Dive Report 5/2
Last night, Balu & I went over to Paul's place to go do a dive off his boat. I got to meet the dog, Apache, a big, gorgeous border collie. We met a bit late for a weeknight - 7:30 - and it was a bit of a ride on the boat, but all very worth it. Gorgeous night out, with a bit of a moon, crisp air.. Ah, it must be nice to have a boat at your disposal like that.
We tried to dive the Ancient Mariner, a wreck at about 70 feet. I'd done it before and was excited to see it at night without a boatload of students threatening to kick me in the face. Sadly, I jumped off the back of the boat into a very
strong current and had to fight my way just staying where I was; getting to the front of the boat to the anchor line was out of the question. KICK-KICK-KICK - nothing. Aggh. This is the first time I'd experienced something like that, so I'm glad I did; now I know it's possible! I'm also glad Paul was still on the boat, saw me struggling, and came in to help me, throwing the line to me, pulling me in, and coming to make sure I safely got back on the boat. I was relieved when he said we should just try a different location, something less challenging on a night with current; I offered to sit out while they did a dive at the Mariner, but was happy to actually get to go under. So we went to the ledges. This time, we planned our entrance into the water to be within a few seconds of each other and in close proximity. It went off without a hitch. Phew.
It as an awesome dive. About 110 minutes long, deepest we went was.. oh, darn, I forget. Water was 79 degrees. I surfaced with over 1,000 PSI. I'm pretty normal on air now; it's a relief.
I found my first octopus, unless you count the one I spotted tucked into a rock of which I could only see its vent. (I had seen octopuses before - Alex found me a couple little guys. This was the first I found on my own, I mean.) This was a little guy- his body was about fist-sized or a bit smaller. He was sprawled out on a rock, so I was able to get a good, close look. Then he flashed purple and glided into a crevice. Awesome.
This is pretty much what my guy looked like.
I also saw a bit of an eel tail sticking out from under a little ledge. When I got into the sand to check him out, I realized he.. she? was sitting in there with a bunch of four or so white egg cases containing five or small white eggs. They hung down from the top of the ledge, like I've seen octopus eggs before (in pictures). I'm not sure how eels reproduce, so don't know if they were her eggs or not, but it was very cool.
I also spotted a bright orange, um, sea hare? A small one. I motioned for Balu to come over and see it. By the time he got there, it had tucked itself in a rock. I reached out to see if I could get him to come back out a bit. Mistake. My fingers, where I touched its jello-like body, felt funny and itchy for the next half hour or so. Another lesson learned. Saw a nice sting ray. Fishies. I shooed away a hogfish as Paul was carrying a net for the dive. He saw me but didn't yell at me afterwards, so we can continue to dive together. :) I'll let him be himself, but I gotta be myself too, which means helping the little guy out when I can.
We got in late,
even with Balu & I being too cold to do a second dive. Despite the late hour, and since we were chilled to the bone, we took Paul up on his offer to thaw out in the hot tub. (Yes, this guy has quite
the bachelor pad.) This means we got home at, oh, 2:30 a.m.? In bed at 3:30. OY!