Thursday, March 6, 2014

Whytecliff 04/02/2014

Unfortunately, all my dive plans since the sea lions were cancelled due to snow. The weather in Vancouver had been very abnormal. While it was not a lot of snow, it was enough for me to not want risking slippery rocks, or more importantly, slippery roads. I had not bothered to put winter tires on my trucks, and wouldn't you know, we ended up with more snow this year than ever before!

Vlad, Dave Williams and myself headed out to Whytecliff for the relaxing technical dive that we had cancelled 3 times due to weather. During the day, I saw some snow flakes, and I really thought we would be cancelling again! Thankfully, the snow was short lived and it was just rain for most of the day. It was wet and miserable gearing up, but when we got out of the water, the rain had stopped. It turned into a very nice evening. Jim Dixon had planned to join us, but forgot his apartment keys so had to go back to the Island. Too bad!

The dive itself was one that we had done many times before. We spent 10 minutes going right from the Cut at 45 meters, then turned around and came back at 39 meters for the remaining 20 minutes. This placed us right at the Day marker, where we started our decompression and moved into the bay.

During the dive, we saw a lewis moon snail, which was very unique. I had only ever seen these on Vancouver Island. This specimen was much smaller than the ones that I had seen before, and we almost missed it. It was about two inches in diameter. We saw some some very cool gunnels, probably saddleback gunnels, and some pretty interesting sculpins. The varitey of sculpins never ceased to amaze me. The cloud sponges were great to look at as usual. Vlad scarred a kelp crab that took a leap off of a rock overhang and he dropped off into the abyss. I hope he was ok! There were a ton of nudibranchs as well: a Giant White Dorid (it was huge, at least 8 inches), a Cooper's Dorid, a Yellow Margin Nudibranch, a Heath's Dorid, or possibly a San Diego Dorid. I found this page for all these nudibranchs, because it was too dark to take photos or video:

Visibility was not bad, maybe 20 or 30 feet. We ran into some strong current near the end of the dive, and I was worried that we'd not make it to the day marker in our planned dive time. But we came across a plaque that marked the location right when we hit the end of our dive. The water temperature was quite cold. All of us commented on that at the end of the dive. Dave dropped his mask and didn't realize it on our exit at the beach. He went back and found it in the water, saving it from getting washed away. Along with that, at the beginning of the dive, we had staged our deco bottles on the beach and they almost got washed away as well. The tide came up much faster than we had realized! Fortunately we were able to rescue them and put them up farther out of the water's reach. A good lesson to remember, make sure your gear was far enough away from waves or tides!

On the whole, it was a great dive. Can't wait for the next one!

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