Dimitri, Olivia, Erica, Deenie, John and I went on the Beachhopper II today for what we were hoping would be great diving in Carmel. Brian was the Captain and Bob was the divemaster and deckhand. Skies were gray, a few rain drops on the way to Carmel. Swells were 4-5ft but the ride was overall pretty good. Brian decided to take us to what he calls Half Dome, a.k.a the Needle (see map below). This is a very nice pinnacle with a sheer wall on the south side. I dove with Deenie and John.
We went down the anchor line at 10:00 and stayed mostly on the south face of the pinnacle to protect us from the surge. The visibility was around 60 feet and the water blue. Today was the day for wide angle. Nice school of blue rockfish was hanging around. The wall was covered in corynactis anemones, sponges, bryozoans, and some hydrocoral. There were a lot of very very large Peltodoris nobilis, Doris Montereyensis, and a few Caldina luteomarginata and Diadula sandiegensis. A large sheephead paid us a visit, and there were the usual copper and gopher rockfish. Found a very nice red kelpfish (at least I think it is a kelpfish, will look it up), a few sculpins, and an adult treefish. There was some surge at the bottom but it got worse towards the top of the pinnacle. There was also a light current so we stayed close to the anchor line going up.
Total time: 36 minutes
Max depth: 104 feet
Min temperature 50 F
After an 1 hour surface interval, we dove on what Brian calls the back wall of pescadero rock (in stillwater cove, see map below). I dove with Dimitri. Again a very nice steep wall going down to around 80-90 feet. The visibility was not as good as the previous dive but still around 35 feet. The surge was minimal. This was again a very nice wall. Like the previous dive, there were very large Peltodoris nobilis but this site had tons of Caldina luteomargionata, and a few Diadula sandiegensis. There were very nicely camouflaged crabs (they had to be gay!) and a large kelp crab (I love those). I also saw a hermit crab kicking a shrimp out of a hole in the rock and taking his place. The shrimp did not put much resistance... I also found a Tritonia festiva at the end of the dive, right next to the anchor line. Again a very nice dive.
Total time: 46 minutes
Max depth: 85 feet
Min temperature: 51 F
The ride back was a little rough at first and got better once we passed Cypress point. It was a little sunny in Monterey. Olivia, Erica, Deenie and John went back home. Dimitri and I will dive again tomorrow at Point Lobos with Ed and Hollee.
My left hand dry glove is not very dry anymore. Not sure was the problem is so I soaked it in water to clean any dirt that may cause the leak and I am drying it with a hair dryer...they come in handy for everything except my hair!
Hope to see you soon on a NCRD trip to Monterey!