Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sund Rock, Mike's Beach and Flagpole

NudiMy what big eyes you haveBeautiful gunnelWhat type?Pretty in pink. Um...?
In the shallows after FlagpoleLooking up in the shalows. That's one fuzzy rope leading up to the buoy at Flagpole. Furry rope. A cloud sponge inhabitant. The easy way to rinse your gear.
GPO. It's the season. Little jellies. ?? Pretty. Yes, that close.
Big pillow like anemone!Sailfin sculpinI love jelliesPretty. Interesting star!Old grumpy looking guy.
Spent the weekend up in Hood Canal and got in eight great dives, including two night dives. We visited Sund Rock on Friday, stayed at and dove Mike's Beach on Saturday, started Sunday morning with Flagpole and then back to Mike's Beach. Some nice long ones with lots of bottom time, too. Nice and slow, allowing me to improve my critter finding abilities. Found some good ones!

The first night dive, with an amazing display of bioluminescence as we descended down the line followed by a very long visit with a large roaming GPO ranks as... I'll say one of my favorite dives ever. And we basically did a repeat the next night. Awesome. More types of gunnels than I can count, sailfin sculpin, a BIG grunt sculpin, some unknown funky things... can't even recount it all. The perma-smile this weekend generated will last all week, for sure. 

I was finally able to elucidate why I enjoy cold water diving so much... it's more of a challenge, so the rewards seem more substantial. Strangely, I came home and shared this with Scot (who thinks I'm crazy when I say in the middle of a tropical dive trip that I miss my cold home waters), and he had a similar discussion with someone at Blue Element Scuba and Adventure Center today.

A weekend where the focus is dive, eat, sleep, repeat is great. There's a rhythm that develops, and a fun, summer-camp like pleasure in dropping all pretense about what your hair looks like. The funk that develops in your drysuit is like a badge of honor; you worked hard for that! Saturday afternoon was filled with a lovely nap-a-thon. Lots of laughter, socializing with other divers and shops. Good times.

Enjoyed helping with some training, continuing to get into a grove with new buddies, visited some new sites, and learned a lot along the way.

Now it's off to bed to cuddle with Scot and page through Andy Lamb's big picture book so I can ID the things I really saw for the first time this weekend! So much has always been there, probably, but I'm just now SEEING it.

EDIT: No Andy Lamb book -- my copy is at the shop! Argh!

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