Friday, August 16, 2013

The Cut 07/08/2013

Dave Williams, Jim myself and a GUE diver I had not personally met before, Valdimir, decided to do a technical dive at the Cut at Whytecliff.

It was great to finally meet Vlad, who had moved to Vancouver a few months ago. The parking was scarce at Whytecliff, summer had made it very busy. We didn't get great spots, but it wasn't bad. The evening was perfect. It was warm, but not scorching. I wore a thinner undergarment thinking that the water temperature would be quite warm with the constant sun we had been getting. I was wrong!

The dive went great. We planned for a 40 minute dive with an average depth of 39 meters. The visibility was not bad. It certainly wasn't horrible! Dave and myself dove together, but we did stay together as a "team" of 4. Vlad and Jim formed the second team. On the wall, I found a very nice golf ball crab who promptly got skittish and dropped off the ledge he was on into the abyss. Oops! I also found two very nice decorated warbonnets in crevices. We didn't come across any octopus, but we did find a giant giant ling cod. The glass sponges also looked bigger than normal.

It was a pretty cold dive, I must say. Deco at 6 meters was warmer, but not as warm as I was expecting. There was also quite a bit of current. We came back into Whytecliff bay to do our deco, so eventually we got out of the current. Dave had a problem with his deco reg and was low on deco gas. He ended up running out near the end of the deco, so it gave some good practice sharing deco gas with no real risk

All in all, a very fun dive!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Madrona 28/07/2013

Heather and I joined Jim and Greg at Madrona for a very nice two dives.

On arrival, we noticed wedding party activity. Folks were cleaning the beach, shuttling in people and all manner of activity. We joked that we might end up being part of the wedding photos!

The first dive was excellent. We went to the big wall, and found three octopus. Jim and Greg found a wolf eel that Heather and I missed. The visibility was great, and the sun was awesome.

Heather found she had a bit of a leak in her suit, so she sat out for the second dive. Greg, Jim and myself went to the smaller wall to see what we could see. There was a nice buffalo sculpin, and another small giant pacific octopus. We also found an interesting rock overhang, and could not resist "cave" diving.

All in all, a very very fun day!

Here is a little bit of video. Heather's new light came in very handy making things look a lot less green!

Capilano and Gulf Stream 21/07/2013

I had really been looking forward to this dive. Jim Dixon had arranged to go to the Capilano and Gulf Stream with Bill Coltart from Pacific Pro Dive. The plan was to do two technical dives on these wrecks. Very exciting!

On the trip was myself, Jim, Greg, Dave, Guy and three folks from Pacific Pro Dive. Bill had made some changes to the boat, the Ata-Tude which I had been wanting to see. You could now stand up to put your gear on if you liked, and that made using doubles a much easier proposition than before. A great change Bill!

I car-pooled with Dave Williams and Jim to Comox. Dave was getting his last two experience dives in to complete his Tech 1. It was a perfect day, sunny but not too warm. When we arrived in Comox, we loaded up the boat and headed out. The tide was a bit against us due to a later start, so there was some question on whether we were going to be able to do the Gulf Stream at all. The first dive was on the Capilano, and the visibility was excellent. Greg and I did a 36 meter average dive for 30 minutes and did our deco on oxygen. The plan was to spend more time on oxygen, and have a two hour surface interval to maximize our time for the subsequent Gulf Stream. Sometimes you just couldn't do the dive you expected first, and that's where planning and applying your decompression knowledge was invaluable.

The Capilano was a lot of fun. Greg found a very nice giant pacific octopus in the wreckage of the forward hold. I don't have any video of that, but here is some of the video I did get.

We had a very enjoyable surface interval in Lund after. Nancy's Bakery there made the best cinnamon rolls around! We did have a small problem with a horde of wasps, but it was a great lunch.

We aimed for the Gulf Stream as Bill thought it was doable. There was quite a bit of current in the upper 60 feet of water, so it was very interesting getting down. We were hanging off the anchor line the whole way. The Gulf Stream was one of Greg's favorite wrecks, and it didn't disappoint. Once we were on the wreck, the current died down to almost nothing, so it was a great dive. I saw some of the biggest ling cod ever on that wreck. One was at least 6 feet long! According to Bill later, the really big ling cod were on the wreck of the Scepter Squamish. I couldn't imagine how big those could be! We also found a really nice puget sound king crab hanging out on the hull. The Gulf Stream was awesome. I didn't get any video, because I was busy taking it all in with my eyes. Our dive profile was an average of 45 meters for 25 minutes, and it worked out great. In theory you were supposed to be able to do your deco up the wall beside the wreck, but the current was too strong, so up the line we went. It was a great deal of fun doing a one-handed gas switch while hanging on to the line! Guy commented after that it was a great learning experience, hahah!

Dave passed his Tech 1, so that was an added bonus to a truly great day of diving. Congratulations Dave!