Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Has great visibility returned to the Puget Sound?

Originally uploaded by lavachickie
Saturday we walked into A2Z Scuba and were welcomed by Amy and Tom with hugs and a shout of, "Viz is GREAT this weekend!" Music to my ears, for while I enjoy my cold water diving, I have to admit that the pea soup was getting me down.

Our trip up had been leisurely; we were weekending with a new diving friend. Three hours together in a metal box can be trying on any relationship, and it's often telling of those in their nascent stages. And a whole two days... By the time we got home at 12:30am Monday morning, however, it was clear we'll be traveling together again.

We were slow, but that was all part of the plan. We were in search of water, and enjoying the company in the meantime. After hanging at Amy's for a bit and picking up miscellany such as a reel, changing a computer battery, buying some weights to round out the set, etc. we headed to Les Davis.

Parking a crew cab longbed pickup in that lot is... a challenge. Luckily, there was a diving instructor at the end with a big truck and he and crew had just gotten out of the water. We waited patiently for about ten minutes and he gave us his spot. We love you, man.

Beautiful clarity at the entry. This made poking through the eel grass really fun, lots of great little critters to see. At my favorite spots amongst the slabs, around 65 ft, it murked up a bit, but was still good compared to the last times I'd been there. I noticed the plumose seemed to be less packed in; the areas that used to be covered were more sparse. Lots of fish. A few small nudies. The usual suspects.

And jellies. LOTS of jellies.

My systems were going well; I'd spent a ridiculous amount of time making sure my seals were *perfect*. At the end, I was damp. Not all over, and not soaked. Just the upper left quadrant was damp. (Chatting with Norm a few days later he pointed out the valve could be sucking water if I keep the suit too lean. That may in fact be the problem because I can't find anything else. Next time...)

Air consumption continues to improve. Since Maui I've pretty much always come up with more air than those I'm diving with. Sweet. Admittedly, they are air hogs, but...

We only did one dive there due to time; we were considering a night dive that evening and two dives the next day; this meant we had to scoot back to Amy's for fills, then get some dinner, clean up and head out to see a friend and his band play at 9pm, and maybe see the water again at 11pm.

At dinner I enjoyed an AMF, ordered by my friend to calm my attitude, because I was sporting one. And boy, did it fit the bill. Yummmmmy! And one of those on an empty stomach after diving had me smiling and giggly and... two would have been bad, bad news.

By the time all that was done and the choice was night dive or head back to the hotel to sleep the answer was clear; we were falling asleep where we stood, so no night dive.

We're so lame.

The next morning we got up and enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Black Bear Diner. I'd gotten a great deal at the Best Western in Federal Way; it was leagues above the other cheapies we've stayed at there and I'd so do it again in a heartbeat.

It was late morning and we had no trouble finding parking at Alki. That was my first time there and I LOVE IT. Easy access, great view of Seattle across the water, multiple dive sites right there... I see why this is so popular. Can't wait to dive it at night, too. Looking down at the entry, it was crystal clear. Went to about 65 following our friend who was taking macro shots I love following a photographer because they go slow, and that gives me time to poke around for critters which is what I'm down there to do!. Created some inventive underwater hand signals at the boat. (How do you say, "There's a gunnel right inside the lip of the boat in front of you and across from me?")

I hung out with a goby for a long time... they are SO cute for some reason.

Two great dives at this site. Can't wait to go back.

I shucked four pounds of weight from my gear, and had no troubles at all. The last dive was perhaps one of the best dives I've ever had in cold water speaking of comfort and ability. I admit I switched from the drysuit to the BC for buoyancy; there's just something amiss with the suit. I'm going to try to tinker with the valve setting next time but I have to admit I like the feel of keeping the suit slim and just using the BC. (I started using the drysuit using the BC, then switched to using the suit after reading that's how you're "supposed" to do it but in the interim have found about a 50/50 distribution of who does what, so I went back for a try.)

I've gotten seven dives in since I had The Bad Dive with Amy at Les Davis. The drysuit failure was fixed after that dive, and I've not had any feelings of anxiety like I did there (comfortable enough that I chose to dive solo at Whalen Island a few of those times, too). Whatever it was, it passed. Bizarre.

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