Date: May 11, 2008
Location: Broomtail Reef, Point Loma
Dives #1 and #2 [Actual: #744-#745 ]
Times: [approximate] 11:15 AM/2:30 PM
Surface Conditions: Sunny, calm seas, gentle two foot swells with long intervals…
Visibility: 5 to 6 feet in the top 20, due to green gloom, but a nice 20 to 30 feet on the bottom
Temperatures: 52° F on the bottom, and a warm and toasty tropical 54° F above 20 feet [Ahhhhh….. ]
Max Depths: 54 feet/52 feet
Purpose: Recalibration and recertification of Reef Check skills.........
Critters Seen: Pile Surf Perch, Black Surf Perch, Rainbow Surf Perch, Senoritas, male and female Sheephead, Blacksmith fish, Black-Eyed Gobis, Kelp Bass, Hermissendas, Gray Moon Sponge, Red Volcano Sponge, Orange Sponge, Yellow Sponge, Giant Kelp, Southern Palm, Northern Palm, Rock Scallops, Blood Stars, Bat Stars, Red Algae, Articulated Coralline, Crustose Coralline, Brown Algae… ISIFS: [I'm sure I'm Forgetting Something…]
After loading up the boat, Barb, NOAA Jim, Colleen and I cruised out to one of our favorite sites, Broomtail Reef, for the annual recertification-recalibration of our Reef Check survey skills. Since this year, I will be doing the data entry side of it, my role would be act as NOAA Jim's dive buddy and hover over his shoulder to make sure he didn't cheat--just kidding…
And since we also had the now famous "Matt" of "Matt's Reef" fame: the 16 year old who can drive a boat like nobody's business, and act as surface support, we would all be able to descend together on each to dive without leaving the boat unattended.
The spot selected by Colleen was a flat rocky reef, with fronds of giant kelp all around reaching toward the surface, and lots of southern and northern Palm for Barb and Jim to count and dozens of rocky overhangs which loomed like miniature open caves, providing cover for the many species of rockfish and surf perch in this area.
For the first dive, the plan was for Barb and Colleen to descend ahead of us, and lay the first transact line from which Barb and Jim would do the initial fish count and invertebrate count.
So we all suited up grabbed our slates and jumped in.
As we passed through the initial layer of green gloom, we worried that his would not be great on the bottom; our worries were for nothing: upon arrival we saw that is beginning to open up to a very nice 20 to 30 feet.
Barbara and Jim had been instructed to do a visibility check anyway, which they did, and then the transect line was laid down for Barb and Colleen to do the initial fish count, with Jim and me bringing up the rear.
Once Jim began doing his part of the line, I was free to roam the area, being careful to stay within a couple meters distance, as a good buddy should, and explore the sights.
The bottom was covered with articulated and crustose coralline, along with small forests of Southern Palm in between large hold fasts of the giant kelp.
As Jim worked on his section of the transect line, I explored all the various nooks and crannies of the nearby overhangs and was astounded at the amount of marine life, see above list.
Black-Eyed Gobis peeked out from under strands of Laminaria and schools of Senioritas flitted about the forests of Northern Palm.
Red volcano sponge, Gray Moon sponge, orange, yellow and puff ball sponges were scattered everywhere, giving a psychedelic glow to the scenery.
Large male Sheephead and their harems patrolled the area, along with sizable clumps of black surf perch.
I was amazed at the variety of colorful marine life all around us.
Jim finished up his transect line and we reluctantly began making our way to the surface.
Also, the temperatures had been a blessed relief: up only 2-4°from the usual 50° F we've become accustomed to, but it made all the difference in the world as we ascended into a 54° F 'bath water' at the safety stop level.
The second dive was in the same area as the first, with a new transect line laid in a different direction.
Barb and Colleen completed their work and Jim was able to finish up his end of it in pretty good time, allowing us to explore the rest of this colorful and abundant rocky brief to our heart's content until it was time to surface.
All in all, it was a very successful day, on a truly delightful reef: next week will be the first actual site survey in La Jolla—stay tuned!
Dive safe everyone,
Note: this dive report was dictated into voice recognition software
"Blessed are they who learn from their mistakes; for they shall make, if not fewer of them, different and more interesting ones."
'Rapture of the Deep'
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