Ian Puleston wrote the following report to BA_TechDiver:
Five of us - Nick Radov, Stefan Bolka, Kevin Metcalfe, Will G and myself got together to dive off my boat at Pt. Lobos today. This was to be a day of easy recreational diving, although to look at the boat full of gear you may not have thought it - 3 sets of dual 104s, a set of dual 80s and an LP steel 95 - four of the five sets filled with Trimix. And someone decided we could do with a bit more weight in the boat and threw in a spare 11lb V-weight. Can you say overloaded? Anyway at least we weren't going far.
Visibility looked really good in Whalers - we could see the bottom from the boat in 20' water, and in 10' depth we could make out individual grains of sand. Swells were small (and got smaller through the day) but it was a bit choppy in the wind.
We headed out through (as opposed to over) the waves to try to dive the Great Pinnacle in Bluefish Cove. I say try because we failed miserably. We dropped the anchor in 65' just to the SW of the pinnacle as usual, but as we headed down the depth gauge went past 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110 .... We eventually found the anchor hooked on a small whaleback-shaped reef in 120' of water surrounded by nothing but sand and small rocks. No sign of the pinnacles. Apparently we must have drifted further SW as the anchor went down, so it landed in deeper sand and dragged until it eventually hooked the reef quite some way off. Not much vertical relief, but not a bad dive anyway. We named it Birthday Reef since it was Stefan's birthday. Water was sorta blue, but sorta cloudy - vis probably 30-40'.
Surface interval was my time to be a klutz. Forgot to pull the bungies out of my wrist seals before jumping off the boat with dry gloves removed, lost the car key twice, and then went swimming with the drysuit unzipped. God job I listened to my old scoutmaster and had my old Weezle jumpsuit along as a spare, and 10 minutes in the sun (did I mention that it was sunny) totally dried out the inside of the drysuit (Trilam rocks!). Lunch was sandwiches for all supplied by Kevin - thanks Kevin. Nick forgot to bring dessert and Will forgot the beer - ah well, can't have everything I guess.
So it was all systems go for the 2nd dive. Except for birthday boy who decided that one reef named after him was enough for one day and went to work on his tan instead. This time we headed for (and actually managed to dive on) Thumbs Up, and very nice it was too. 30-40' of bluish vis again, and hanging out in it was one of the biggest shoals of Bluefish I've ever seen. They appeared to be saying "we were here first so if you want past you'll have to swim through us" - so we did. Kevin came of age - borrowed Stefan's dual 104s to make this his first dive on doubles.
A very nice day it was, and after breathing 30/30 Trimix on both dives, the long drive home was a breeze, even after getting very little sleep Saturday night.Ian
Ian forgot the impromptu mask drill at 100 ft. On the first dive I noticed that my mask was leaking. Not due to poor seal, but due to something going wrong in the lens/frame interface. It was minor, but a pain in the butt. Finally after a while I tried to ask Will if I could borrow his spare mask. (Note that of the five divers in the water, four had spare masks in their pockets like the good DIR divers that they are. Guess who didn't...) Anyway, let's just say that I must not be very good at sign language and I couldn't get Will to understand what I wanted. So I took off my mask and thrust it at him like "Take this" thinking he'd figure it out. That didn't work and I was afraid after about 15-20 seconds that they would think that I was narced or freaking out, so I put my mask back on. Then I had the bright idea of using the brand new wet notes that I had just bought that morning. "What great timing!" Or so I thought... I got them out, got the pencil out... And the tip was broken off! Finally I just said "f*** it" and dealt with it as the leak wasn't too bad.
Oh, and then I spent the safety stops hanging onto the anchor line because I had underestimated the additional buoyancy of adding a vest to my dry suit undergarments.
In addition to borrowing Stefan's doubles, regulators, argon and HID light (much nicer than my halogen!) I also borrowed his mask. Thanks Stefan!
Ironically, the second dive was a piece of cake. Except when I had to man handle the double tanks out of the water. MAN THOSE THINGS ARE HEAVY! :-)Kevin Metcalfe