As Friday as Good Friday, we set off early to get to the LDS in order to rent Mark a drysuit. Having taken care of those details, we made our way down to Monterey with the intention of meeting up with Ron and Kent and doing a night dive at the Breakwater. After dinner, we made our way over to the Breakwater. Soon Ron and Kent arrived and we were all gearing up for the night dive, moon rising slowly over Seaside, brightly lighting the sea. After gearing up, however, our fates changed and we realized that Mark was experiencing a slow leak through his Air2. After trying unsuccessfully to remedy the problem, we decided that we’d rather retire to the hotel to watch some TV and relax rather than to deal with the equipment issues.
Saturday morning arrived nice and early and we were off to the dive shop to get Mark’s equipment checked out. Finding out that it was the 1st stage of Mark’s regulator that was blowing overly hard, we swapped out hoses and got Mark a rental 1st stage and were off to check out Lover’s Point.
Because of the northwestern swell, Lover’s 2 and 3 were not diveable and Lover’s 1, because of the shallowness of the site would have been pretty churned up. So we drove over to the Breakwater to meet up with Michelle and Greg. Soon enough we were all there and gearing up for the 1st dive – planning to dive to the Metridium Field as Greg had not been there.
Making our way down to the water, Michelle and Greg entered first. Soon Mark was finned up and heading into the water. As soon as I started to get my fins on, one of my fin assemblies malfunctioned. After trying to rethread the fin strap in the water, I reasoned that it would be easier to do on shore because of the water conditions. As soon as I swam back to shore with only one fin, I found out that it the pin around which the strap threads was missing so it would have been impossible to have fixed it without a new assembly. Fortunately I had another, unfortunately it was up the stairs, across the grass and in the car, and the key was inside of Mark’s drysuit. So up we went – hard work.
After swapping out the assembly, we made our way back. As we were walking in, Michelle and Greg were finishing their dive having been unable to locate the “big pipe.” Mark and I contented ourselves with diving the Middle Reef area of the Breakwater, checking out condition of the kelp growth.
The swim out was somewhat onerous because of the water conditions. We dropped down and the water conditions were “green” – visibility being somewhat disturbed, to put it lightly. However, we began swimming around, taking photos of the Bat stars (Asterina miniata) and checking out the rocks. Drifting past us, a strand of kelp with squid eggs attached. The kelp was beautiful, nicely growing in and making me anxious for its full growth – long fronds with blades bending around gas bladders. Snails clinging to the leaves.
Swimming along, Mark was handling his drysuit very well given that it had been a while since we were certified in them. However, because dive shops generally don’t trim the drysuit seals anymore than necessary to accommodate the “average” renter, Mark’s circulation in his right hand was soon being constricted. Approximately 20 minutes into the dive, Mark’s hand was paining him and we decided to head back to the surface and end the dive. On shore we quickly got Mark out of the suit and only then realized just how badly the suit was cutting off his circulation. However, he stayed warm – mission accomplished.
After the surface interval, Mark decided that he would rather soak up the warm sun than to deal with the tight wrist seal. So Michelle, Greg and I ventured out to check out the Breakwater Wall, each of us with our cameras in tow. Swimming out nearly to the “6” marker on the BW Wall, we descended into a flurry of particulate in the water column. We continued to swim away from the shore, down towards the area in which the sand dips down, and the tube anemone begin to appear at about 40 feet. There were tons of moon jellies floating around in the water, some inside out. We made our way back towards the Wall, and the visibility improved slightly. And the nudibranchs began to appear. Clown dorids (Triopha carpenteri), Sea Lemons (Peltodoris nobilis) and a lot of San Diego Dorids (Diaulula sandiegensis), one even hanging onto a piece of kelp, gracefully balancing in the movement of the water. A large Sun Star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) tucked into a crevice between the rocks.
While the computer was registering water temps of 50 degrees (something I normally do not have many problems with), I think that the recent weight loss has resulted in my wetsuit fitting less snug, and I kept having water flush in and out of the top of my suit, resulting in my being very cold. While I managed to stay down as long as the others, the need to put away the camera in order to kick around and warm myself up was beginning to be a nuisance. Soon we were heading back and then had to surface as we had gotten separated from Greg when he stopped to take some photos. We regrouped on the surface and since I had started with only 2500 PSI, I was at 600 PSI and we were only a short distance from the surface, so I decided to swim back on the surface while Michelle and Greg descended and made their way back.
Needless to say, the swim back was rough. The water currents were not in my favor and while I have every confidence in my swimming and scuba abilities, the movement of the water resulted in a very difficult surface swim. I walked up on shore feeling completely tired, but in one piece and safe. I waited on the beach while Greg and Michelle got out, Michelle having gotten slightly tumbled in the surf while removing her fins. The walk up to the car felt like it would never end – but soon enough, Mark was helping me take my gear off and we were relaxing post dive.
But now I am looking forward to some warm water …….. Soon ... Soon.
Favorite Photo from the Day