp, very large moray that went out to hunt as I followed (snapped at a sergeant major a couple times without success), large black basket star on a gorgonian (first I’ve seen in the Caribbean I think?), very cool, large and very pretty octopus out in the open, shades of white and blue (rather scared I guess) and sliding around a lot without hiding, and last but not least a slipper lobster. Whew… Sensory overload, every few minutes a new great sight. Awesome.

Dive #426, 4/2/2006
Tacklebox, Ambergris, Belize
80′ vis, 48 min @ 91′

Nice dive ‘back’ at Tacklebox. Dove this site earlier, except the DMs called it boca ciega. Don’t remember what they called it this time. Kind of a running joke I guess, was talking to one of them and if a group’s been to the site before they give it a different name. Still a nice site, not like there’s a huge difference in topography between the different ones. Sights include a friendly nurse shark making a few passes over several minutes, a green turtle off in the distance, large groupers, angelfish, small squads of cleaner wrasse, nice reef life all around.

Dive #427, 4/2/2006
Punta Arena Canyons, Ambergris, Belize
100′ vis, 48 min @ 84′

Very nice dive a few miles north of San Pedro. Similar canyon structure to the other sites, but better coral here and some very interesting formations. Lots of tiny archways and twisty passageways if you drop through a number of sinkholes, etc. Went down and through an arch, looking up at divers overhead, neat. Continuing on, a steep narrow (4′ wide) canyon with a ceiling that closed over, went through and very nice deep blue view at the end. Going out, more nice corals, more nice angelfish, nice dive.

Dive #428, 4/2/2006
Tres Cocos, Ambergris, Belize
80′ vis, 48 min @ 85′

Another nice canyons ndive. Not terribly much to report, nice scorpionfish was the highlight. Durgons, parrotfish, angelfish, caught my forearm on some fire coral leaving a small welt, d’oh.

Dive #429, 4/3/2006
Boca Chica, Ambergris, Belize
80′ vis, 58 min @ 86′

Nice dive, a few good sights including a gorgeous triggerfish at the beginning, blue w/yellowish head and trailing dorsal/anal fins. Also an indigo hamlet (almost neon blue stripes), small cloud of blue chromis juveniles over a piece of coral (neat), assorted other fish. With a couple that went up to ~40 min into the dive, but kept going (fairly shallow) until I was down to 300 psi, then safety stop, surfacing with 150 psi. Hmm… could feel the reg breathing harder at end.

Dive #430, 4/3/2006
Paradise Canyons (whatever), Ambergris, Belize
80′ vis, 46 min @ 72′

Interesting feeding dive over the canyons. DM brought a bag of sardines (same DM who did the shark feeding a few days ago), and periodically let one or two out to the waiting fish. He was surrounded almost the whole dive by a gang of yellowtails, joined often by a small panther grouper (pretty friendly to us other divers too). Also, a good sized nurse shark was around most of the dive. Rather than follow the DM around like a puppy, this one was constantly on the move, joining us and leaving repeatedly. Liked to cruise up behind me, mom and DM and surprised me a couple times. Only went in to get fed twice. Happy to have his photo taken, made for a nice and interesting diversion.

Dive #431, 4/3/2006
Hol Chan Cut, Ambergris, Belize
60′ vis, 62 min @ 28′

Another extremely good Hol Chan night dive. Stronger ebb tonight than two days ago, had a pretty good current going both out and back. Large group (6 vs. 4 divers) made things a bit bumpier and tricky to handle easily. Mostly stayed behind the group, but handling the current was still hard and was breathing pretty hard most of the dive. Great sights again, mostly reprising those from earlier but a few great new ones. Coolest was a foraging moray being followed around by a big snapper and a huge grouper. Whenever the moray flushed out a fish, the other two would shoot after it until it found a new hole to be in. Not much fun being a small fish on the reef! Other great stuff was a lot of stingrays, a few 3-4′ long, another large moray accompanying the huge parrotfish, mid-sized zebra moray, lots of red-gilled scallops, several (~10) coral banded shrimp, other small shrimp, a juvenile spotted drum, beautiful tiger grouper, small parrots and crabs and fish and more.

Dive #432, 4/4/2006
The Blue Hole, Lighthouse, Belize
100′ vis, 35 min @ 137′

Awesome all day trip out to the Blue Hole and the rest of Lighthouse caye. For this dive, we anchored on the edge of the hole (about 1000′ diameter, dropping straight to 400’+). Got in the water, swam a couple minutes, then to a sand bottom sloping rapidly to 45′ where it dropped away. Down, down, down to 130′, then followed the wall along at roughly that depth. Attraction here are the very large stalactites, between 5 and 30 feet tall and up to several feet across. Swimming inside and outside of them it was very cool watching in the good (but, surprisingly, not great) visibility. Heavily layered water wrt vis/temp, comfortable in 3mm shorty. Little fish life, some groupers and snappers and so forth, and at one point caught the silhouettes of a couple sharks above us. Ascended slowly to 30′ and then 15′ (my computer had accumulated 2 min deco, quite slowly in comparison to the reef dive a few days ago — different compartments?) for a long stop. More lively up here, lots of angelfish looking for handouts, and some coral. DMs (2) acting like nannies most of the dive, understandable considering how divers can screw up so far beyond their experience — the next boat over had a diver on a hang tank, guess he ran too low.

Dive #433, 4/4/2006
Half Moon Caye wall, Lighthouse, Belize
80′ vis, 52 min @ 75′

Gorgeous coral-crusted wall dive. Half Moon Caye is at the southern end of lighthouse, and just has this idyllic aura to it — clear water, white sand beaches, filthy with palm trees, not a hotel in sight. Like out of a postcard. The wall we went to was off to one side of it, dropped into grass (big barracuda), transitioning to sand and then a coral ledge, rising from 50′ to 30′ and then dropping into the abyss. Coral here is very large and very healthy. Fair amount of whip coral and some fan-like corals I hadn’t seen before (black coral?), nice stony corals, sea fans, gorgonians, and tons of sponges. Barrel sponges particularly were great, some getting up to several feet tall. Not a huge amount of fish life, lots of small stuff flitting around, a couple tarpon hanging out in a sand channel. Lots of cuts in the upper part of the ledge/wlal, channels going to the sand on the other side, a few swimthroughs, fun stuff, interesting, beautiful.

Dive #434, 4/4/2006
Eagle Ray Wall / Aquarium, Lighthouse, Belize
100′ vis, 57 min @ 77′

Last dive in Belize and a great way to end the trip. Shallower wall this time, dropped on top in snorkeling depths (less than 20′), with lots of coral around and two green turtles. One was swimming around very slowly, other was resting on the bottom. DM would herd them around with 2nd stage bubbles and a white pointer he carried, got some nice shots and others got some nice views but felt sorry for the turtles. Ah well, they can swim a lot faster than that if they want. From there went down the wall to about 50′ and went along. Similar wonderful coral and spongest to the last dive. Some nice sights were an adult spotted drum, green moray, arrow crab. Coolest was when I saw the DM down at 70′ with what looked like a struggling diver. Took another look and it was actually a very large loggerhead turtle trying to get away from the DM (who was trying to drag it by the shell over to me, though it was having none of that). It broke away and was swimming parrallel but well off from the wall. Shot down to 75′ for a nice close look and shot, then watched as it returned to 50′ at the wall, no longer interrupted by those rude divers. Ascent and safety stop on top of the wall surrounded by coral and fish. Nice!

Dive #435, 4/9/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 71 min @ 51′ (Sport KISS)

First OW training dive for the Sport KISS CCR. Did ~1hr in the pool last night, then down to Monterey for two dives off inst. Alan Studley’s inflatable. Main purpose of this first dive was familiarization with the unit, some drilling as well. Reeled out from the anchor looking for a line going to the barge, didn’t find it so crossed over to the wall (which we anchored near), then swam a good way towards the end and then back to the line to reel back to the boat and ascend. Unit felt really good in the water. Could get into trim pretty easily and swim around with very little drag — wide and narrow unit stable and light in the water. Biggest change was buoyancy, as expected. Instead of ascending/descending with each breath cycle, you do not change at all, except for a very slight ascent or descent (can’t achieve complete neutrality). Drills went alright, went to OC first each time but fumbled a bit with the steps afterward — need to work at this more of course. Saw some stuff in the course of the dive — big rock scallops on the wall, a few sea lions, etc. Managed ascent OK, mostly vertical but vented drysuit and loop (nose works well) and fixed ascent line was good for reference. Need to remember to turn O2 and displays off after surfacing and going off loop.

Dive #436, 4/9/2006
Breakwater Wall / Barge, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 70 min @ 63′ (Sport KISS)

Second KISS CCR training dive with Alan Studley. Left boat anchored in the same spot but reeled in a slightly different direction and found the line going out to the barge. Was only laid a month or so ago, but very thin and brown from algae so blended in very well and easy to miss. The line starts about 50-75′ off the BW, runs out several hundred feet to 60fsw, then ends 40-50′ south of the barge itself. Turned O2 off for the swim out to get a sense of loop O2 consumption rate — even working like this it drops pretty slowly on its own. In HEAVY work though, can consume O2 much faster and need to keep a close eye on the PO2 — passive addition won’t make much difference. Helped here that with min. loop volume the ADV will activate as the O2 is consumed, need to ingrain checking PO2 when ADV/OPV are hit. Made our way to the barge and looked around for a while. Fair number of blues, grass, other rocks, greenlings hanging out, did seem to react less to the CCR than OC but will have to test more. Swam back to the boat, drilled, then ascended without problem.

Dive #437, 4/10/2006
Barge, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 92 min @ 65′ (Sport KISS)

Third training dive for Sport KISS w/Alan Studley. We originally anchored near Eric’s Pinnacle, but ran into equipment problems. Alan was testing a Shearwater integrated PO2 computer (very slick, nice simple interface and looks tough as a brick), and the cable leading to the computer was tugged out of the gland and bubbling profusely, making inhalation very difficult. Aborted and motored to Alan’s boat in the Monterey marina, cleaned out Cls, scrubber (replaced, was pretty well flooded but water pooled in CL, OK), went to a standard display block using the Shearwater for constant PO2. Went back to the BW for a single long dive instead of two shorter ones. Anchored right over the barge line, swam out to the end of the line, set up a reel, went out past the barge ~10′ finding a big patch of squid eggs, back to the barge, compass bearing west and back to practice. Looked aorund the barge some more, big clown dorid and the usual rockfish out and about. Other nudis in the sand (hermissenda, a couple white/brown striped I can’t remember), and a big sarcastic fringehead in a pipe next to the line we saw last dive — got a better look here, very weird looking fish. Had Alan turning off our O2 and dil twice this dive, practice getting to the valves (easy) as well as recognizing the problem (more important). Back at the anchor, did a swim on buddy’s OC bailout (tricky cuz he offered the reg but I had to reach over and turn it on), and breath hold swim (problem reaching DSV at end, need to practice that more).

Dive #438, 4/12/2006
Hopkins Deep, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 87 min @ 78′ (Sport KISS)

4th training dive on Sport KISS with Alan Studley. Anchored at Hopkins in 60 fsw, reeled out through the Metridium crusted rocks with a rather circuitous route, used the full 400′ reel and 100′ spool. Some lings, school of blues, etc. New drill here was sitting on the O2 add until turning otff, then flushing loop to drop PO2 to safer levels. PO2 was up to 1.6 when I got it off. Rather than neg flush (inhale loop, exhale nose) I tried a pos flush (inhale OC, exhale loop) which cleared only 1/2 the loop of excess O2 (until OPV). After a couple flushes the PO2 was still high, did one neg flush and it shot right down. Need to weigh pros/cons of inhaling that one plug of O2. More drills with O2/dil off as we reeled the line back in. Long stop at 15′ (bulk of dive was at 80′, computer set at 30% but other Suuntos were very conservative), still some trouble maintaining constant depth or horizontal trim on ascent, need to work on this some more.

Dive #439, 4/12/2006
Hopkins Shallow, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 75 min @ 71′ (Sport KISS)

5th training dive for Sport KISS w/Alan Studly. Left anchor alone but went shallow into the kelp this time, eventually hitting 35′ or so. First, though, tried some compass ‘navigation’ (bit of a misnomer). Headed on a bearing less than 100′, turned on the reciprocal, headed further w/no anchor. Oops. Recognized some rocks and a ling cod (!) from the previous dive so headed off to the side, missed again, one more try and came across the line. Ugh, who would rely on these things? Reel attached, headed shallow for drills, O2/dl off, switch to bailout and back, sit on ADV until turning dil off and add O2 to get back to setpoint. Back to anchor, reeled out a bit for more swimming drills (own bailout?).

Dive #440, 4/21/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 97 min @ 50′ (Sport KISS)

6th training dive for Sport KISS w/Alan Studley. Nice long dive out along the BW wall. Swam out (pretty fast) to a concrete block marking the route to the barge. Swam N from there, missed the line first time, tried again and found it, going out to the sarcastic fringehead, still in the same pipe. Back to the wall, made our way to the beach (again, swimming fairly fast). Several sea lions out toward the end of the BW, one sitting on the sand looking at me for a while. Other highlights were a hopkins rose, several dendronotids (one which Alan lifted and set off swimming). Main skill on this dive was DSMB deployment, a first for me. Not the slickest job, didn’t give enough air at first, then second try dropped it after I *thought* it had reached the surface. Oops, but ascended with tension on the line ok. Also, the emergency drills, have thos down pat by now… On swim back, we lost Nicolas in the shallows at 15′ (I had trouble keeping up myself), noticed pretty quickly and we all surfaced and swam the rest of the way in.

Dive #441, 4/21/2006
Metridiums, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 78 min @ 60′ (Sport KISS)

7th and final training dive for Sport KISS w/Alan Studley. No drills this dive (except a half-assed SCR drill I did with Nicolas at the end), just going for fun. Alan had his Silent Submersion scooter and a camera, was buzzing around me and Nicolas as we swam out to the Metridium fields, starting at the BW, out to 35′ and following that contour to the pipe. Alan took some photos of us once we got to the Metridiums, then took off to the barge and sarcastic fringehead. Continued with Nicolas E to 60′, then S to the wall, turning and going back in, surfacing just a few minutes before Alan. Nice sights include a small bird (don’t know the type — angular wings) swimming along, several sea lions, a few dendronotids, all the usual stuff. Nice way to end the course, feeling extremely happy with the unit and ready to dive some more.

Dive #442, 4/24/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 91 min @ 102′ (Sport KISS)

First post-certification Sport KISS dive, yay! Unit behaved perfectly. Break in the swell just a few days after the cert ended, took the opportunity and went down solo to do some diving (yeah, yeah…). Super flat, overcast and not so hot viz made things pretty dark, but still a great time. Very different dive planning now, can just go out and stay out basically as long as I want, spend as long as I want watching fish, inverts, very refreshing. Went down to 100′ to look around a bit, moved up to 80′ then 60′, going all the way down to the sand sloping up to North Monastery. Turned and headed back at 45 min, spent a fair amount of time in 40′ checking out fish. And lots of fish there were. Starting deep, saw several rosy rockfish, one pretty good sized with a nice pink hue, a couple juvenile canaries, lots of female kelp greenlingsn throughout the dive. Later, many schooling blues and yellowtails, a nice little school of surfperch, many lings — some free swimming ones, and one Gigantic brown ling, biggest I’ve seen in a long time. Nice invertebrates including lots of nudibranchs — a few flabellina, clown dorids, other aeolids, lemonpeels, other dorids and on. Got kind of chilly when not moving much, warmed up swimming and getting shallower (less than 50′). Found my way back exactly to the starting point. Very nice way to start the KISS out.

Dive #443, 4/24/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 101 min @ 108′ (Sport KISS)

Second KISS dive at the twin coves. Went east this time, down in poor vis to the top of the wall at 100′. Plenty of fish, including a large canary, several vermilions, cloud of blues, lots of greenlings. Large flatfish (halibut?) in sand, 20″ long. In one stretch of sand on the wall, found a few spots where gas was bubbling up out of the sand, intermittent but still very weird, huh. Swam one way, then ascended the sand face to 50′. Found a rock island in the middle of the sand, covered with the tiny white lined red aeolids. This site keeps coughing up interesting stuff. Slowly made my own way back towards the entry. Reached 40′ and decided to cross over to the west side (this at ~65 min into the dive) and look around some more, lings and fish and so on. Saw a couple OC divers, heard them first actually (was looking in the wrong direction). Started putting my computer into deco (set at 30%, I was still clean), headed back to the shallows, did the stops (computer doesn’t go past 99 minutes, heh), and surfaced again right where I entered.

Dive #444, 4/25/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 88 min @ 103′ (Sport KISS)

Back to the twin coves for another day of diving the sport KISS. Similar flat and dark conditions to yesterday. Went down to 100′ and went around most of the way to North Monastery, ascended to 60′ continuing to the sand, then slowly made my way back. Fish sights including a mosshead warbonnet, numerous ronquil (I think?), several rosy rockfish, some very curious schooling blues, a few ling cod and the other usual stuff. Inverts with lots of nudis, a few shawls, several variable dendronotids, more of the red/white-lined aeolids — three-lined nudibranchs, apparently, clown dorids and the usual stuff. Slightly warmer water than yesterday, felt comfortable the whole dive. Got up to the safety stop, watched a harbor seal for a minute, then surfaced in the right spot. Added my wireless transmitter to the O2 before this dive, used less than 600 psi the whole dive, very nice.

Dive #445, 4/25/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 87 min @ 58′ (Sport KISS)

Shallow followup dive to the last long one, pushed the scrubber past 4 hours on this dive and did not want to go deep or active. Paid close attention to breathing pattern the dive but did not change and never felt out of breath. Went around to the east this time most of the way to Carmel River Beach, hopping from island to island looking at critters. Best sight was another of the same bird as on 4/21, saw movement and looked up to see it flapping along, flying underwater, then it spotted me and shot to the surface. Never seen them on OC, guess they don’t like bubbles. Also saw an octopus (VERY briefly) hiding in an old holdfast, lots of spanish shawls (yay!), lots of three-lined nudibranchs, many hanging out near each other, good fish, lings, other life, etc. Asw ith yesterday crossed to the west side to hang out a while before going in, really is wonderful and relaxing to be able to dive this way. As with all the others, took my time getting back to look around and found exactly the right exit point.

Dive #446, 4/30/2006
The Barge, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 122 min @ 62′ (Sport KISS)

Nice long shore dive swimming out to the barge. Cold, clear water (for the BW). Spring! Swam out to the concrete block marking the jump to the barge, saw an interesting siphonophore or something floating around — pulsating clear bell trailed by 6″ to 3’+ of tail (would occasionally expand or contract the length). Watched and tried to photograph (not much success) for several minutes, neat. Took a bearing and found the barge line, found the sarcastic fringehead and photographed, then on to the barge itself (didn’t reach until ~1 hr into the dive). Very nice out here, still quite clear with lots of fish hanging about — blues, grass, a few lings swimming around… Young wolf eel partly in the open at SE side of wreck. Big bull sea lion flyby. Really started to need a piss so headed back after 85 minutes or so. By the time I reached the shallows I slowed down and looked around some (trying to make 120 min for the first time). Not too much out and about but still very nice conditions, good day for the BW. Played with SFhead on way back, kept trying to eat my compass bolt snap.

Dive #447, 4/30/2006
Metridium Fields, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 97 min @ 61′ (Sport KISS)

Second nice dive putzing around at the BW. Went down to 40′ and headed west through the metridiums and rocks. Overshot the pipe, turned around after ~30 minutes, made out to deeper water 50-60′ in then E -> S to the wall. Still same cold, clear water as last dive, but felt warmer this dtime (plus no need to pee, need that damn P-valve!). Nice sights include a group of spawning shelks, a couple of the same kind of siphonophore as last dive, spanish shawl, clown dorid, assorted anemones with lots of metridium of course. Had a harbor seal sneak up on me onceI got back to the wall, swam off before I had the camera ready. Ah well. Both these dives done on 4-8 sofnolime for the first time (previous dives on divesorb). WOB felt slightly better, no CO2 issues w/3h40 min dives. Watch PO2 on ascent!

Dive #448, 5/5/2006
Butterfly West, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 87 min @ 80′ (Sport KISS)

First kayak dive on the Sport KISS. Worked very well; some awkwardness fitting it into the tank well (hmm, no kayaks with a ‘rebreather well’), but could easily set up and do +/- checks once out at the site. Tethered dive, just wandering up and down the many walls and pinnacles here, admiring the awesome hydrocoral, corynactis, other encrusting life. A couple visits from large phalanxes of blues, swimming through out of the blue on their way to something else. Very nice nudibranchs, saw many flabellina trilineata, after seeing so many at Monastery a couple weeks ago they must be mating or something. Also, a tight group of four variable dendronotids, a neat white dorid with black rhinophores, lots of the usual dorids. Fish including many blues, yellowtails, greenlings (some friendly painteds), the usual I guess. Don’t go to this spot for much besides the hydrocoral, but so much of it there is. Yay.

Dive #449, 5/5/2006
Butterfly 2, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 76 min @ 77′ (Sport KISS)

And the traditional 2nd dive at Butterfly. Still a great pinnacle, and nice to see it in such good visibility (pity it was overcast all day, otherwise would be really spectacular). Dropped straight over the pinnacle, circumnavigated it at 70-75′, then headed east for 15 minutes or so before turning and slowly heading back. More nudis, trilineata and variable dendronotids, the usual fish life. Some research project from a guy in Moss Landing hanging off a weighted buoy. Odd jellyfish, siphonophore, something — about 3′ long with lots of barely perceptible tentacles hanging off it, no visible bulb or means of propulsion though. Thick group of larger blues at safety stop, and lots of loosely aggregated blue fry (~3″ long) around the reefs on this and other dives today. At safety stop switched to OC bailout for practice timing, and to save O2 (down to 650 psi). Amazing how loud it is! So many bubbles! Used about 1000 psi off the Al19 for a 5 minute stop. Hmm….

Dive #450, 5/5/2006
Butterfly 3, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 72 min @ 71′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice 3rd dive at Butterfly. Dropped on this smaller pinnacle, headed across the rocks to the SE, then followed a short wall E at 60′ for a while before slowly returning, turning off O2 and breathing down to .3 or so (took a few minutes from .6 at 30′) before going OC for the safety stop again. Best sight by far was a free swimming wolf eel on the way back. A female about 3-3.5′ with a fair bit of brown on her, was looking over a wall for food I guess when I found her. Swam a bit more, then started swimming around randomly looking for a place to hide. Took a few minutes (!), not the brightest eel, then watched her watch me a couple more minutes before heading back. Very cool. Other sights include lots of juvenile/fry blues, nice vermilion, couple lings and lots of greenlings, one big cabezon fleeing me at the beginning, and another small kelp-colored one hiding at well, the base of a kelp plant. Beautiful color, and didn’t flinch when I got right up for a close look. Plus the usual hydrocoral, corynactis, crabs, other fish and inverts etc. Very good visibility and this is a great spot to enjoy it at.

Dive #451, 5/6/2006
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 123 min @ 100′ (Sport KISS)

Nice long dive on the Monastery wall, the Monastery kelp forest, the kelp and rocks east of the twin coves, and back to Monastery to ascend. Whew. Dropped with nice clear water out over the wall, little murkier inside the forest. Down to 100′ spotting several rosy rockfish, going around W encountering 4 OC divers on their way out, back up to 60′ making my way slowly over, the usual fish and nudis. Eventually hit the sand at 40′, went to TC to find lots of flabellina iodinea, a hopkins rose, flabellina trilineata, some variable dendronotids, and on. Very nice in the shallows around 30-35′. Back and did a nice slow ascent to the kayak. Nothing too spectactular — best was topside, saw a couple dolphins right at the edge of the kelp as I was pulling in — but very nice all the same. A few issues on the dive. First, forgot to set FO2 on the computer at start, had descended to 30′ before I realized it. Surfaced and had to wait 10 minutes for it to clear and reset FO2, argh. Second was hitting the CNS limit on my computer towards the end of the dive. My diving the past day has been conservative by the CNS clock times though, and comp ran down at 30’/30%, well below the min 1.0 on the tabls. Weird.

Dive #452, 5/6/2006
Mono Lobo 2, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 92 min @ 69′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice followup dive at Mono Lobo. This spot isn’t much of a pinnacle, more a big pile of rocks going from 30′ down to 70′ on the outside. Junk vis on the inside with all the surge (swell worse than forecast), but improving pretty good on the outside of the kelp forest. Followed E a ridge on the outside for a while, coming across some nice rocks and a large pinnacle eventually before turning, then W to a steep sided pinnacle dropping away to probably 90′, straight down. Nice. Lots of good hydrocoral in places, the usual assortment of fish and other inverts. Had a snow white seal make some slow passes checking me out, then zipping off surprisingly fast. Found my way back to the rock doing the SS with a large school of blues hanging out, fleeing from the occasional seal encroachment.

Dive #453, 5/13/2006
Ballbuster, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 82 min @ 92′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive at Ballbuster. Calm wind topside with some swell, vis looked like pea soup unfortunately. Fortunately that was only for the 1st 10′ or so, below which it gradually cleared up to about 40′ by the bottom, still lots of light getting down. Hooked 2nd try, went down to the top of the pinnacle, bubble check, then went and slowly circled the pinnacle at 90′, then 80′, then a fair bit more time on top, ascending very slowly after about 60-65 min on the bottom. (Hurried on the last bit at the top by a large boat gunning its engines over me). Not a whole lot of sights on the bottom, lots of great metridium and corynactis of course, fair number of giant barnacles grabbing food, ~10 chestnut cowries, including one close group of four, some schooling blues, assorted other rocks and greenlings. Ascending came across a nice salp/siphonophore, biggest I’d seen at 4-5′, long row of clear cells trailing orange tentacles. Looking at that, almost ran into another near transparent jelly, flat with several tentacles arranged outwards like spokes. Otherworldly. Rest of ascent uneventful, nice that the pea soup was also much warmer than the frigid stuff below, almost like taking a bath.

Dive #454, 5/13/2006
Eric’s Pinnacle, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 93 min @ 62′ (Sport KISS)

Great long dive, EPD! Right as I pulled up another boat showed up with three divers aboard. Decided to dive the site together. They anchored right on top of the pinnacle while I clipped off 150′ to the west, tethering the kayak and taking it over to the pinnacle without teangling the two boats together at all over the course of the dive (yay!). Spent a little bit of time on the pinnacle initially (fst 1/2 hour or so), then headed SE following a vaguely defined border between rocks and sand. Some nice big rocks in this area. Turned after hitting a kelp forest, on the way back got a great look at a cormorant chasing some blues, nice! Back at the pinnacle, saw the other boat was still there and its anchor fouled in rocks. D’oh! Let it out of the rocks, they started pulling it up but it got fouled again! Argh. Once more and they seemed to get it up, ok, with the boat starting up a coiuple minutes later. Yay. Was rewarded with three sea lions swooping in out of the gloom just seconds after setting the anchor free, cool. From there, just a slow ascent on the face of the pinnacle. Nice cabezon, packed in school of blues, the usual fish and inverts.

Dive #455, 5/13/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 66 min @ 43′ (Sport KISS)

First Sport KISS incident! About time. Went from Eric’s to Aumentos. Wind had picked up considerably over the last dive but not THAT bad, just enough chop to be annoying. Prepped the SK (including +/- of course) and pushed it overboard pods first. Got in, clipped up, started breathing the loop and inhalation was VERY difficult, like sucking through a straw. Descended a few feet to look for bubbles, kept descending (stupid) to bottom at 30′ but no change and aborted to the surface. Tested some there, decided to can the dive, but was still hooked into the rock, argh. Put the whole unit back on, went on bailout and down to the bottom to unhook, ascent back and paddle back in. Oof. Saw the sensor pod screw was a little loose, think the pod-first entry shocked some water in through there, just enough to soak the 4×4 and make breathing so hard. Sorb was hardly wet, nothing in inhalation C-lung, so put everything back together and off to the BW to test.

BW dive itself was uneventful, some fish and stuff I guess, one cowrie which was a little unusual. Mostly doing bubble checks (no leaks except DIN valve on bailout, screw that in tighter!), but on way back some oddness. Strange groaning noise from around the OPV, some light resistance occasionally on exhale and ADV hard to activate. Lots of spit in exhale breathing hose afterwards, maybe an issue there, will see tomorrow (at least loop integrity isn’t compromised).

Dive #456, 5/14/2006
Outer Pinnacles 1, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 122 min @ 82′ (Sport KISS)

Pretty incredible dive, clear blue water and wonderful life and scenery. Paddling out to the pinnacles, wind was getting stronger and stronger (10-15kt on descent, 15-20kt on surfacing), but pressed on and got down fine. Greeted with incredibly bright color and that beautiful blue. And SALPS! Too many to count, clear with yellow organs/tentacles (been seeing them at other sites as well), some as long as 10-15 feet. At any point in the dive could look up and see several of them, drifting about, caught on kelp, being followed around by the many grazing blue rockfish who would eat bits of them if they broke up. Hit the bottom, clipped off, then in not too long found a small torpedo ray! Guy was about one foot long and swam right up to me, then meandered off letting me get a good look. Besides the many rockfish and greenlings, came across a couple nice lings, all the usual gorgeous hydrocoral and corynactis (almost glowing in the sunlight), etc etc. Checked for the wolf eel on the rock here but it had moved on, ah well. Only issue on dive was higher than normal O2 consumption, which I blame on higher activity to stay warm in the incredibly cold water (wee bit chilly towards the end of the dive), had to really stay on top of the manual add for much of the dive (passive add working fine). Wonderful experience. On the way back saw Kawika come up in his whaler I think to see if I was OK but parted with just a wave. It’s easier I guess to paddle in a following sea.

Dive #457, 5/14/2006
Pescadero Rock, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 93 min @ 72′ (Sport KISS)

Great follow-up to the last dive. Paddled back to Stillwater, topped the O2 to cover high usage last dive, then a nice long followup in a failed attempt to circumnavigate the wash rock. Dropped in the usual spot, water stunningly clear as on the last dive, then headed around counter-clockwise following the 60′ depth contour. Made it probably most of the way around, but stopped after 40 min as the wall became less defined, definitely did not want to get lost. Made my way back to the start, then clockwise a few minutes to where it started dropping away quickly, should try the CW route next time. Life as usual not as good as further out in the bay, mostly admired the very nice topography and beautiful kelp. Nicest sight was a mosshead warbonnet out in the open, watched for a couple minutes before he darted into a hole. Otherwise the usual blues, other rocks, greenlings, nudis, etc. Nice stuff.

Dive #458, 5/20/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 130 min @ 91′ (Sport KISS)

Nice long dive in very good conditions checking out the area between the twin coves and N Monastery. Had the camera so going pretty slow shooting stuff. Headed down the wall to 90′, lots of juvenile rosy rockfish about, and a few canaries. Stayed for quite a while (~40 min), then up to 70′ the rest of the way to N monastery (ran into a couple OC divers, can hear them from quite a ways away), getting ~5 min deco. Back (slowly at 50′) w/deco staying at 5 min, then ascending to 50′ and then 30′ to blow pretty much all that gas off before the long safety stop. Lots of ling cod about, 10+ and some pretty big, mostly in the 40′ range. Getting up shallow the water was cloudy in parts, but some areas quite clear and with lots of sun very pretty. SS especially was nice with thick growth of kelp and plants, sunlight filtering down.

Dive #459, 5/20/2006
Twin Coves East, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 91 min @ 50′ (Sport KISS)

Nice followup dive, going E this time for nice macro stuff. Cool sight in a new-to-me jellyfish, oblong clear bell with many short tentacles, still pulsating a lot, maybe 6″ long. Also a flyby from a large harbor seal, plenty of curious blues, greenlings etc. Good macro includes a bright red crevice kelpfish, a few spanish shawls (was busy w/camera, didn’t look too hard for others), a tiny new-to-me nudibranch, aeolid w/red rhinophores. Water still quite clear, went over to W side for a bit but was running low on O2 and had to turn. At stop in ~5′ of water let the PO2 run down to .2 before surfacing. MUST stop playing with fire, maintain .4 *AT ALL TIMES*

Dive #460, 6/2/2006
G3, Point Lobos, CA
40′ vis, 82 min @ 105′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive at G3, first time here with the KISS. Surface vis was junk on the paddle out, and junk over the pinnacle as well, 10′ at best. At start of dive, stayed junk all the way down to the top of the pinnacle, with my light cannon acting up, steeled up for a braille dive. But below about 70′ it cleared to 40’+ vis, and eyes adjusted well to make things stand out, well, enough. Pinnacle still really impressive, even if its top is covered in green haze (cool effect, actually). Nicest sight was very dense clouds of young blues on the NW side of the pinnacle. Came right up and looked at me, could barely see through them so many. Also, young ling, young cabezon, some greenlings, lots of corynactis, barnacles, scallops, on and on. Stayed at 100′ for ~15 min, then plenty more at 90′ then 80′. Picked up about 5 min deco by the time I reached the top of the pinnacle, but last 20 minutes was in ascent, cleared computer and then some.

On way back, spotted the two dolphins that have been hanging out here right off South Monastery. Went to edge of the kelp and they repeatedly surfaced barely 20′ away, always right next to one another. Very cool.

Also, on SI after 2nd dive today a parks employee came by who saw me out at G3, but said I was outside the park boundary (as I was) and everything’s above board. He was wondering if I was scouting locations for a freediving shooting competition tomorrow, interesting. Chatted a bit and then he left.

Dive #461, 6/2/2006
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 95 min @ 92′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice followup dive on the wall. Down to 90′, over to the sand on the east, back to the sand on the west at 80′, back again at 60′ then up to find the boat (about 100′ away) at 40′. Really got nailed for deco after that last dive, computer was still piling it on even when I was at 40′ (programmed for 32%) and had about 10 min at the end. Wonder how realistic that is Re: actual PO2 used. Need a real CCR computer. Anyways, nice visibility down and out from the kelp, still surface junk but not so bad as G3. Very nice sights, best was a cool octopus in a wide crack, bigger than the usual reds (mantle the size of a tennis ball). No horns so probably not a juvenile GPO, but lots of decoration so will have to investigate. Didn’t flee from my (puny C4) light, so watched a couple minutes before reaching my hand in, then he slowly slipped away. Other stuff was a neat spoked jelly (saame as at Ballbuster a few weeks back), a few lings, big cabezon, worms and nudis etc., school of young perch that was pretty neat.

Dive #462, 6/2/2006
Mono Lobo 4, Carmel, CA
15′ vis, 65 min @ 62′ (Sport KISS)

Arr, can’t kayak dive Monastery without going to Mono Lobo. VERY nice macro dive. Was worried at first with overcast skies, garbage vis and thick kelp canopy, VERY dark dive but my C4 held through (damn light cannon) and saw some great stuff following some walls and pinnacles along, then retracing exactly back to the kayak. Lots of gunnels, saw one of the white/black ones I see all the time at BW night dives, which was cool. Also a small black one with a sloping/ridged head, need to ID but neat-looking fish. Nice big mosshead warbonnet in a hole, lots of head decorations. Couple hermissendas, diamondback tritonia, big dorid with orange bits on it (Coch-something?), pretty. Seal came by right before ascent. Best bit, though, was the ascent itself. Spotted what looked like a gunnel in the kelp I was ascending on, but it swam off. Pulled the kelp apart looking, but to no avail. Ascended several feet, then found it again and got a good look. Kelp gunnel! Very cool little fish (4″ long), precisely the color of dying kelp and missing its pectoral fins! With the long sleek profile, looks like a little snake. It swam off again, I found it again (doesn’t like crossing stipes) looked some more then it took off for good. Awesome.

Dive #463, 6/3/2006
East Pinnacles, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 90 min @ 77′ (Sport KISS)

Nice dive at the Pinnacles. Paddled out from Copper Roof House for a nice 1.6 miles in the fog, hooked 1st try (no kelp at surface) and right before descending spotted the Escapade nearby — I was on the rock to the NW, thought they were main south of the main rock but they weren’t, hmm… Bulk of the dive was fairly uneventful with lots of green-tinted hydrocoral, fish and corynactis and so on. Spent 30 minutes on the north rock, then headed towards the other, spotting a big school of blues and yellowtails. Then came across a couple divers from the Escapade. Then came across the Escapade’s anchor line. Ooops. Backed up and thought I was OK, but suddently I started getting tugged up by the tether. Quickly unclipped, then swam down and held onto the palm kelp with anchor in hand. Breathing pretty fast with the stress, some uncontrolled exhalation through nose — REALLY need to watch that exertion and not overbreathe the scrubber. Probably safer to bail out in future. Anyways, waited a couple minutes without any tugs, then an 18 minute ascent from 70′, surfacing at the Escapade (with the DM playing in the kayak).

Story was they saw the kayak moving about without bubbles nearby so thought it was drifting and tied it up to the boat to keep it from taking off. Figured I was on a CCR after some OPV bubbles came up. No harm no foul, but should put a sign on the kayak in future.

Dive #464, 6/3/2006
Pescadero Rock, Carmel, CA
10′ vis, 81 min @ 62′ (Sport KISS)

Pretty blah dark dive at the rock. Trash visibility all the way down to the bottom, and my damn light cannon died again, stuck with my (batteries depleted) C4 pen light. Just followed the 60′ contour very closely out and back, then milled around at 50′ and 40′ for a while. Not much to see other than the normal inverts and fish. Dragged this dive out so I wouldn’t feel compelled to do a 3rd but got the itch coming back in so went back out to Butterfly…

Dive #465, 6/3/2006
Butterfly West, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 70 min @ 71′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive at Butterfly, at least in comparison to the last two. Just milling about following the walls and canyons in this area, but decent bottom vis and a functioning light cannon made for some nice stuff. Some biggish ling cod, big red rock crab, tons of the usual hydrocoral and corynactis (always love this spot) and rockfish schools and greenlings and on and on. Good way to finish up a couple not-so-spectacular dive days, hope this summer clears up a little.

Dive #466, 6/9/2006
Lobos Rocks, Big Sur, CA
60′ vis, 101 min @ 90′ (Sport KISS)

Pretty awesome dive at Lobos Rocks. Reports a couple days ago at Mt Chamerblin (off Yankee Point) were still pea soup vis and ripping currents. So nice to still come down and find no current, no wind, and 60’+ vis, blue water top to bottom (with some sand stirred up by the swell, which wasn’t THAT small). Clipped, descended, tethered on some kelp east of the rocks, made my way to the base of the east rock, anchored the kayak to a rock, then made my way around CCW at 80′, getting all the way inside the cahnnel between the two, crossing over to the W rock for a minute or so before turning. Stars of the show were the sea lions as usual, had around a dozen visits from 1-12 or so lions, pretty awsome to see them pirouetting in such incredible visibility. Other stuff was the wonderful encrusting life all over the walls and rocks — corynactis and hydrocoral on the E and N sides of the rock, with many sponges coating the channel between them (on both sides) and some big batches of metridiums in the surrounding reefs. By the time I got back to the kayak, racked up 7 min deco. Went up around the rock’s south side, big school of blues with hundreds of individuals here and more encrusting life, great way to end the dive.

Dive #467, 6/9/2006
South Malpaso 4, Big Sur, CA
50′ vis, 76 min @ 82′ (Sport KISS)

Great followup dive at the pinnacle 1.2 miles north of Soberanes. Best part was before the dive even started! Was clipped off to kelp and starting to kit up when a huge explosion-ish sound went off behind me. Looked and saw a large gray whale surfacing and going back down, barely 100′ away. Awesome! Waited a couple minutes and he surfaced again, right over the pinnacle I was about to dive! A few minutes more and he surfaced further south, off to krillier waters. If only I’d been here 15 minutes earlier… ah well. Sights on the dive itself still great, though whale-free. Many blues off the pinnacle feeding, plenty of greenlings and a couple cabezon swimming about, great encrusting life and some nice macro stuff — lots of dorids, variable dendronotid, a couple cute red shrimp going after each other, then some big bunches of hydrocoral and metridiums.

Dive #468, 6/9/2006
North Soberanes 1, Big Sur, CA
70′ vis, 63 min @ 76′ (Sport KISS)

Just a very nice kep dive near this pinnacle (about 150′ to the west, didn’t see the waypoint itself). Dropped into 80′, and was immediately thronged with hundreds of small blues. Looked down and there were a large vermilion and treefish hanging out right in the open. Watched a bit, then a 4′ female wolf eel popped out of a crack, came over and chased off the vermilion, hah! Rest of the dive was following a nearby wall to the SE, dropped from less than 50′ to the sand at 70’+, with other rocks and walls easily visible. Life here not as great, but still a lot of dorids and smaller fish. Had to cut dive short on account of running low on O2, (practiced bailing out at the stop even so…) and some ear/sinus issues — ran into trouble inhaling and exhaling through mouth without doing so through nose as well, but breathing rate stayed constant so probably not scrubber related. Went away when I practiced bailout, weird.

Dive #469, 6/10/2006
North Malpaso 1, Big Sur, CA
60′ vis, 72 min @ 85′ (Sport KISS)

Nice compromise dive. Had been trying for Flintstones — paddled up and got there a little after 9:00, but after several tries could not get a hook to stick — could hook the pinnacle well enough for the GPS to stabilize, but as soon as I got in the water the current (running north, a little over a knot) would grab and pull me off. Little two-pound weight is NOT sufficient holding power in current (had intimations of this at Soberanes Wall a few months back, also lost the hook after getting in the water). After an hour of this shit and fighting the current, started getting tired so gave up, making a failed attempt to hook Alan’s arch and then going south of the point where the currents were much less, enough for some kelp to reach the surface, even though most of it was bent over 60 degrees off vertical.

Which turned out annoying for the dive itself. Site was a nice reef — hydrocoral, corynactis, lots of fish, schools of blues, many siphonophores floating about, big free swimming wolf eel at beginning (cool), gorgeous comb jelly on descent (red tubules over it, and that beautiful shimmering cilia). Most of the dive though was focused on navigating the kayak through the kelp as I made my way along a wall going south. Move forward til you snag, figure out which plant you snagged (helped by the awesome viz), go back and around the other side of it. Wash, rinse, repeat. After about 40 min cleared the bulk of the kelp and lazed around for a nice finish to the dive. Current died too, nice.

Dive #470, 6/10/2006
Malpaso 3, Big Sur, CA
60′ vis, 76 min @ 80′ (Sport KISS)

REALLY nice dive just S of Malpaso creek, stopped in after a short SI at the creek. First time at this spot as well, reminded me a LOT of the outer pinnacles. Drop onto a large rock, top at 45′, surrounding bottom at 80′. Went west following a large number of 20′ walls and rocks just COATED with life — tons of corynactis, lots of hydrocoral, even some spots thick with zoanthids. Many areas could not see the underlying rock, color was just excellent and site was just so visually rich. Spotted a nice young wolf eel poking out of a crevice, seeing them a lot this weekend. Otherwise, cabezon or two, lots of blues, other reef fish, some cowries with their stalks out and motoring around, neat. Longer dive would have been nice, but needed to conserve energy for lugging gear back up to the car. Plus with the really cold water nearly bit through my mouthpiece, time to replace.

Dive #471, 6/16/2006
Middle Reef, Point Lobos, CA
20′ vis, 60 min @ 57′ (Sport KISS)

Nice little dive with Ericson, Andy, and a third guy John (didn’t catch last name), 1st time diving with them in a while and good to catch up. Swam out through the middle reef until the kelp got too thick, dropped in 25′ and continued out to 60′. Hung around the same area a bit, Ericson taking pictures, rest of us swimming around looking at stuff. Then turned south for a while, getting to 20′ or so, back west and came up right at the ramp. Not much for great sights, just a nice dive.

Dive #472, 6/16/2006
Twin Coves, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 155 min @ 97′ (Sport KISS)

Well, rather long dive in less-than-spectacular conditions. While Whalers was a bit stirred up, waves were really rocking at North Monastery (twin coves entry/exit wasn’t too bad). While the water itself had little plankton and things were pretty light, the wave action had things very stirred up, vis was pretty bad, and most fish were hiding. Still, warmer water than it’s been was comfortable, and so turned my planned two dives into one long one. Wound my way slowly over to the N Monastery side at 80′ (avoid getting too much nitrogen), back at 60′-50′, across to the east side for nudibranch hunting, then back in shooting for that 1st 2:30 dive (practiced bailout at the stop to conserve O2, started at 1300 psi and was down to about 200 near end). With the fish hiding (except a juv. canary and rosy) there were still lots of inverts out, nice nudis including several spanish shawls, several hermissenda, three lined aeolids, variable dendronotids, and lots of dorids, nice.

Dive #473, 6/17/2006
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 75 min @ 105′ (Sport KISS)

Back at North Monastery for a very nice dive. Alan Studley had a block of seats on the Cypress Sea, so signed up and lo and behold the 1st dive is at North Monastery, ha ha. Better conditions than yesterday though, clearer and a bit calmer (north side of the beach still undivable), and nice to go a bit deeper and stay on the main portion of the wall. Live drop over the wall, then swam to the kelp and dropped down to 100′ or so where other divers on the boat (damn, OC divers are loud) soon followed. Stayed at 100′ around 20 min, then wound my way up slowly, spending the 2nd half of the dive with Alan and another KISS diver (I counted 5 SK and 3 inspo/evo on the boat, lots of rebreathers), ascending on the kelp and swimming back out to the boat. Nicest sight was a baby GPO — about the size of a red octopus, but the distinctive white spot and papillae marked it. Others were some nice sponges, a tritonia festiva, various fish and so forth.

Dive #474, 6/17/2006
Pescadero Rock, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 77 min @ 84′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice 2nd dive up at Pescadero. Protected from the NW swell here things were calmer and conditions better. Anchor was SE of the rock in >80′ (with some relief so stayed around 80′), but went shallower in a hurry, following the rock around at 70′ or so a while, turning and going back to the kelp, running to Alan and several other divers (Alan shooting a very well camoflauged little cabezon, very nice). Wandered around on my own a bit, joined up with Alan again and stayed off the ground going through the kelp forest — looked very nice in such great visibility (40′ in the kelp, pushing 50′ on the outside). We headed west until that large rock wall with the swim through, then turned back to follow the edge of the kelp closer to the boat. Lots of greenlings, nice vermilion, plenty of blues in the kelp canopy, great site.

Dive #475, 6/17/2006
Stillwater rocks, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 50 min @ 66′ (Sport KISS)

Last quickie dive to finish the day. In 60′ of water in front of the rocks at the mouth of Stillwater cove. Haven’t been here in a while, and actually quite a lot of interesting rock formations — some little caves, overhangs, steep rocks, gathering lots of life and making things interesting. Saw some crabs, and a neat bright pink bug on a sponge, mostly it with the short time I was limiting to. Still very clear water with lots of blues out and about, very pretty following the anchor line back up to the boat. Will have to come back with my kayak, no time limit and a reel.

Dive #476, 6/24/2006
Koloa Landing, Kauai, HI
50′ vis, 49 min @ 48′

Nice first dive on Hawaii trip and first OC dive in a while. Koloa landing is kind of the newbie shore dive on Kauai but about the only easily accessible one during the E/SE swell coming in. Entry is a boat ramp (for canoes etc.) opening onto a jetty like shallow wall with scattered corals, sand bottom at 20′ going out slowly past 50′. Nice sights on the jetty with fish life, a couple whitemouth morays, large colorful shrimp, wrasses and the other hawaiian fish life etc. Gas consumption OK, turned early to leave time to get to airport and pick up Sean.

Dive #477, 6/25/2006
Prince Kuhio Park, Kauai, HI
40′ vis, 31 min @ 20′

Pretty bad learning experience dive. Park is a shallow snorkeling area (less than 20′) with a reef on the outside coming up to the surface with waves breaking. We kicked out part way, Mom was having serious problems with chop and lousy BC. So we dropped and continued heading out, saw a group of several sea turtles but that’s it. Kept going and water started getting aerated, then a set came through and saw some rollers going by up above. Got in sight of the wall and realized we were getting sucked in closer by the washing machine effect of the waves. Grabbed Mom’s hand and kicked and hand-over-handed out of there in a few minutes. Swam in and got the hell out, shit site.

Dive #478, 6/25/2006
Koloa Landing, Kauai, HI
60′ vis, 62 min @ 50′

Another nice but not too exciting dive at Koloa landing. Went out further this time and water cleared up nicely. Views included some more morays and fish etc. Couple equipment problems before the dive including a leaking Oxycheq wing (torn during the flight, was trying to use it for singles so mom could try my old BC) and non-functioning transmitter. Switched to my old BC and Mom’s regulator (Mom wasn’t diving anyways) and dive went OK, fixing other geat after dive.

Dive #479, 6/25/2006
Koloa Landing, Kauai, HI
20′ vis, 53 min @ 35′

Very nice night dive at Koloa, lots of stuff coming out. Tons of eels; best sight was a free swimming dragon moray, beautiful mottled color and fierce-looking head with hooked mouth, long teeth and protrusions over the forehead. Also a couple zebra morays, stout moray, white mouth, tiger moray (body only, unfortunately), even a small cusk eel (brotula) very cool. Also a nice lobster, some neat nearly transparent fish hanging around, lots of the colorful shrimp about, various fish and so forth.

Dive #480, 6/26/2006
Tunnels Reef, Kauai, HI
50′ vis, 58 min @ 47′

Way cool shore dive up on Kauai’s north shore. Two parts to this reef: first a shallow (less than 5′) reef going out and dropping straight down to 50′ or so, then a channel to a larger reef with a similar dropoff. Both walls just riddled with tunnels, caverns, collapsed in places with lots of skylights letting light in. Great to swim in, around, them, using lights to look in crevices (lots of soldierfish and bigeyes milling about) and so forth. Some tight passages but not much problem moving through them. Spent >30 min in the tunnels, then crossed the channel back and surfaced in just the right spot.

Dive #481, 6/26/2006
Tunnels Reef, Kauai, HI
40′ vis, 52 min @ 61′

Another great dive at Tunnels. Did not cross the channel this time, staying on the inner reef. Tunnels were just as nice, with some quite large formations going aways back into the reef. Ceiling let light in many places, but not enough room to actually exit with tanks, need to be careful. Just slowly made our way down (trying to exit in front of the car) checking out all the tunnels, then surfaced. Yay.

Dive #482, 6/28/2006
Fast Lanes, Kauai, HI
70′ vis, 44 min @ 83′

Very nice boat dive on the south shore of Kauai. Site was a reef in around 80-90′, 10-15′ rocks coming up off the ground with a fair amount of coral on them and fish hanging about. Lots of nice sights, first a cool longnose hawkfish, then a large number of puffers, turtles, some nice black coral with a nice wire coral goby, several big puffers with one hiding in a crack, and on.

Dive #483, 6/28/2006
Sheraton Caverns, Kauai, HI
70′ vis, 55 min @ 65′

Another really nice boat dive off south Kauai. Sheraton caverns is a very popular site with the boats, about 1/2 mile off the Sheraton. Reef with top at 30′, bottom sand at 60′, and a couple large caverns with arches to swim through and skylights and so forth. Lots of turtles about, a few sleeping in the caverns with several more swimming about much of the dive. Lots of great stuff including two good sized frogfish pointed out by the DM, two leaf scorpionfish, a speckled scorpionfish hiding in some coral and numerous other fish and coral, very nice site.

Dive #484, 6/28/2006
Koloa Landing, Kauai, HI
15′ vis, 59 min @ 32′

Another nice night dive at Koloa, brought my camera this time. Swell has picked up over the last day or two to a surgier dive but also a lot of silt and sand kicked up especially near the entry point. Fortunately improved (somewhat) further out and got some nice shots. Good sights again, best were three dragon morays over the course of the dive, very cool eels. Also a yellowhead moray, unusual find, another cusk eel swimming about (too shy to photo), big cornetfish hanging about, couple crabs, lots of goatfish and sharp-nose puffers, a really weird space alien sea cucumber, various other stuff.

Dive #485, 6/30/2006
The Pinnacle, Lehua, HI
120′ vis, 51 min @ 107′

Pretty awesome dive on Lehua, a small island just off the north end of Niihau. Site is a pinnacle coming up to 40′ from 300′, just off the island itself (lots of steep walls around!), lots of sheer walls, gigantic boulders and spires, all around wonderful topography. Not too much encrusting life, but many many fish hanging out over it — pyramid, millet, pennant butterflys in the water column feeding, with a great variety on the pinnacle below. Best sight were large hawaiian monk seals, very endangered but seen with some regularity around Niihau. First saw one almost standing on the ground, slowly spinning and looking at us, mesmerizing. Took off, heard some growling, and later another one showed up, resting on a ledge then lazily swimming around and about much of the rest of the dive. Other main sight was a hawaiian turkeyfish (like a lionfish), very neat, then all the fish and topography and so forth.

Dive #486, 6/30/2006
Lehua Arches, Niihau, HI
60′ vis, 56 min @ 66′

Another pretty awesome dive, on the other side of the channel separating Lehua and Niihau. This spot is all about topography. A large reef area riddled with holes, arches, swim throughs, and skylights, spent the dive swimming around marvelling at the structure. Started in a little cave with silt bottom, went to back to see some lobsters, turned around and it was all silted out (by the other divers!) so felt my way out. Other passages not so small, crowded etc. and beautiful to swim around in. Not a whole lot of fish or invert life but that’s ok. Such different rocks here, finely layered lava rocks (pahoehoe I think) mimicking the island above with cracks and holes all over the place but many sheer walls, boulders. Nice.

Dive #487, 6/30/2006
Lehua Wall (made up), Lehua, HI
100′ vis, 55 min @ 75′

Nice varied wall dive back on Lehua. Right on the island itself, some wall and rubble area on the SW side of the island with lots of life and neat stuff to see. Early on saw a nice grey reef shark free swimming, he started swimming away and then around a rock, I went around the other way and got a good look at him. Also, came across a nice octopus — eyes looking at me from a crevice, got my hand under him and he came out for a few seconds before inking and shooting off to another crevice. Otherwise a several-hundred individual school of polarized goatfish, interesting, variety of other fish and so on, great stuff.

Dive #488, 6/30/2006
Koloa Landing, Kauai, HI
30′ vis, 57 min @ 31′

Great night dive back at Koloa landing, going out with Sean in search of dragon morays. Mission accomplished, Sean found a nice one pretty far out in the open. But lots of other neat stuff too. Little dwarf moray out in the open foraging, only about 8 inches long. Also a tiny octopus, less than two inches across but pretty freaked and hid quickly, tiny peacock flounder a couple inches long, tiny crown of thorns, lots of tiny stuff. More big things included a very large 7-11 crab, over a foot across and very cool looking, several other crabs, tiger moray (saw its head this time, cool guy), a few yellowheads, whitemouth, then the usual goatfish, boxfish, puffers etc.

Dive #489, 7/1/2006
Turtle Bluffs, Kauai, HI
80′ vis, 47 min @ 82′

Nice boat dive back on Kauai, spot well west of Poipu this time (too much current at Brennecke’s and other eastern spots). Site is a series of ledges going from 50′ down to 100′, fissures and overhangs and so forth for things to hide in. A few very nice sights. First a school of around 100 durgon spawning in a little crevice. Lots of them constantly swimming in and out of the center, with lots of millet and raccoon butterflys about looking for eggs to eat. Next a turtle cleaning station, three turtles there with surgeonfish all over them picking off food. Third a pair of large yellowmargin morays, unfortunately a little shy, ah well. Other stuff some nudibranchs, fish etc. Saw monk seal at surface while on safety stop.

Dive #490, 7/1/2006
Sheraton Caverns, Kauai, HI
50′ vis, 53 min @ 61′

Nice last dive on Kauai. Been to the caverns so know the drill, but great sights all the same. Saw the same two frogfish as last time (well, focused on the one down in the sand), lots of turtles sleeping in holes and freeswimming above the reef, numerous emperor bigeye, butterflys, parrots, triggers, then corals on and on.

Dive #491, 7/3/2006
Old Airport, Hawaii, HI
50′ vis, 58 min @ 48′ (Sport KISS)

Nice first dive on Hawaii, and first warm water dive on Sport KISS (got O2, sorb etc. from Jim at Konaquatica). Site is a gradual slope going out to 50’+, small sand areas with lots of coral heads, lots of small fish and a variety of morays — a few small whitemouths, two yellowmargins, nice. Some discomfort with trim and RB in warm water, felt better towards end though and no problems later dives.

Dive #492, 7/3/2006
Place of Refuge, Hawaii, HI
60′ vis, 47 min @ 80′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive at two step. Headed straight out to a fairly steep wall (60 degrees) going down to 80′ or so. Extremely good coral, very healthy and covering pretty much every surface. Many nice plate corals especially on the wall itself. Nice sights include a neat little tiger moray, a few other small morays, black longnose butterfly, turtle going up wall, then a nice variety of smaller fish, the usual stuff. Had headed south along the wall towards the boat channel, turned a little too early, coming back in with plenty of air for Mom and Sean.

Dive #493, 7/3/2006
Place of Refuge, Hawaii, HI
60′ vis, 64 min @ 61′ (Sport KISS)

Nice 2nd dive out of two step. Out to the wall, north this time where the top of the wall went up to 10′ from 30′, and the bottom down, well, deep from 70′, very dramatic. More nice sights, big cowrie, few very cool grey sea cucumbers crawling around with mouth parts everywhere feeding, looked like space aliens. Not much else besides the awesome coral, sunset right as we got out of the water quite beautiful.

Dive #494, 7/4/2006
Puako Village End, Hawaii, HI
60′ vis, 66 min @ 70′ (Sport KISS)

Wonderful shore dive up on the Kohala coast. Picture perfect entry, pahoehoe lava steps down into clear, flat water. Depth 5-15′ out 100 yards or so, lava shelf, which then breaks down into a shallow slope with many large rocks around, eventually turning into a shallow 45 degree wall down to 100′ as we headed south. Everything covered very thickly with coral, just beautiful with the clear water and sun out overhead. Many fish around: schools of durgon, goatfish, raccoon butterflys, several species of tang (lots of yellows especially), sergeant majors up above, on and on, wonderful. Other sights include a turtle, large ulua up above us while on the wall, a few more small jacks in the shallows. Coming back, found a channel formed by a collapsed lava tube with some little cuts and swim throughs on the sides. Due W from entry point.

Dive #495, 7/4/2006
Puako Village, Hawaii, HI
60′ vis, 73 min @ 54′ (Sport KISS)

Another excellent dive in Puako. Went W to the collapsed shelf but then N this time for very different terrain. Rather than a shallow wall, more of a plain here but with many ledges, pinnacles, giant boulders all covered with coral and fish and beautiful to look at. On way back followed the edge of the shelf. Found a couple swim through caverns, quite gorgeous. Interesting to go in as the din of the snapping shrimp goes away leaving things incredibly quiet. Awesome. No huge sights, just a couple morays, but so many fish, so much coral, so much terrain, awesome site. Wind did kick up while we were out, choppy exit and glad to swim pretty much the whole way in.

Dive #496, 7/4/2006
Kona Mile Marker 4, Hawaii, HI
50′ vis, 69 min @ 41′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive just south of Kona, turn off right at mile marker 4. Rocky entry a bit tricky but nice underwater, go around the point to the left with sand bottom at 20-40′, fingers of coral covered lava adding a lot of structure and mini overhangs, several yellowmargins and a small turtle. Neatest part a very cool cave with several skylights, in the back several more turtles resting. Other nice sights a cusk eel back in a crack, very pretty gold lace dorid, puffers and other fish etc., very nice life.

Dive #497, 7/5/2006
Pawai Bay, Hawaii, HI
80′ vis, 65 min @ 91′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice boat dive with Jim Holt of Konaquatica. Dive site is just west of the old airport, large area with a couple other dive and snorkel boats arriving after us (only encountered one small group once underwater though). Steep dropoff starting at 30′, then above a plain of very nice coral with a nice large rock (and some caverns we didn’t quite get to). Very nice sights, a couple bandit angelfish that hung out for a while, several fairly large ulua clustered together that let us get in close. Later in dive a nice little octopus, saw him poking out from a coral head, a couple very big unusual butterflies, various schools of fish and so forth, a couple morays. Very nice.

Dive #498, 7/5/2006
Sharkfin Rock, Hawaii, HI
80′ vis, 65 min @ 81′ (Sport KISS)

Another nice dive, this one right off the old Airport, straight out from Sharkfin rock, distinctively shaped rock right at the shoreline. Dropped in 30′, shallow slope out from there, various ridges of coral much like at the old airport shore entry. Sights include a nice 7-11 crab, a couple nudibranchs and flatworms, pretty ragged jellyfish, usual fish and so forth.

Dive #499, 7/6/2006
Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, HI
70′ vis, 65 min @ 96′ (Sport KISS)

Neat dive at the Captain Cook monument in Kealakekua bay. Rented kayaks, paddled over and beached, then walked in the beach entry. Bay at this end quickly drops away, 75 degree wall down to 100’+ in most places. Headed E to a sharp bend in the wall (E side of bay), then south a ways before turning. Excellent coral, including a lot of plate coral deeper down, very similar to Place of Refuge in corals, structure and fish life. Sights include a freeswimming whitemouth moray, ulua, schools of torpedo like silvery fish, durgon, various other fish. Some junk as well, encrusted glasses, masks, snorkels etc., but not too much. Two RB issues. First a small leak from LP hose going to ADV, second transmitter not working at all.

Dive #500, 7/6/2006
Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, HI
70′ vis, 103 min @ 100′ (Sport KISS)

Great 2nd dive at Kealakekua. Mom and Sean had to paddle back for two more tanks, so dropped in solo, headed north, and ran into them on way back finishing up the dive together. Nice and quiet the first part of the dive, several nice schools of fish. Popped down to 100′ to check a large school of snapper, then a bit later a large group of goatfish, kept still and they came right up to take a look at me, funny guys. Felt my lips twitch a bit, PO2 1.2 odd, so took a sanity breath and went back on loop, felt fine afterwards. Hmm. Deeper portion also saw three bandit angelfish, including one pair, lots of peacock groupers not quite as skittish as most, including one being cleaned, neat to watch. Coming up shallower at the end, more varied topography in the 15-30′ range. Some tiny caves housing soldierfish and bigeyes, and one larger one with a grey reef shark inside, breathing rhythmically and staring out at us, very cool and mellow. Nice.

Dive #501, 7/7/2006
Au Au Crater, Hawaii, HI
120′ vis, 65 min @ 140′ (Sport KISS)

Really cool wall dive well south of Kona. Took Konaquatica’s boat about an hour south (~10 miles S of Place of Refuge) to the remnants of an old eruption at water’s edge. Drop a stone’s throw from shore into 80′ of water, then hit the edge of the wall as it drops down deep. Went N a short ways, came to a canyon cut into the wall: bottom gradually coming up from 180’+ to around 60′, and could clearly see the other side (maybe 80′ at its widest) and surroundings, spectacular view. Followed the canyon up and to the reef on top, spending the rest of the dive at the rim in 30-50′ or so. Coral sparser here than up north, but still very nice fish life. Couple large morays, Sean found a dwarf moray, oceanic triggers around, a couple unicornfish. Real star is the topography, and great at that.

Dive #502, 7/7/2006
Twin Sisters / Rob’s Reef, Hawaii, HI
80′ vis, 66 min @ 43′ (Sport KISS)

Beautiful reef dive with several awesome lava tubes. The twin sisters are two adjacent lava tubes, very large (~15′ across at mouths) and connected by a short passage. Dropped here (they stick up above the water) and went inside the first, using lights as it really is a cave towards the back, no skylights like other tubes around. Cool stuff hiding back here, several slipper lobsters, big friendly porcupinefish (which Sean promptly chased after), some snorkellers on the surface of the open parts (boat came right as we did), very cool overall. Next a great reef as healthy as any in Kona/Kohala with the usual reef critters. Kinda booked through here so we could get to another tube to the north, this one tighter with skylights and a tunnel we could actually swim through. DM found a nice octopus but it inked and swam off when he tried to coax it out, lots of ink lingering in the water, interesting stuff.

Dive #503, 7/7/2006
Amphitheater, Hawaii, HI
80′ vis, 75 min @ 49′ (Sport KISS)

Third and final dive with Konaquatica for the day and the trip, nice way to end it. Went closer to Kona, north of Kealakekua, for an easy going reef dive with a couple cool arches and tubes. Tubes different from others we’ve done, long, narrow with no skylights (though enough ambient light leaking through ceiling to see without lights). First one had to really squeeze through to get around some of the rocks on the floor, glad I had two Al19s to protect the pods. Second I unclipped the stage for going through, turned out unnecessary as it was a bit wider. Other nice sights a large red nudibranch hiding in coral (Spanish dancer?), various fish and so forth.

Dive #504, 7/14/2006
The Needle, Point Lobos, CA
20′ vis, 86 min @ 96′ (Sport KISS)

Back to California for that rude shock of cold water and low (than expected) visibility. First dive on the Needle, and can’t complain much, very nice site. Top at 50′, bottom at 120’+, very wide and lots to explore. Coverage very thick with corynactis and palm kelp, some hydrocoral on N side (more than most Lobos spots), few metridium. Couple lings hanging around, some nice schools of bigger blues as well, greenlings etc. the usual suspects. Need to come back when the water isn’t so dirty.

Dive #505, 7/14/2006
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 82 min @ 81′ (Sport KISS)

Nice followup dive on the Monastery wall. Dropped at wash rock, checked out the whole wall on the 70-80′ contour, lots of fish out including some large lings, schools of perch, greenlings and rockfish. Big vermilion swimming right by. Very good nudibranchs, a couple clown dorids unusual for this sport, hermissenda, trilineata, many other dorids including a very large 5″ white one. Several big christmas tree tube worms, good macro overall, still that dirty water though.

Dive #506, 7/14/2006
Mono Lobo 3, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 73 min @ 62′ (Sport KISS)

Great followup dive with considerably clearer water (surprise!). Circumnavigated this pinnacle twice, at 60′ and 50′, with some dirt on the inside but very nice (if dark) outside. Good stuff on the walls, treefish right at start, small gunnel hiding in some hydrocoral (which is thickest here at the 50′ contour), big heart crab out in open, several abalone, a couple being kept company by a cabezon way back in a crack! On outside a nice big school of blues, lots of little guys with numerous big ones as well, and a small ling cod lurking at the periphery. Very nice in the good vis. Highlight, though was right at end. Had been seeing lots of seals at the surface today, and at end three younger ones swam by staring at me. All made several more passes in the next few minutes, with one being very playful, sitting on the ground looking at me, hiding behind a kelp plant then coming out to look at me. Finally swam right up and rested its head on my fins like it wanted a scratch, brushed with my glove and it swam off lazily. Aww…

Dive #507, 7/15/2006
Local’s Ledge, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 91 min @ 86′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive at Locals. Paddled up all the way from Stillwater, nice and protected NW swell and wind except for the last little bit, probably safer than coming down from Fanshell beach. Very clear water compared to yesterday, if somewhat dark on account of the heavily overcast skies above. Dropped over S Locals 4 (the regular ledge), down to 80′ then headed SW, crossing over two large rocks and then a very cool canyon, able to see across (barely) to the other wall coming up, bottom around 40′ below me. Followed the canyon rim SE a while before it started petering out and going below 80′, then retraced my steps back to the ledge proper (without difficulty), going most of the way around on a slow ascent. Very good sights, tons of healthy beautiful hydrocoral as usual, some lings, rocks hanging out, etc. Very nice pair of Cokerell’s dorids. Big school (300+) of small perch, feeding I think on the larval fish covering most parts of the rock. Swimming in a polarized fashion, when below me could barely make them out except for the ones breaking formation to feed. Very cool.

Dive #508, 7/15/2006
Sunset Point Ridge, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 62 min @ 69′ (Sport KISS)

OK dive at the ridge E of Sunset Pt. Kelp anchored at the N end, followed the ridge south, then came back. The end. Uncomfortable from a leaky drysuit. Visibility OK but stirred up, some neat stuff on the ridge and in its many cracks and holes, ice longfin sculpin, crabs etc. fish, etc., good hydrocoral towards the south at 50′, cut away a kelp plant that broke away but snagged and was damaging some coral.

Dive #509, 7/19/2006
Ballbuster, Monterey, CA
50′ vis, 44 min @ 110′ (Sport KISS)

First training dive for Decompression Procedures certification. Spent the morning going over theory and some equipment, then rode on Norbert’s whaler out to Ballbuster. Water had lots of snot in it but actually fairly clear besides, quite nice on the bottom. Worked on practicing carrying stages the dive, Al80 (20/40 trimix) on the left and Al40 (50%) on the right. Al80 felt very restrictive with everything I use left hand for, Al40 felt fine, no different than my 19. Hard time clipping 80 on the surface with inflated wing, tried again at depth and managed fine. Went to bottom, reeled out some, gorgonian, sea pens and such, then reeled back and went up.

Dive #510, 7/20/2006
Mile Marker Buoy, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 56 min @ 141′ (Sport KISS)

The proper deep dive of the Deco Procedures course. Anchored right at the mile buoy, in what turned to be 140′ over sand — the reef is to the NW I think. Followed the anchor down to 70′, then swapped my 80 of trimix with Norbert’s 20 of O2 so he could breathe the mix on the bottom, then descended the rest of the way. Saw the chain on the buoy going straight down, then off away from us; reeled along the chain but did not get all the way to the base before we had to turn, maintaining a 15 min bottom time. Long time on ascent, mostly waiting for Norbert who was going a little slow. Finally got to 15′ where my computer still had 15 min of deco; when Alan and Norbert (on VR3 and HSE) cleared, tied my comp off to the line and went up myself (only about 5 min deco left anyways; need multigas comp or just a bottom timer).

Dive #511, 7/20/2006
Hopkins Deep, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 95 min @ 92′ (Sport KISS)

Alan and Norbert took off so kayaked out to Hopkins from the BW. Spent around 40 min in 80-90′ getting a bit of deco (had a 40 of 50% and 20 of O2), some nice stuff including a big treefish coming out to take a look at me, came right up and quite cool, some lings, schooling blues over the metridiums and so forth. Nice nudis including a giant dendronotid, couple clown dorids, more. By the time I made my way into 50′ had nearly 20 min deco. Ascended and did all of it, drifted out nearly to the mile buoy (maybe 1/3 mile) by the time I finished, weird current.

Dive #512, 7/20/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 59 min @ 50′ (Sport KISS)

Just an easy dive to practice skills. Took a 400′ reel, lift bag and spool, no stages felt quite nice. Went to the wall, reeled out 400′ along it (Salvo reel, very nice) and came back, went into 30′ to shoot the bag. Remembered I didn’t have any stage reg (d’oh) so exhaled through my nose into it, getting it about half full at the surface. Ah well, at least I didn’t drop it. Neat stuff on the dive, 3 giant dendronotids on the same tube worm. 2 very big and the 3rd just swam off while I watched, interesting, no mating for that one I guess.

Dive #513, 7/21/2006
Thumbs Up, Point Lobos, CA
25′ vis, 58 min @ 102′ (Sport KISS)

Nice day at Lobos. Went down with Norbert, Alan, and Norbert’s friend Sergio, taking out Norbert’s 17′ Montauk whaler. No issue launching with 3 people in water, high tide and dead calm. Gorgeous topside, pretty green below (it’s been like that…). Still very nice dive, circled the pinnacle here at 70-80′ going deeper in places. Got a little turned around and quite surprised to come across the anchor at the end. Stights include fair bits of hydrocoral, a nice but shy adult wolf eel Alan found in a crack (Norbert and Sergio had gone ahead of us), nice cabezon doing a kelp leaf impersonation, various fish and so forth, nice topography. Also flushed some trimix off my 80 (on the right feeling comfortable now) for a cearer head at depth (ca nstill get lost though).

Dive #514, 7/21/2006
Great Pinnacle, Point Lobos, CA
25′ vis, 58 min @ 91′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice 2nd dive at the great pinnacle. Dropped anchor right in the sand channel, though it settled right at the base in 90′, right over a drop to probably 130’+. Circled the pinnacle most of the way, then found a cut back to the anchor (which I was a little too wide for with stages, damaging some bryozoans but no hydrocoral I think). Highlight though was right at the beginning, with the big sheepshead Victor who lives here coming right up to me, a couple feet away, and sitting there staring for the better part of 10 minutes. Just sat there watching, with Alan messing with something by the anchor (good buddy aren’t I). Then the sheepshead took off (reappearing briefly later) and we did the dive, all the usual suspects. Alan went up a few minutes before me, we met briefly on the line but I had several min deco to do (even that doesn’t seem very conservative with my comp).

Dive #515, 7/30/2006
Ballbuster, Monterey, CA
50′ vis, 82 min @ 104′ (Sport KISS)

Beautiful conditions topside and a great dive. No wind and flat as can be, paddled out and quite a crowd already on the rock — talked to Chuck on his SI, Tom had also arrived and Kawika already down (who’s who of ba_diving). No one’s line was over the pinnacle so I hooked it and dove. Water dirty but could still see quite aways, spent about 30-40 min at 90’+ before coming up top, beginning ascent at 60 min. Usual sights, couple gorgonians, couple spanish shawls, juvenile rosy, numerous lings and some nice scallops, was shooting the corynactis a lot, nice. Despite all the boats, not too crowded on the pinnacle.

Dive #516, 7/30/2006
West Pinos, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 70 min @ 82′ (Sport KISS)

Extremely nice dive at a new spot about .9 miles W of Coral Street. Large rock coming to 25′ or so, cascading down to 100′ with lots of big rocks and short walls and places for stuff to hide. Top layer pretty bad vis, but most of the dive was at 70′ where it cleared up some. Great fish life. Could tell as I dropped this area doesn’t get many divers/fishers, big school of blues swam right up to check me out, many more schools throughout the dive. Also three treefish, two chinas, one smaller rosy, three sheephead including one smaller male, then various rocks and lings and perch and so forth. Great inverts too. Scattered clumps of hydrocoral, but also saw several patches of encrusting hydrocoral, unusual. Also a single sponge with six hermissenda on it, heh. Turned at around 40+ min and wandered back to a different rock for ascent, nice to have tether.

Dive #517, 7/30/2006
Aumentos, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 81 min @ 73′ (Sport KISS)

And a nice way to wrap up the day. Spent the bulk of the dive to the E/NE of the rock in 60′, returning only at the end for ascent. Nice corynactis and metridiums here. Sights include a big bold red rock crab, cabezon, lings and all the rest, plus a nice red brotula in a crack, played hide and seek with camera for several minutes but no good shots. Managed to get computer into deco doing this (was set for 21% thanks to stupid defaults) and by the time I got to the rock for ascent had nearly 1 hr of deco! Watched a big tight school of opaleyes for a bit then several min at 20′ and 10′ to be on the safe side, then violation ah well.

Dive #518, 8/3/2006
Ballbuster, Monterey, CA
70′ vis, 70 min @ 109′ (Sport KISS)

Awesome beautiful dive at Ballbuster. Tagging along for an instructor course Alan was doing for a shop owner Ralph from LA. Wonderful conditions, incredibly clear on the bottom (if dirtier on the line). Got down and after a few minutes spotted a wolf eel out in the open (~3′ long) foraging on top and didn’t mind us one bit even when we got within a couple feet of it. Watched for several mniutes, then a mola came cruising over the rock. Finally!! Crazy kooky looking fish. Alan and Ralph went to the bottom to demo drills, I got distracted fixing the reel and did not join them, which was a problem as Ralph had a few issues and aborted that part. So finished up the dive by cruising north on the reel, still awesome scenery with a few large vermilion and numerous juvenile rosy rockfish. Coming back the eel was still cruising around, now with a kelp greenling trying to chase it off. Watched a few minutes then ascended.

Dive #519, 8/3/2006
Eric’s Pinnacle, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 52 min @ 66′ (Sport KISS)

Interesting 2nd dive. Anchored next to the pinnacle, then cruised around a while seeing the usual suspects, finding my way back to anchor. Ralph did the drills perfectly, spotted a small wolf eel and showed it around, right next to the pinnacle, swam a bit more and started ascent. I moved the (heavy) anchor out to the sand so it wouldn’t bind, but on ascent could not catch my breath, started nose breathing and felt a headache coming on. Assumed CO2 and bailed out, symptoms went away. Scrubber had 4 hrs, plus after the dive I found over a cup of water in each lung (had a cocktail waiting for me), and sorb was quite wet. What I assume is the water got in during the SI, when I left the unit floating but had forgotten to close the DSV. Complacency bad.

Dive #520, 8/4/2006
Aumentos, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 40 min @ 65′ (Sport KISS)

Short and largely aborted dive at Aumentos. Got down and one of Alan’s displays flooded and another of his cells died. After that and the problems yesterday were definitely safer calling it off. Had reeled out some before calling it, so went back to the base of the anchor line and finished several more drills for Ralph before ascending. First trimix dive.

Dive #521, 8/4/2006
Hopkins Deep, Monterey, CA
40′ vis, 73 min @ 94′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive at Hopkins. While Alan wasn’t diving he was gracious enough to drop me off out here. Borrowed a VR3 to try out during the dive, forgot to change SP from .7 to 1.2 until about 40 min in so had a bit of extra deco to do. Dropped in the 75′ range, then reeled out pretty much to the end of the reef. Very pretty with the metridiums, deeper parts they looked like they were glowing, in full bloom and nice vis. Nice sights include a juvenile treefish sharing a crack with a red brotula, hah! Some nice schools of blues and perch. Found a straw hat missing its center and brought it up, some blues tried to nibble it, oi. Oh yeah, first deeper trimix dive, reduction in narcosis is very nice.

Dive #522, 8/13/2006
Goat Harbor, Catalina, CA
50′ vis, 91 min @ 78′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice 1st dive on Catalina. Trip on the Vision through Bamboo Reef in SF, trimix course with Alan Studley as well. Reports of a throng of black sea bass in some kelp nearby, dropped and headed over and saw them sitting right there. Very cool fish. BIG, smallest around 3′ and bulky, largest over 5′ and very bulky, probably several hundred pounds. Spent ~70 min just hanging out here in a 20′ square area, OC divers coming and going but me staying. Bass initially somewhat wary but towards the end they did not seem to mind me being there at all. At multiple points had them swim up to my back, but didn’t like eye contact or me looking direct at them. Later though they were more accepting and had several face/offs from only inches away. Awesome. Sea bass striking a kelp bass at the end, cool. Other stuff a couple bat rays nice, but main is the BSB.

Dive #523, 8/13/2006
Goat Harbor, Catalina, CA
50′ vis, 62 min @ 82′ (Sport KISS)

Quickie 2nd dive at Goat Harbor before the boat leaves. Went past the BSB to a rockier wall with more life on it — rest is just a scree with scattered rocks and kelp. Not too much new, communed with the BSB for a few minutes on the way back. Other stuff saw some more bat rays, one resting on the bottom and a couple off swimming in formation. A couple scorpionfish up in 30′ near the anchor, walk out when tip-toeing along rocks, especially with bare hands (and bare head!). Dead leopard shark w/fishing leader.

Dive #524, 8/13/2006
Long Point, Catalina, CA
50′ vis, 71 min @ 59′ (Sport KISS)

Nice varied dive further south towards Avalon. Heading south from anchor first part of dive was loose rocks with lots of kelp and fish. Further on had a more solid wall with lots more kelp and LOTS of cracks for stuff to hide in. Saw two morays, one pretty big, three horn sharks, lots of lobsters, lots of treefish and scorpionfish. Best was a crack with a horn shark, moray and two lobsters entranced by my light. Also lots of garibaldi very annoyed at me, one going so far as to bite me on the top of my head, hah.

Dive #525, 8/13/2006
Torqua Springs, Catalina, CA
40′ vis, 55 min @ 38′ (Sport KISS)

Kind of boring dive with little to recommend. Kelp forest pretty thick on a rocky bottom, but not a huge amount of life out and about, visibility between pretty silty and really clear, average not so good. Took my reel and camera (reel due to current and tricky navigation, camera for banging on rocks), reeled 400′ south, came back, caribaldi trying to eat my line, reeled 300′ north, came back, surfaced. Night dive supposedly nice.

Dive #526, 8/14/2006
Farnsworth Bank, Catalina, CA
80′ vis, 113 min @ 153′ (Sport KISS)

Awesome wonderful dive at Farnsworth. Arrived at 6:30 and got stages etc. to get in water, so excited I forgot my fins, oops. Got those on, swam to the bow in clear, blue pretty much tropical water, dropped down to a rough rocky ridge at 60′ or so. With Alan, who was doing video, with me reeling the whole dive (not strictly necessary but good for peace of mind), we went down to the rim of the north wall at 80′, checked out the beautiful gorgonians up there, then dropped right down to the bottom of the wall at 150′. Felt fine with the trimix, very light narcosis but nothing worse than I’d normally have at 80-100′ on air. Base is sand, with still more hydrocoral and old fish nets draping the rocks. Big torpedo ray nearby, which we watched for a few minutes before it lazily swam back up the wall. Reeled away from the wall a minute, didn’t see anything so headed back and east along the 140′ contour. Hit the east end of the rock with a channel (current) and rocks just plastered with hydrocoral on the other side. Just incredible. This about 20 min into the dive, turned and headed back at 130′, slowly ascending to 100′, where the bulk of the remaining dive was spent. Continued past the entry west along the top of the wall, more mydrocoral, more gorgonians, just beautiful. Nice sights lots of small treefish, spanish shawls, large groups of blacksmith feeding in the currents (lots of ‘clines, currents going different directions, wild), several large scorpionfish, large ling cod, tiny cute purple cabezon, on and on and on. Came up to the anchor line and Alan found an octopus pursued by the voracious sheephead all over the pinnacle. Had plastered into a crevice sliding around, had to bat the sheepheads out of the way to get a look. Alan trashed an urchin trying to get to the anchor, and the sheepheads proceeded to tear it apart, real feeding frenzy going on with the octo getting away. Ascended for a bright blue 20 minutes in very warm water. EXCELLENT.

Dive #527, 8/14/2006
Farnsworth Bank, Catalina, CA
80′ vis, 66 min @ 86′ (Sport KISS)

More mellow but still great dive on Farnsworth. Took the camera and went down with Alan on the south side of the rock heading east. Fairly steep slope going deep here, if not a true wall, lots of hydrocoral and gorgonians if not quite as good as the north wall. Quite the variety of fish, adult and many juvenile treefish, sheephead, scorpionfish, and on. Decent current around the anchor, dropped to 80′ and it cooled down, kept going until the end (passing over the Conception’s anchor, which came during the SI) and got blasted by the cold water coming up the face. Huge school of several thousand blacksmith, so dense you could hardly see through them. Spent a while here then turned, hit the current again at the anchor line but hand-over-handed up to 40′ where it died. 8 minute warm hang again.

Dive #528, 8/14/2006
Eagle Reef, Catalina, CA
40′ vis, 73 min @ 93′ (Sport KISS)

OK third dive at Eagle Reef. Bad vis at the west and so ended up here. Big juble of rocks going to 60′, then sand sloping off. Dropped in the sand initially, went out (some leafy kelp around too) and found a nice pinnacle with base at 100′, following the 80′ contour around. Several lobster, moray, nice scallop and gorgonians and a couple nudis blue and yellow new to me. Went back and up to the 50-40′ range looking at garibaldi and other fish, kind of a jumbled area. Problem was getting up to 30′ the current picked up pretty good, and with no boat in sight we ended up doing a free ascent, me swimming pretty hard to keep in place. Surfaced not too far and caught the current line swimming over to pull myself back in. REAL problem was more CO2 issues, almost from the outset with mostly anxiety and increased WOB, no water in C-lungs but wet sorb. Got really bad on the ascent, very hard to stay down for the stop and a great relief to hit the surface.

Dive #529, 8/15/2006
Bird Rock, Catalina, CA
40′ vis, 88 min @ 85′ (Sport KISS)

Very pretty dive at Bird Rock near two harbors. Anchored W/SW of the rock over a ledge at 20′. Dropped here and spent several minutes in the kelp waiting for Alan, shooting the many garibaldi flitting about. Over the ledge and down to 60-70′ going CW around the rock, kind of blah for a while then saw more and more gorgonians, some very nice. Got about half way around and decided to turn it, headed shallower to the 40-50′ range on the (shorter) way back, much nicer sights. Several walls just covered in gorgonians, a few ledges with gorgonians on the ceiling and other fish, life. Kelp and clear water. Just beautiful, relaxed, nice dive.

Dive #530, 8/15/2006
Ship Rock, Catalina, CA
60′ vis, 89 min @ 173′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive at Ship Rock. Plan was to swim from the anchor on SE side, go around to the north, drop to the base of the rock, stay 10 min then go for a nice leisurely ascent. Whcih was pretty much what we did. Sights early on a squadron of 3 big bat rays going by at 30′, Alan saw several huge white sea bass which I missed, d’oh, then the drop to a shelf at 100′ where I set the reel and headed out. Quickly found a nice wide passage flowing down to the sand around 180′, walls on either side and excellent visibility letting us see out over the sand. Life down here reminded me of Monterey: corynactis, some zoanthids, overall very thick. Several treefish, two starry rockfish, nice, gorgonian with diamond back tritonia and two more tritonia around the base. Went back up, 1 min deep stops from 100′ to 70′, then continuing CCW around to our start point working depth up to 30′. Not much here, but nice time in shallows (no deco left, just having fun) watching the garibaldi. ~20 barracuda came by in the shallows.

Dive #531, 8/15/2006
Little Farnsworth, Catalina, CA
60′ vis, 51 min @ 110′ (Sport KISS)

Cool kind of crazy dive at Little Farnsworth, a pinnacle just south of Avalon. Dropped away from the down line and got blown off a bit by the current, dropping to the bottom at 110′ where it slacked off and worked up to the pinnacle itself. Lots of gorgonians, zoanthids, other soft corals in many different colors, lots of blacksmith feeding, other fish flitting about. Good sights a very cooperative cabezon, big moray in a crack, and best of all a black sea bass that came shooting down a canyon right next to me, awesome. Relatively short dive wanting to avoid much deco in the current, but the short 6 min hang went fine. Light streaming down sides of the boat after, beautiful.

Dive #532, 8/15/2006
Inside Eagle Reef, Catalina, CA
30′ vis, 59 min @ 49′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice and interesting night dive. First one on the rebreather, no problem, and first using the reel (somewhat of a problem. Reeling out fine, back only an issue when line got caught in kelp, juggling reel, line, and light cannon difficult). Site was in on the shore, lots and lots of kelp down to 30′ then some nice sand. Great sights include a big guitarfish, couple stingrays, 4+ horn sharks all sitting out in the open — hardly reacted even if I picked them up by the tail, LOTS of lobsters, some quite big, one feeding on another dead lobster, creepty. Also a very cute little octopus, putting up two tentacles like a shield as I moved around. Tried to get it onto my hand but shot off and inked a couple times and didn’t want to stress it anymore. Nice colorful scorpionfish, some dazed sheephead, various others flitting about. Nice.

Dive #533, 8/16/2006
Ruby Rock, Santa Cruz Island, CA
20′ vis, 61 min @ 60′ (Sport KISS)

Last day of trip went to Santa Cruz for a shorter ride home. Nice dive on the front side, just E of the painted cave. Dropped in kind of junky poor viz kelp forest, reeled out around the point to the W where it dropped off, viz improving a bit and more life. Cockerell’s dorid, two large TP sheephead and several very large females (guess they’ve been fished out of Catalina), lots of orange cup corals and various life. On return to the anchor line did some drills, playing with new QDs on DSV and stage reg, as well as flushing. When switching from stage to DSV accidentally opened DSV in water for a few seconds, exhale harder and difficulty getting water back through mushrooms. Just stayed prone/vertical and no problem w/slow ascent and draining exhale hose at surface. Sorb dry, C-lungs empty.

Dive #534, 8/16/2006
Toyo Something, Santa Cruz Island, CA
15′ vis, 56 min @ 54′ (Sport KISS)

Pretty blah dive in the kelp and sand and crap viz near a beach in NW Santa Cruz. Couple spanish shawls, a kelpfish. Oh and lots of divers following my line around — kind of handy for navigation and turn-off-your-brain not that that’s a bad thing. Mask-off drill back at the chain, initially tried to nose breathe but got comfortable after a few seconds. Mask floated off my arm but found it OK — hi viz yellow good.

Dive #535, 8/19/2006
Alan’s Arch, Big Sur, CA
50′ vis, 52 min @ 109′ (Sport KISS)

Awesome little dive off Yankee Point, paddled up from Soberanes. No current and little wind make for a relaxing descent compared to previous times up here. The arch here is awesome, about 20′ high and 15′ wide, sand bottom and lots of zoanthids on the inside. Very cool with green light coming through, many blues and yellowtails swimming around, and a young harbor seal at beginning of the dive going around and through the arch. Neat feature a small cave on west side under the arch, goes back and up surprisingly far. Nice fish sights a juvenile yelloweye rockfish, my first in Monterey, several rosy rockfish. Lots of big scallops, thick encrusting life. Didn’t explore much besides the arch to avoid excess N2/He before the next dive.

Dive #536, 8/19/2006
Flintstones, Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 91 min @ 115′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice relaxed dive at Flintstones exploring the supper reaches by reel. No extraordinary sights, vermilions, thick school of blues on SE, nice very pretty cabezon. Wonderful encrusting life, just great to swim around admiring it. Lots of metridiums at 110′ beginning of dive, then 90-100′ on NW rock checking hydrocoral/corynactis, 80-90′ on S rock going around, then 60-70′ near the top of the central rock, doing a full circle of the pinnacle by reel. Accumulated around 20 min deco on Oceanic, skipped last 5 due to breathing 80% for gas.

Dive #537, 8/19/2006
Malpaso Kelp, Big Sur, CA
30′ vis, 78 min @ 84′ (Sport KISS)

Another pretty nice relaxed dive checking out the kelp forest well south of Malpaso (MALPASO KLP GPS). Even just a hundred feet away this site very different than last time here. Lots of short ridges and walls to follow, reeled out from origin three times in different directions. Nice little gunnel, couple lings, vermilion, lots of rockfish, some thick encrusting life, and on.

Dive #538, 8/20/2006
Soberanes Wall, Big Sur, CA
100′ vis, 73 min @ 141′ (Sport KISS)

AWESOME gorgeous dive, first time here in a while. Zero current, anchored in kelp and dropped a line to follow down. Somewhat dirty top layer (30′), down to 60 fsw and reeled down to the base. Viz opened WAY up, can’t recall any clearer, calmer water ever in Big Sur or Carmel. Just stunningly beautiful. Subdued lighting, looked out over a sandy valley to the many bouquets of Metridiums just GLOWING in the light. Numerous blues and yellowtails hanging about, few vermilions, several juvenile rosy rockfish, kelp greenlings. Went north close to the base of the wall (sand at 140-150′), then crossing the channel to peer down and out in the 160′ sand. 40 min bottom time just swimming about (avg 130′), then followed tables up to the minute (slight stress dealing with line at 10′ stop) for a 73 min total runtime.

Dive #539, 8/26/2006
Lobos Rocks, Big Sur, CA
70′ vis, 93 min @ 130′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice and pretty dive on the outside of the rocks. Anchored near the pinnacle to the south of the outer rock, then reeled (not really necessary) out and around CW between the 110′ and 120′ contours. This section is very nice, alternating between sheer walls covered with metridiums and corynactis, and sloping boulder fields teeming with fish. Saw several huge vermilions, including one chasing another around, huge ling back in a crack, cute little wolf eel poking several inches out of a hole, sailfin sculpin, lots of greenlings and blues out and about. Partly because no sea lions showed up (boo!) guess I got there too early as they started swimming around after I surfaced and was hanging out. A couple HUGE abalone in cracks on the way outside; after spending the reel saw a rock off the main wall and checked it out a while, starting back at 32 min or so. Plan was a BT of 60 min at 110′ (went shallower on the way back in) and 30 min ascent by the tables. No issues.

Dive #540, 8/26/2006
Malpaso 3, Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 77 min @ 87′ (Sport KISS)

Pretty if fairly uneventful dive. Went down and reeled around between 70′ and 80′. Lots of hydrocoral, corynactis, found again the one area here with lots of sponge and zoanthid cover, nice. Found rosy rockfish acting weird, would swim right at me and come within one inch, sometimes touching me, then dart away and do it again, repeating several times. At surface before dive I had set a kelp anchor in a big plant at the surface. During the dive a N current came up and pushed the kelp far enough underwater to snap the anchor. Fortunately I had ALSO tied in a 2nd anchor to the bottom itself. Otherwise I would have come up to find no kayak and that would fucking suck. Cheap lesson.

Dive #541, 8/26/2006
South Malpaso 5, Big Sur, CA
40′ vis, 64 min @ 74′ (Sport KISS)

Nice and relaxed dive at a moundish pinnacle at the southern edge of the Malpaso kelp bed. Top at 50′, bottom at 100’ish. Reeled and went most of the way around, looking at hydrocoral, corynactis, the usual encrusting life, a couple very big schools of blues and yellowtails. Interesting event at the end, ran very low on O2 (below-intermediate-pressure low) and also felt CO2 nose breathing symptoms coming on, so turned O2 off and decided to practice SCR with 50% bottle. Easy to do with quick disconnects for BOV, and only used a couple hundred psi of 50% for a 10 minute ascent.

Dive #542, 8/27/2006
North Diablo 2, Big Sur, CA
80′ vis, 60 min @ 128′ (Sport KISS)

Great first dive at the Diablo Pinnacles. Bad waypoint so dropped on a small rock 200′ W of where I wanted to be, top at 120′ and bottom around 140′. Lots of fish about and quite a few sponges and gorgonians. Decided to head south and quickly came across a nice big rock coming up to 90′. Off to the NW was a huge pillar rising up with sheer walls, N side just covered in sponges. Awesome. Numerous chinas, rosies, other rockfish about. Slowly went up on top of the larger rock and looked about. Nice red brotula in a crack, not too shy. Bottom time was 20 @ 120, 2 @ 100, then a 20 min ascent. Deeper than I’d wanted; only had the 19 to bail on (ooh…) aut worked out. Current picked up over the dive; going off the top of the pinnacle I was quickly whisked away, glad to be on a tether, about .6 kt. Between that and some NW wind at the surface, headed back to Soberanes for 2nd dive.

Dive #543, 8/27/2006
Lobos Rocks, Big Sur, CA
15′ vis, 35 min @ 64′ (Sport KISS)

Nice but aborted dive at the rocks. Current up here still running pretty good, stayed on tether and down to 50-60′ where it was still running, annoying. STayed on this wall (SE of the inner rock) looking at anemones and fish etc. for a while, then felt a strong tug on the kayak and had to hold on to avoid getting dragged away. Decided to finish there and come up, a large wad of kelp had caught on the tether and was getting dragged N by the current. D’oh, ah well. Neatest bit before the dive with lots of pelicans and birds feeding on anchovy (?) being driven to the surface by the sea lions.

Dive #544, 9/1/2006
Arena Rock Plateau, Mendocino, CA
30′ vis, 83 min @ 104′ (Sport KISS)

Stunning dive at Arena Rock. Almost didn’t do this as reports in the morning were S wind and sloppy conditions as a result. Conditions improved somewhat, and after running into Dave who was going out, decided to just go and motor up on Alan’s RIB. Way up wasn’t bad, and way back with a following sea was a breeze. Never much wind (though it was S). Current running north from top to bottom the whole dive, .3-.6 knots and could definitely feel it. Hand-over-hand down, my reel fell (f’ing snagged bolt snap) but Alan saw and retrieved with me staying on the line.

Then, the dive itself. Again, stunning. From structure to fish to encrusting life, everything was just outstanding, and amazingly different from what’s seen in Monterey. Structure: anchor laying over a wall, top at 90′, bottom 120’ish, went around looking at overhangs, holes in the reef, ??? and then finding a really nice arch about 20′ wide and 10′ tall, then a plateau for a bit and drop to field of big boulders at 100′. Lots of up and down; really unique (reminding me of Kauai though). Fish: also outstanding. The real shocker was all the yelloweye rockfish, big ones just everywhere, often saw several at once and just really really cool to see these guys. China rockfish also abundant, many quite big, couple giant vermilion, several large lings, gigantic school of blues, some swimming by inches from my mask. Nice. Mosshead warbonnet, lots of smaller fish about whenever I took a close look at any section of reef. Encrustingn life: also outstanding (sounding like a broken record). Very thick zoanthids, tons of scallops many very big, corynactis, lots of sea strawberries (soft coral from the red wall at Browning Pass), haven’t seen that in a while! Small patches of encrusting hydrocoral.

Just total sensory overload. Incredible.

Dive #545, 9/2/2006
Arena Rock North, Mendocino, CA
20′ vis, 70 min @ 92′ (Sport KISS)

Great 2nd dive at the rock, though not nearly as nice a spot. Nicer conditions than yesterday and kayaked out the 1.6 miles from the point itself. Dropped on the north side of the main wash rock in about 60-70′, some structure but not spectacular. Lots of big rockfish — vermilions, chinas. Headed around east and found a nice mini-spire about 30′ tall cloaked in a dense chool of blues. Narrow gap on one side almost like a ravine, dropped down and looked around, more vermilions and several yelloweyes. Swam along following a wall then turned it and went back. Had my camera on this dive for taking some mediocre shots, managing the camera AND reel is still a real cluster fuck. Ah well.

Dive #546, 9/2/2006
Arena Rock Pinnacle, Mendocino, CA
40′ vis, 57 min @ 85′ (Sport KISS)

Nice dive at an extremely nice site. Great pinnacle here with top around 30′, bottom around 100′, walls nearly vertical, covered with life even denser than the other two spots done here. Spent this dive around 80′, AWESOME network of caves just riddling the pinnacle around this depth. Many with several exits, could swim through many passages of various widths and heights, some shallow enough I scraped the ceiling a few times. Same fish as the past two dives here, some nice great big clusters of metridium. Problem with dive was I was pushing the scrubber at this point (same can from yesterday) and feeling agitated especially reeling back through the caves to get back to the boat. Started to get the nose breathing feeling once back so did SCR up to the surface. Also cold — lots of water in DS after 1st dive so pretty uncomfortable.

Dive #547, 9/10/2006
Arena Rock Plateau, Mendocino, CA
20′ vis, 88 min @ 113′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive back at Arena Rock. Used the numbers I got last time and dropped in the exact same place — surgier, cloudier vis than last time but what a great spot. Aimed to cover ground and managed to explore much of this rock. Going W/NW for about 150′, top at 80′ bottom at 110′, checked out several very large caves in the 100′ range, very nice. Made my way around and went right past the anchor line, though I missed it at first. Retraced around and then checked out the eastern part of the rock. Found the same arch etc. as last week, went further and still more caves in 100′, but top coming up to 70′ and in places 60′. Great fish life with lots of blues out, lots of yelloweyes, vermilion, chinas, and so forth.

After this dive I did a 90 min SI, down to the pinnacle SE of this spot and hooked. Then noticed there was a ~1.2 kt current running NE. Too fast for me, but couldn’t get the anchor up and decided to cut it. Ah well, too cheap to risk a boat separation over.

Dive #548, 9/16/2006
North Monastery Wall, Carmel, CA
20′ vis, 110 min @ 155′ (Sport KISS)

Wow, been a long time since I dove Carmel. Just started on top of the wall and went straight down to 150′, stayed 30 min, then came up slowly over the following 90 min. Lots of rosies, some canaries, larger specimens of some other fish I’ve seen up shallower, lots of gorgonians. Very steep (iza wall innit) some sand towards the beach but rockier moving further out, got around to the sand channel separating the main wall from the rocks east of the twin coves. Coming up shallower, some fish, inverts etc. nothing terribly interesting.

Dive #549, 9/16/2006
Mono Lobo 2, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 63 min @ 69′ (Sport KISS)

Nice relaxing dive at Mono Lobo. Had the reel so went west from this pinnacle to the base of Mono Lobo 3, about 300′ W from here. Nice swim and wouldn’t be too hard to navigate w/o the reel (think I may have done it in the past for that matter). Visit from a seal on the way back, very friendly, various fish and the usual hydrocoral. Decent vis and very pretty in the shallows. No 3rd dive as I wanted to do a night dive which ended up cancelling due to POS light cannon.

Dive #550, 9/17/2006
Jawdropper, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 84 min @ 118′ (Sport KISS)

Awesome paddle to the dive site and a nice dive to boot. All day long there were three humpback whales feeding on bait fish. Awesome watching them surface, dive, surface, dive, on and on. On both the way out and the way back got to get pretty close to them, paddle over their bubbles, listen to them, awesome. Then, probably at least 10,000 seabirds in the south bay, turn the sky black watching them fly around. Took quite a while to get to the dive site…

Which was very nice. Dove this spot a while ago and it has since been rechristened. Top at 70′, bottom at 110′ to 120′ or so. Spent much of the dive off the pinnacle looking around at metridiums, corynactis, fish and so forth, nice field of sea pens way off to the NW in 120′. Eventually came back up top and found a small zoanthid colony still here from last time, plus a young but pregnant (I think) wolf eel in 80′. 60 min + 20 min ascent.

Dive #551, 9/17/2006
Mono Lobo 1, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 58 min @ 59′ (Sport KISS)

Another nice, relaxing, pretty dive at Mono Lobo. Saw a seal I think. Been to this area before and it’s still nice.

Dive #552, 9/26/2006
Arena Rock Pinnacle, Mendocino, CA
40′ vis, 110 min @ 112′ (Sport KISS)

Pretty incredible dive at Arena Rock. Little iffy at first as despite the puny swell, there was a 15kt wind out fo the south making going out to the rock an iffy proposition. Vacillated a bit then decided to just screw it and headed out. >1kt current at the site but went in anyways… gott pay to play. No current on the bottom though and just wonderful. Anchored in the exact spot as last time I was here, down at the base on the west side of the rock. Set the reel and followed the pinnacle CCW at the 90′ contour. Not nearly as many caves here as the 80′ contour and NW/N sides of the pinnacle, but still several large caverns and arches to swim through. Quite the variety of rockfish around, the usual yelloweyes, chinas, blues and so forth but also saw some groups of puget sound rockfish (not seen in a while!). Encrusting life includes the metridium and zoanthids, also some nice patches of encrusting hydrocoral. Spent the line and at the end hung out with a nice school of blues for a while. Sharp cramp in my leg all a sudden, massage a few seconds and it went away. Phew… Reeled back, finding a nice wolf eel out in the open, younger male with the muppet look. Got to the line, clipped into it and came shallower, slowly making my way up the rock. Major differences in the life even going up to 70′ — lots more sea strawberries and squat plumose anemones, some fields of mussels interesting. Up top in 35′ found another wolf eel, some very pretty anemones and cool crabs, big cabezon. Finally departed a bit after 90 min in and free float the 20′ and 10′ stops.

Then the trip home… Winds had increased to 20kt out of the south, plus I made a major error I didn’t realize until hitting the lighthouse 2.5 hours (!) later. Left the current line in the water, which picked up a bit of kelp and increased drag a LOT. Worked straight upwind to the lighthouse w/little apparent progress (due to current float), eventually decided to cut in towards shore so I could easily go in to the Manchester camp if too tired. That’s a long walk to Pt Arena though and winds not THAT strong, so saddled up and paddled the rest of the way to the lighthouse, slowly. Ah… would do the whole thing again.

Dive #553, 9/27/2006
Arena Wash Rock, Mendocino, CA
20′ vis, 63 min @ 112′ (Sport KISS)

What a difference a day makes. Zero wind, somewhat overcast, no current, so calm and quiet even 150′ south of the top of the wash rock. It falls away slowly to the north, but drops right off to the south, and this close in I was still in 110′ of water. Anchored here not wanting to risk the rock which was occasionally breaking lightly. Down through dark water to find a nice group of adult canaries greeting me at the bottom. Base was a low rubble slope which I followed up 50′ to a striking wall so steep it was usually an overhang, slotted with caves and lots of fish hanging about. Some very big yelloweyes and other fish, fair number of urchins and large anemones and not as nice encrustation as other spots around here. Reeled a couple hundred feet CCW, wall seemed to drop off in steps but still quite steep. Came across a nice large cave, and about 20′ back found an intact Puget Sound King Crab molting lying on the ground. Way cool. Decided I had to have it so left the cave with it (making a mess of the viz) and managed to reel back with it in hand, kind of a pain but not too bad. Called the dive at that point (46 min) and nice conservative ascent.

Dive #554, 9/27/2006
Arena Wall 2, Mendocino, CA
20′ vis, 80 min @ 102′ (Sport KISS)

OK dive at a spot between the tip of the point itself and Sea Lion Rocks, right off from where I was parked in fact. Spot is a long ridge or shallow wall going from 60′ or so past 100′, then coming back up to 80′. Went out to the second ridge first and spent the reel, decent fish and invert life but little resemblance to the life at the wash rock. Came back and up top of the main ridge (base and wall itself featureless and boring) with more encrusting life, but also decent surge in the W swell annoying. Chinas, blues, lings and so forth.

Dive #555, 10/6/2006
F3/G3, Carmel, CA
80′ vis, 89 min @ 143′ (Sport KISS)

Beautiful dive at G3, great visibility, blue blue blue and a beautiful site. Slight E wind (shifting to W into the dive) so dropped down the east side of the pinnacle, made my way down to 140′ and then reeled west, crossing over to F3 and getting around to the south side of that rock before turning. Got back to anchor line at 36 min then went up to top of the pinnacle to hang out in a big school of blues until 60 min, beginning final ascent then. Very nice on the bottom, big sponges, fair number of gorgonians, spectacular topography and could see over to the south end of E3. Fish life on the bottom includes many canaries and vermilion following me around, a china, several bocaccio (haven’t seen in a while), and a big bat ray cruising by on the sand below. Big terminal phase sheephead at beginning of dive and then later at peak of the pinnacle, came quite close reminding me of Victor from the great pinnacle. Also a couple females. Two sea lions on the deco. Deco problematic as I really needed to piss, cut it shorted than planned by a few minutes but no ill effects!

Dive #556, 10/6/2006
Mono Lobo 2, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 110 min @ 73′ (Sport KISS)

Nice fun long dive mono-loboing. Dropped on this small pinnacle and reeled out to the north, going out, coming back, going out in another direction, covering lots of ground and all fairly pretty. Seals all over the place. Most of the dive could turn around and see three or four swimming around. Several quite curious and came in close, tugging at fins etc. Other stuff a tiny ling cod in a crack, some tiny ab shells, fish I guess. Stupidly caught the line on top of the KISS at one point, went OC and unclipped harness to get back there and line off.

Dive #557, 10/7/2006
Outer Pinnacles 2, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 112 min @ 94′ (Sport KISS)

Nice pretty dive at the Outer Pinnacles. Dave arrived just as I did and anchored on the main rock, so I dropped a few hundred feet west. Spent most of the dive exploring S and W from there, nice but unspectacular compared to the main areas. Nicest sight a big school of over 1,000 blue rockfish, very dense in a cluster stretching up from the bottom. Eventually Dave left and I grabbed the kayak and headed over to the rock. Tons of hydrocoral, beautiful life as usual, wanted to stay longer (warm and comfortable) but stuck to planned run time and made a nice ascent.

Dive #558, 10/7/2006
Pescadero Rock, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 100 min @ 88′ (Sport KISS)

Fairly nice followup dive at Pescadero, the usual for this site. Went around CCW in search of candle rock, which was easy to find yet inexplicably missed/ignored on my previous dives here. Little 30′ pinnacle running N -> S with a fair bit of encrusting life and some kelp up top. Checked it out then slowly made my way back, then ascended.

Dive #559, 10/8/2006
Twin Coves West, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 101 min @ 104′ (Sport KISS)

Ah, first shore dive in a while killing a partially used scrubber from Arena Rock. A little rough on both entry and exit, especially with very high tide at exit, but little surge on dive itself and quite nice. Followed the 100′ contour around to the North Monastery side, then slowly made my way back at 50-60′, crossing over briefly to the E side of the cove. Highlights a triopha maculata out in the sand, nice orange / brown color, several sea lions including two juveniles chasing each other’s tails around (no wonder they like diver fins), lots of blues and very clear water in the outer kelp, beautiful.

Dive #560, 10/13/2006
Flintsontes, Big Sur, CA
60′ vis, 93 min @ 148′ (Sport KISS)

Nice deep dive at Flintstones. No current and no wind make for nice conditions. Very stupid mistake at beginning of dive to toss unit in water with DSV open. Did not notice until after donning, took it back on the kayak and emptied hose, decided to do planned dive anyways (STUPID!). Breathing Ok during dive, but could definitely notice the CO2 and felt the anxiety and mild discomfort the whole dive. Went to around 140′ the first 30 min, very pretty lots of gorgonians and scattered rockfish, incredible views of the huge walls and rocks in this area. Back to the shallower parts and slowly on up. Great conditions spoiled by a stupid mistake.

Dive #561, 10/13/2006
North Soberanes 1, Big Sur, CA
15′ vis, 66 min @ 80′ (Sport KISS)

Another problematic dive with gear. Poor visibility but nice rockfish and encrusting life, followed a wall a while before it split out into some tinier rocks and walls. About 1/2 hr in my Suunto D3 started acting up, half the digits missing but flickering in and out of that broken state. Decided to head back, once at the anchor line could feel CO2 building so went SCR for the ascent w/o issue. Afterwards found a couple cups of water in the C-lungs from the first dive, yikes!

Dive #562, 10/14/2006
South Malpaso 4, Big Sur, CA
50′ vis, 93 min @ 112′ (Sport KISS)

Yet another dive screwed by malfunctioning equipment. The D3 was doing the same antics as on the last dive, plus one of my two remaining displays bugged out, leaving me with just one. Pretty spot, first time with the deeper stuff here which seems quite nice, but spent pretty much the whole dive fucking around with gear. ARGH.

Dive #563, 10/31/2006
North Monastery, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 92 min @ 111′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice return to diving after a couple week hiatus. Major aggravation with UPS losing the shearwater ordered over a month ago for use as a display. That, plus a new Dive Rite 10W HID cave light, plus a new computer being tested for Uwatec, made for a lot of new gear. Everythingn worked great as intended though, good. Spent about 40 min at 100-110′, nice sights a juvenile GPO (I think) and starry rockfish — good to have a nice light. Up shallower the usual stuff, LOTs of seals about with some going for my fins. A big school of blues too in the shallows, many ling cods out and the kelp greenlings mating too, saw two of them doing the shaking/coloring thing.

Dive #564, 10/31/2006
Mono Lobo 2, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 123 min @ 72′ (Sport KISS)

Another very nice dive, checking out the usual stuff at Mono Lobo. Out and backs in several directions between 50-70′, shallower stuff quite nice and need to check out more in the future, find the sweet spot. Nice cabezon, seals, ling cods, lots of active greenlings, hydrocoral and encrusting life and so on.

Dive #565, 10/31/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
10′ vis, 93 min @ 46′ (Sport KISS)

Ah, first BW night dive in a long time. Easier to do when it gets dark so early. Great stuff, spending most time in the sand and tube worms. Sights include nine (!) octopus, a couple of them possible GPOs, lots of variety in appearance and temperament nice. Also beautiful white aeolids, a couple unusual orange dirona-like nudis, small pipefish, lots of small plainfin midshipmen hovering above the bottom, a huge 12″ dendronotid (with some white and most red cerata, weird) motoring around, one smaller one, big red brotula back in a crack, lots of gunnels, various fish about hunting, very nice…

Dive #566, 11/1/2006
West Butterfly, Carmel, CA
40′ vis, 133 min @ 89′ (Sport KISS)

Awesome fish-filled dive. Dropped and reeled NW at the start, a bit in looked up and 5 molas were swimming in formation right over me. Awesome! Kept going keeping an eye out, then spotted a soupfin shark! Darted off when he saw me, but later on in the dive we met again, crossing over a ridge in opposite directions, him passing by slowly just a few feet away, relaxed. Awesome! Another bigger mola later, several chinas, sheepheads, lots of fish in the water column, greenlings, on and on. After the NW followed the two main ridges in this area out, checking dense corynactis and hydrocoral, beautiful stuff all around. Stayed a nice long while, water quite warm.

Dive #567, 11/1/2006
Butterfly 3, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 82 min @ 67′ (Sport KISS)

Nice little 2nd dive in the kelp at butterfly. Dropped, reeled around a while, then went up. Nicest sights a wolf eel mostly out, got a good look at him, then a nice cabezon close by. Bright water and good encrusting life, some attention from a seal making its way through the area.

Dive #568, 11/11/2006
Outer Ballbuster 1, Monterey, CA
50′ vis, 76 min @ 129′ (Sport KISS)

Nice dive out past ballbuster. Area pretty rocky with a nice ridge to follow and some good vertical, about 120′ square with 43 min bottom time. Lots of rockfish about, sights include a juvenile yelloweye (quickly darting back into a rock), cabezon, dead mola on bottom, lings and so forth.

Dive #569, 11/11/2006
Chase Reef, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 88 min @ 77′ (Sport KISS)

Nice easy followup dive at Chase Reef, west of where I’ve gone previously. Lots of big boulders and such with lots of life on them, some encrusting hydrocoral, various fish and so forth.

Dive #570, 11/19/2006
Forgotten Pinnacle, Carmel, CA
60′ vis, 95 min @ 142′ (Sport KISS)

Really nice relaxed dive at a new-to-me spot. BIG pinnacle southwest of Sunset Point, top at 80′, bottom at 150’+ (sloping off at SE end). Went down on top, over the N side down to 140′ and then followed SE CW around until reel ran out at around the SE tip. Nice sights, some very good hydrocoral, gorgonians, lots of sponges, treefish and the usual. Came back and up to the top at 28 min in, lots of hydrocoral and life, though some dead areas and not so much life overall as some other pinnacles (*cough* G3). Another big treefish, cabezon, other fish and so forth.

Dive #571, 11/19/2006
Outer Pinnacles 1, Carmel, CA
50′ vis, 112 min @ 80′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice dive at Outer Pinnacles with CO2 issues at end. Went south and found some nice walls with lots of great color. Went back to main rock and looked around some. Then back to Anchor, started to get CO2 hit at about 90 min in (3 hr on scrubber), bailed to 50% and ascended OK with stops jumping up due to lower PO2.

Dive #572, 11/19/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 69 min @ 45′ (Sport KISS)

Very nice night dive on fresh scrubber. 5 octopus, three mating catalinae triopha, dendronotids, the usual stuff, not too exciting. Very good vis for BW diving.

Dive #573, 11/25/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
25′ vis, 38 min @ 45′

Ah, first OC dive in a while, with Mom visiting from Arizona to get some drysuit dives in. Went out and then over to the BW wall, spending most time on the sand. Dendronotid, assorted small stuff. Mom seemed pretty comfortable, we were both underweighted though (I need 18 lb with Aluminum tank) and had to pick up rocks, Mom bounced to surface as we were coming in.

Dive #574, 11/25/2006
Breakwater Reef, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 38 min @ 40′

2nd BW dive with Mom, went straight out then west towards the met fields pipe. Got most of the way there but turned in shortly after getting to the good rocks — much more relief on west side of this reef. Weighting for me was good, Mom still light and had trouble last part of dive, popping up near the end.

Dive #575, 11/25/2006
Breakwater Wall, Monterey, CA
20′ vis, 49 min @ 42′

Good night dive with Mom. No octos (darn!) but some juv cabezon, clown dorid, other associated nice fish. Pretty calm and relaxed, usual…. weight good all around (Mom w/26 lb I think).

Dive #576, 11/26/2006
Chase Reef, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 46 min @ 51′

Very good boat dive with Mom, booked 2 anks on the Silver Prince, staying on the east end of Chase Reef SW of Aumentos. Little wall here with some nice stuff, went off it and found a couple nice big rocks with lots of life on top, good corynactis, nice sponges, fish, decorator crabs, etc. Back towards anchor found a pretty brown female wolf eel, neat to look at right near the anchor.

Dive #577, 11/26/2006
Aquarium, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 39 min @ 56′

Very nice 2nd boat dive with Mom. Off the aquarium in 50′, not been here before but quite nice. Rocky ridge to follow, fishy dive with large sheephead, lots of perch and rockfish and so forth. A few metridium, some encrusting life.

Dive #578, 12/2/2006
E3, Point Lobos, CA
50′ vis, 85 min @ 146′ (Sport KISS)

Great dive at E3. Dropped at G3, over to F3, then cross the channel and stay near the top of the pinnacle, 120-130’. Lots of fish, very good invertebrates.

Dive #579, 12/2/2006
Mono Lobo, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 101 min @ 82′ (Sport KISS)

Mono Lobo dive, I’m sure it was nice and relaxing.

Dive #580, 12/6/2006
Twin Coves, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 120 min @ 170′ (Sport KISS)

Nice long deep dive at Monastery starting at twin coves. Slow descent hitting 170′ at 20 min, came back up hitting 70′ at 45 min. After a while on Monastery side crossed to other side, pissed my drysuit, came in.

Dive #581, 4/1/2007
Lovers 2, Monterey, CA
15′ vis, 39 min @ 33′

First dive with Mom after a long time out of the water sailing. Kind of boring.

Dive #582, 4/1/2007
Coral Street, Monterey, CA
30′ vis, 38 min @ 36′

Much better followup dive, first time from shore here and very nice. Went straight out, school of senoritas, various fish, etc.

Dive #583, 4/2/2007
Cannery Point, Point Lobos, CA
40′ vis, 38 min @ 63′

Very good conditions at Lobos and nice dive, got pretty far out and a good look at the place. Lots of fish.

Dive #584, 4/2/2007
Cannery Point, Point Lobos, CA
40′ vis, 42 min @ 45′

More good stuff at Lobos, stayed more on middle reef side following edge of small channel out.

Dive #585, 4/22/2007
Twin Coves, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 90 min @ 100′ (Sport KISS)

Nice dive N monastery side of twin coves.

Dive #586, 4/22/2007
Twin Coves, Carmel, CA
30′ vis, 70 min @ 105′ (Sport KISS)

Nice dive E side of twin coves.

Dive #587, 6/9/2007
Diamond Knot, Juan de Fuca, WA
30′ vis, 80 min @ 122′ (Sport KISS)

Great dive at the diamond knot. Some current at bottom but not bad. Good vis, awesome life — wolf eel, warbonnets, great encrusting life and so forth. Nice cloud of puget sound rockfish in superstructure. Most of dive at 80′, ascended at 65 min.

Dive #588, 6/10/2007
Diamond Knot, Juan de Fuca, WA
30′ vis, 63 min @ 119′ (Sport KISS)

Another great dive at the Knot. Went in later hoping to get closer to slack but was actually further past it; no surface current but significant bottom. Missed wreck totally on descent but found it quick, fortunately. But eventually current got too strong and took off for the surface at 55 min.

Editor’s Note:

I stopped logging my dives at this point, and don’t have a precise record of what came afterwards. In the summer of 2007 I did some more aggressive diving in the NW, including multiday kayak diving/camping trips to Deception Pass, Cape Flattery, and Browning Pass. After that I stopped diving regularly, and except for a few dive trips to La Paz, God’s Pocket, and East Cayman, did not dive again until fall 2014 when Lisa and I began diving off Magic.

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