Way South 8-18-02 trip

Way South Extreme Cypress Sea Trip

August 18th 2002

We started out early 6:00am at the dock.

Doubles, stages, rebreathers, and lots of argon.

There were several signs that today would be special.

Point Sur, and the Point Sur light house..

After Point Sur there is a HUGE kelp field and the depth comes upto 40'.

The start of Partington Canyon.

After the third dive it was sunny for about thirty minutes.
Dave finishing up his oxygen deco on the boat, I guess you learn that in GUE Tech 1.

Trip Report from Sami:

Date: Sun, 18 Aug 2002 23:36:37 -0700
From: Sami Laine
Subject: [baue] Conditions Sun 8/18/02 Waaaaaay South

We had the Cypress Sea "extreme" trip today, and had the conditions to go to Partington Canyon. That is 40 minutes SOUTH of Point Sur, so we're talking some serious travel time today (6am departure, 7pm return). Lots of sleepy, but smiling BAUE faces and other usual suspects on the boat today.

Surface weather was overcast, with sun sort of visible through a few times. Seas were calm with maybe 3-4ft swell and no wind waves, south of Point Sur it got downright glassy.

We ended up doing all 3 dives well south of Sur, and it was most excellent!

1st dive: Partington Canyon. This is an underwater canyon that comes very close to the steep cliffs at Partington. I dove with Dave C, and we dropped to the edge of the dropoff, and followed it out S to depth and then back in N towards the cliffs. Vis was fantastic, at least 60'-70', probably more at depth and nice & blue; temp 50 degrees.

It's something else to hover over the top of a vertical wall at 180' and look straight down into the abyss! Lots of larger rockfish (vermilions and rosies mostly). The most impressive feature was an incredibly dense school of juvenile rockfish, it was thick enough to literally block the rocky canyon ledge from view in one moving mass. When you shone the HID light through it, it would part in one shimmering motion; it was like watching bait ball action on Blue Planet. Waaaay cool! Had a great deco swimming around in the very dark and dense kelp forest that starts conveniently around 70', quite serene and beautiful!

2nd dive: More of the same, now with Clinton and Dave C. Stayed above 170' this time, same general area. This time added 3 Mola Molas to the list of suspects, one of them was missing the big dorsal fin, and had a sea lion buzzing it. We expected to see some gruesome action, but he was spared this time. A very nice dive again! Vis and temp stayed the same.

3rd dive: A mystery pinnacle off Post Ranch Inn. Perhaps naming it is in order? Post Haste? Out Post? :-) Phil saw a shallow sounding on the GPS map, and drove over it, looking at the depth sounder. 100'. 100'. 100'. 38'. 100'. Whoa! After some debate, we dropped on it. Oh yeah! It's like Eric's Pinnacle, only bigger, louder and undercut! Big, very tall and very vertically oriented rock with a couple of towers with lots of color, corynactis, sponges, etc; like Erics. Narrow, skyscraper-like structure with a kelp topping made this a very nice 3rd dive, indeed! Vis was perhaps a bit hazier, around 45'-55' or so, temp 52.

This was one Kick Ass day of diving!


On Clinton Bauder's website www.metridium.com he wrote:


Diving today with several buddies, despite having a nasty cold. Had this been just any trip I would have stayed home in bed. As it was I gave up Lobos Reservations on Sat and missed out on Milton Love's talk at the Aquarium that night while I was home in bed. Sunday, however, was the long awaited Cypress Charters WAY SOUTH trip. These happen maybe once a year at best and feature diving south of Point Sur. I decided that since I'd already paid for the trip I'd at least go for the boat ride.

Once on the water I didn't feel that bad and the conditions were perfect; maybe a 4 foot swell, no wind and partly cloudy skies. We left the dock at 6:00 AM and didn't reach our first dive spot at Partington Cove until about 9:15. Partinton features a submarine canyon that runs right up to the steep rocky shoreline. No more than 100 yards offshore the sounder was reading over 500 feet! Yikes! As I was worried about my ability to equalize I passed on David and Sami's deep diving plan and buddied up with Nick Radov and Gary Banta. Surprisingly my ears did fine and we had a nice dive. We never quite found the steep dropoff (which didn't really get steep until about 130 feet) but vis was around 100 feet and the kelp forest was filled with large numbers of rockfish of every description. We saw kelp, black, blue, vermillion, rosy and yellowtail rockfish along with several treefish. In places there were large schools of small juvenile rockfish. Higher up in the kelp were schools of senioritafish. Truly a nice dive.

For the second dive I joined Dave and Sami for a deep dive. We ran down to where the wall started at about 160 feet and followed it along as the top climbed gradually to about 130 feet. The wall itself wasn't spectacular in terms of encrusting life but it wasn't bare either and it dropped straight down into the inky abyss which was quite a sight in the excellent visibility. On our way up we saw 3 mola molas including one which had been severely chewed upon by the resident sea lions. A sea lion swam right by it and for a moment I thought I was going to get some good footage of a game of "mola frisbee" but the sea lion just swam on past. Oh well. We finished our deco in the dense kelp forest surrounded by blue rockfish.

For the third dive Phil found a pinnacle in the middle of nowhere offshore of the Post Ranch. The bottom was a uniform 100 feet and sand when out of nowhere came a pinnacle up to 35 feet. Sounder readings looked like this during a slow pass: 100, 100, 100, 35, 100... After a debate over whether the pinnacle was big enough to splash on common sense prevailed and we gave it a look. Good decision; as expected it was an amazing spire rising straight up, even undercut in places. The rock was covered with fairly dense corynactis, bryozonans and sponges. Sami, Dave and I found 2 wolf eels in the cracks and I also saw a wayward zebrastripe goby. Unfortunately the latter was a bit camera shy. Pretty damn nice day of diving all in all. I'm paying for it as I write this the next day but it was clearly worth it.

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