Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dive report - LJS North Wall 11/27/10

Date: 11/27/10
Location: LJS, North Wall
Time in: 11:13 am
Time under: 70 min
Max depth: 80 ft
Min temp: ~50 F, very cold the entire dive
Vis: 15-25 ft
Waves: 1-2 ft, slightly larger on exit
Mix: 32%
Buddies:  Mike, Marla, Virginia, Patricia and Robert

Berthella californica with gills outBerthella californica with gills out


Highlights:  Mmm, nitrox.  Great visibility, nice blue color.  Tons of sheep crabs above the North Wall.
We had planned on a boat trip to Pt Loma, but it was canceled due to concern about the afternoon weather.  When we arrived at the shores, it was calm and flat.  Since we'd gone through the trouble of getting nitrox for the boat, we decided to do the North Wall.  Mike, Marla and I were on nitrox and Virginia, Patricia and Robert were on air, so we split into two groups, with the air group heading back early.  Early on the swim out, we had 3-4 dolphins pass by within about 20 ft, between us and shore.  We dropped down after the long surface swim, made longer by my decision to try switching to blade fins from split fins for better control underwater.  The water was clear and cold, with a nice blue tint.  We followed the wall, stopping to take pictures of a couple of Berthella californica.  There were small patches of squid eggs and a few dead squid, scattered here and there.
 Market Squid (Loligo opalescens) after a hard night 
Market Squid (Loligo opalescens) after a hard night

In addition to using blade fins, this was a test run for a couple of home made snoots.  The ones I made are just extension tubes for the DS-125s and have an exit aperture roughly equal to the strobe.  They make a bit of a difference in getting just the subject lit and reducing the light on the surroundings.  The good news is that they didn't fall off and they didn't completely ruin pictures.  I call it a successful test run  :)

 Market Squid (Loligo opalescens) showing off colors 
Market Squid (Loligo opalescens) showing off colors

On the plateau above the end of the North Wall, there were tons of sheep crabs.  Probably 10-15 scattered about.  I don't know if they are usually there or whether it's just their season.  We turned around and headed back, following the contour at about 50-60 ft, avoiding the blue water swim.  On the way back, we found a few living squid with some small groups of eggs.  At about 20 ft, the water became more cloudy/green and the detritus was churning.  The wind had picked up a little and there was a small swell from the south west.  As we exited the water, another dolphin passed by further out.

Sheep Crab (Loxorhynchus grandis) portrait  
Sheep Crab (Loxorhynchus grandis) portrait