Sunday, June 14, 2015

Whytecliff Wednesday 10/06/2015

There was a Facebook group called "Whytecliff Wednesdays" that I had been invited to by John Nunes. Vlad and I decided it would be a good opportunity to check it out. Vlad had some camera modifications he wanted to try out as well. Originally, we had thought to do a scooter dive, but settled on taking photos instead.

It was a very nice evening, sunny and warm. There were about 8-10 divers out that evening, not including us. It was a mix of single tank folks, side-mount, and doubles. A very diverse crowd. I had some delays gearing up as I had originally thought to use up some Trimix instead of using 32%. My doubles had to go in for Visual inspection, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to drain them. It would be a bit more of an expensive dive, but I was ok with that. Vlad reminded me to check with Deco Planner, and I quickly realized that even at an 18 meter average, using 21/35 would rack up about 20 minutes of deco if you didn't plan to bring a deco gas! It was a good reminder of how to always check your profile and gas plan. So, I swapped out to 32% instead.

The dive itself was pretty murky. The visibility was maybe 5-10 feet down to 30 feet, and beyond that maybe 20 feet. It turned into a wicked drift dive around the day marker. The tide had just finished going out and was flooding. We were able to ride this all the way back in to the bay. Fun! On the dive, Vlad got quite a few good pictures.

Me, always a good subject!

Some nice cloud sponges, something you don't see on the dive around the day marker as you don't usually go that deep. With the tide low, it brought them into easy recreational range.

A very good picture of a feather star and two anemones.

There were over 10 golf ball crabs. I had never seen so many! Look closely!

 I really liked this picture of me and a giant plumose anemone. It was a little bent, but it was not from me!

A million sea urchins.

The sea-star wasting syndrome was still noticeable. Not as bad as it was last year, but it was still happening. Here was a picture of one in the first stages

And another totally disintegrating.

At the day marker, we also came across some of the biggest decorated warbonnets that I had ever seen. The head must have been at least 1-2 inches, and the body half a foot. I was used to seeing tiny specimens, a couple of inches, if that. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get any good pictures. Next time!

Vlad took a selfie. I was not sure how he did it, because the two strobe arms on his camera were about 3 feet long each! Nice bit of acrobatics there Vlad!

The poor visibility made the drift back into the bay a challenge, but fun. We saw a lot of red rock crabs mating, and quite a few dungeness as well. In the shallows, large schools of perch glistened. It was too bad the vis wasn't a bit better, I really liked watching the big schools of fish.

Soon, we were back at the truck, rinsed and ready. We missed a large group of Vespa scooter people motoring through the park. Some of the Wytecliff Wednesday people commented that the noise was "deafening" as a joke. Funny!

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