Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Neck Point 03/10/2013

Heather and I went back to Neck Point for one dive, because the day was so nice and the tides were right.

This time the visibility was not as good as it had been previously. But we saw tons of frosted nudibranchs like before, and they seemed to be even bigger this time. There were a good deal of gobies hiding in the rocks, and evidence of octopus around, but none made an appearance. There were a lot of red rock crabs as well. I found a nice lewis moonsnail shell that I left on one of the picnic tables for some passer by.

Before the start of the dive, we gave a curious little boy a chance to look at our gear. He lost interest a lot quicker than I would have thought! How can diving equipment be boring to a little boy!

This is a small bit of video, of the large frosted nudibranchs.

Maple Bay Skills 03/09/2013

Back to Maple Bay! Guy Shockey was kind enough to do an informal, quick refresher on valve failures for us at Maple Bay. I had never been to his home before, and it is quite the place! Once we finished our talking on land, it was into the water at Maple Bay to do some drills. Two light mishaps happened, Shawn's light stopped working near the end of the dive, and at the beginning of the dive, Greg's did too. I gave Greg a hand to check the battery before we went in the water, and I swore I checked the clips. Unfortunately, I didn't check them well enough, and one of the clips was open when Greg walked into the water. Shawn noticed, and Greg got back out, but some water had already got in. I hoped it hadn't damaged the light, I felt terrible. For the dive itself, it was a lot of fun. Probably the most fun I had had on a skills dive in a long time. I felt very good during the whole thing, and the refresher was just what I needed. We descended, shot an SMB, tied it off to the bottom, then ran a reel from there out and about. While running the line, Guy simulated various valve failures with an air gun. We were a team of 4, which was very unwieldy and never something you'd do in reality, but it worked well enough. The failures were handled well. Well enough that Guy started to get bored and began shutting people's lights off, making us switch to backups and reposition the team. At the end, there were 3 light failures, and we had quite the train going following the main line back to the SMB. At one point in the dive, I noticed Guy unclip Jim's SPG and place it on the back of Jim's cylinders. I thought Guy was messing with Jim, to see how long it would take him to notice that his SPG was missing. I prompted Jim by asking what his pressure was, and when he couldn't find his SPG, gave it back to him. After the dive, Guy explained that he was using Jim's SPG to monitor his gas on purpose! Jim had the least gas volume, and since we were task-loaded with failures, I could see why it was a good idea. The things I re-learned from the practice was to always stop and think, then act, to verify first what your team-mate was breathing, and to relax. So thanks again to Guy for giving us such a great refresher!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

McKenzie Bight 03/03/2013

For this dive, we decided to go to McKenzie Bight. I thought that I had dove McKenzie Bight before, because it was so close to Willis Point. Once Jim and I arrived, I realized that it wasn't. I was thinking of Henderson Point. The reason I hadn't done McKenzie before was that the walk down to the entry point was far. I remembered that when the idea came up, the other people I was with vetoed the idea, hah. It ended up not being that bad of a walk at all. It certainly was far, but doable. I would say three time the distance down to the Cut at Whytedliff, but much less steep.

When Jim and I arrived, we met Shawn and Greg and a new diver that I had not met before Damien. Damien  was using a single steel 130, so in terms of gas-planning, that made things easier. Minus the double cylinder part!

It was a beautiful day. Clear, sunny, but not that warm. Two out of three, I'd take. We geared up in the parking lot, but all of us with doubles carried our rigs down first before getting into our dry suits. There were a lot of nice logs to set up on at the beach.

Greg led the first dive, and we did our dive plan. We decided to go to the right from the beach, and stick with an average depth of 18 meters. Jim and I formed one team, and Damien, Greg and Shawn the second. I was a bit worried about the visibility as the surface looked very brown. At the start of the dive, we would descend to 6 meters and see what it was like to do a valve drill and S-drill. Happily, visibility was very good, and at 9 meters it was great. We finished up our drills, then continued on the dive. The rock topography of McKenzie Bight was very cool. We didn't see a lot of major critters. The octopus rock that Damien showed us had no one home. It was easily recognizable because of a small statue on the top of it. There were a variety of nice nudibranchs as usual. along with a lot of scallops and small shrimp.

Damien didn't do the second dive, so we had a nice surface interval chatting and he left. On the second dive, I led the dive because none of us had gone to the left at McKenzie Bight. Some other divers told us about a dead octopus at the bottom of their dive float, so we wanted to check that out too. Not knowing much about what we were going to see, our plan was pretty simple. Head South and keep an average depth of 15 meters.

At the start of the dive, we came across the dead octopus easily. It was one of the tentacles, and it was quite a big piece. I thought it was probably the octopus that Damien had tried to show us. The rest of the dive was quite nice. We went south for about 20 minutes, after completing some skills. At the end of the dive, we did some propulsion practice. Shawn is the model in the bit of video below. I also found some interesting new small nudibranchs that I had not seen before. Jim found a nice red fur crab in a crack.

On the whole an great day of diving!