Several reliable sources told me Friday was terrible: the swell is bad, couldn’t even get to ballbuster, viz was 10 all the way down, heavy nettle 20-65 Stay home. And my favorite: just make pea soup and jump in. Slap your face to simulate nettles.
But, having already paid, we went anyway to see what we could salvage of the weekend:
As advertized, ball buster was not going to happen Saturday. We fell back to Hopkins deep, where the crap-o-cline finally broke about 20 feet off the bottom. Viz was enough to see your buddy & a little more. Not great, but not entirely cringe worthy. Swells weΩΩre big, with short period. Rough on the boat, not too surgy at depth. We just had to let go of the anchor line at 15 and give the boat a wide margin on the way to the swim step.
We saw another good sized octopus in the cracks less than 20 feet from the anchor. They seem to be getting more abundant over the last year or so, but maybe weve just been lucky
Dive 2 was at Erics Pinnacle, where we definitely got lucky #1 dive buddy saw a Cabazon strike an unfortunate juvenile monkey face eel. He had it by the tail and swam towards us, stopping every 10-15 to settle down for a few seconds. We quickly realized that MFE was not going gently into the night! His tiny jaws only opened about a cm, but he was curling back and biting at every soft spot he could find on Mr. C: Tips of the fins. eyeballs. Those nameless fleshy bits that dangle on their faces We were treated to a real knock down, rolling in the sand, Jerry Springer cat-fight! Mr C would wince at each good bite and swim a bit farther, but we never saw him let go of the eel. After a few minutes they disappeared into the crap-o-cline. #1 and I were rooting for the Eel but we did nothing to help. (apparently we are compassionate conservatives underwater) Bankers and Cabazons have to eat too I guess. Its a jungle out there.
Sunday at Whalers Cove/Point Lobos: Walked up the stairs for an overview and brief the newcomers about the site. I was expecting big waves crashing on the rocks. We got nothing. A few eddies right up against them but no white water anywhere.
We had a nice relaxing 60 minute first dive, that included a school of needle fish, a swarming ball of whale-food (some kind of free floating shrimpy thing) an unusual orange colored ling cod ~ 4 long, a wall covered in dozens of nudibranchs of all shapes, sizes and colors. On the way back, in 20 of water we stumbled upon only the second thornback ray of my life. (the first was also in whalers cove. I gotta dive the flats more. Anyone up for a cold water muck dive?)
I managed to find my buddy and then refind the ray. We hung with her for a while, cruising through the spring mix tossed greens floating along the bottom. (this was between the base of the rock wall for the parking lot and the sand channel to the mouth of the cove). After a while I signaled Larry to buddy up with the thornback. That earned an odd look but he stayed, when I went up and circus barked random passing divers into coming over and following Larry’s bubbles down. (more odd looks, but I got thanked later).
Viz was about 40. Enough to make looking up or even flipping on your back from time to time worth the effort. Summer is here. The Kelp canopy is thick, so you want to be conservative with your gas plan and humble about your nav skills on shore dives.
It seems low expectations are an important part of having a good time. Don’t stay home, there is sand out there! :-)