Saturday, June 4, 2016

Washer and drygloves

In an attempt to get to Pt Lobos before the gate opened, I had to leave home at stupid o'clock, which meant a wake up time of stupider o'clock. Even Koda and Cousteau seemed non-plussed when I was up and about and they're usually good to go whenever; Billie didn't deign to open her eyes until she realized everyone was getting fed.
ParaMike had driven down from Fairfield which meant he woke up and left at wtf o'clock. I assume he got some sleep while driving down here since he was wide awake when we transferred all his gear into the Death Star.

I was trying out my new dry gloves system today. I had opted for the simplest (and cheapest) setup available - the SiTech rubber pullover rings - since I wasn't quite sure how much I would like the relative loss of dexterity in the water and didn't want to drop $350 on the Kubi system I was secretly coveting. The install on the ZipSeals was super easy once I popped them off the drysuit. All it is is a hard plastic ring the goes on the inside of the seal and a corresponding firm rubber ring that goes around the outside. The rubber gloves that go with simply stretch over these rings and form a seal on the 2 grooves - no O-rings to slip, tabs to break off, parts to get gunked up or any alignment needed. The wrist seal is not impacted at all and would be a secondary seal in case the glove was damaged or popped off somehow. I wore thin merino wool liners under them and was able to don and doff them pretty easily on my own. They seem a little floppy on the surface but not too bad as I was able to get my rig on and everything hooked up and arranged on my own. It's recommended to put a little piece of bungee or tubing under the wrist seal to allow some gas into the gloves (which I neglected to do) but even that didn't cause any trouble during the dive.

We were geared up and in the water around 0930. Visibility in the cove was awful and there was a lot of kelp around. We had to weave around quite a bit to get to the sand channel. We surface swam out past the Dog and dropped in the sand channel in about 40ft. The viz was pretty good as we made our down through a school of senoritas and remained that way for the rest of the dive. There were a couple of ling cods on the prowl and a mahoosive vermillion rockfish as we made our way along the Cannery Point Wall. I spotted a few Monterey dorids, Doris montereyensis, but no other nudibranchs.
We were aiming for Hole in the Wall and should have stuck to the border of the reef and the sand channel. Instead we went through all the rocks and cut between the little walls that are at the north end of that reef. It was a lot of fun and really beautiful but I was pretty sure we had overshot our target since we were in about 85ft. We hung a left to return from the west side of this reef but went too far west and ended up right in the middle of the Cannery Point Rocks.
Not good. Like, really not good. It was insanely surgy above 30ft and we were getting thrown about 10-15ft in every direction in the middle of the rocks and kelp. When I surfaced to take a bearing I realized we were in a bad spot where the swell was about 5-6ft and the waves crashing into the rocks could be heard pretty loudly even through my thick hood. After an "oh sh*t" moment, we high tailed it out of there and ended the dive early with a looong surface swim back.
-> 35min, 86ft, 50F

Good dive overall despite the navigation errors. We got some pointers later for better ways to dive the west side reef. We skipped dive #2 as I was very low energy after the surface swim - forgoing breakfast that morning had also not been one of my better ideas. Lessons learned. The dry gloves were awesome, staying dry and warm for the entire 90min we were in the water. Post dive at Papa Chevo's where I practically inhaled a giant plate of fish tacos.

 - U