Keystone & Skyline 1/14/17

Tell us your tale of coming nose-to-nose with a 6 gill [--this big--], or about your vacation to turquoise warm waters. Share your adventures here!
Post Reply
User avatar
GearHead
Submariner
Posts: 507
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:32 am

Keystone & Skyline 1/14/17

Post by GearHead » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:09 am

After many days of rain and drizzle, we finally had a gloriously sunny day on Whidbey Island! I managed to get one of the last spots in the first row of parking after taking the 8:00 am ferry. The few remaining spots were quickly taken, and a second row got started. Seems quite a few divers had read the favorable forecast, and we had a great turnout.

My buddy and I had elected to splash by 9:30, and managed to enter the calm water a couple minutes early. Past experience has indicated that actual slack before ebb occurs about 30 minutes earlier than predicted by the Admiralty Head current marker. This day reinforced that experience. Given the predicted slack time of 10:21, we anticipated actual slack to occur around 9:50, and that is what it felt like under water. We enjoyed a leisurely swim towards the end of the jetty. The water was a rather brisk 47°, and visibility was a milky 15 feet, maybe more in some spots. While dealing with a problematic mask, I nearly swam head first into an Orange anemone which was occupied by a Candy Striped shrimp. First time I've seen one of those at Keystone. Pretty cool.

We reached the end of the jetty just as the current was starting to switch. I do enjoy swimming a little way past the end on calm days, and certainly took advantage of that on this day. No giant Octos in any of the dens at the end, but there were plenty of other fish and small critters to enjoy. I even got to enjoy my moment of Zen with a large school of striped giant perch on the way back. The current cooperated by giving us a gentle push on the way back, until we were just a few minutes from shore. Perfect timing!

Since a few of us planned to do our second dive at Skyline, we didn't have an abundance of time to socialize. It was definitely fun seeing so many friendly faces along the beach, and I scored one of the new NWDC t-shirts. Thanks ScubaJess!

I arrived at the Skyline Marina almost exactly one hour after leaving the Keystone parking lot. Our planned splash time was at 1:35, and we just made it into the water in time. The plan was to do a drift out, then back after the current switched. Visibility wasn't nearly as nice as it had been at Keystone, but there's no hiding the colors along the Skyline wall. With about 6 feet of milky vis in spots, bright HID lights were a real advantage. We mostly followed the bottom out, then finally leveled off at 65 to 70 feet. There was just enough current for a comfortable drift. I spent much of the time traveling backwards to keep an eye on my buddies' lights, in addition to enjoying the life on the wall. The burrowing sea cucumbers weren't out, but there was plenty of other stuff to see.

After a 30 minute drift out, we reversed direction and began our return leg back to the beach. The current had died to the point that it was an easy swim going the other way. However things got even easier once we ascended to about 50 feet. The shallower depth seems to get an earlier reverse current - anywhere from 50 up to 40 feet seems to work. We found a very large Puget Sound king crab at 45' on the way back, as well as quite a few white lined alabaster nudis on the bottom as we were back in the shallows. Another dive vey well timed.

User avatar
Tom Nic
I've Got Gills
Posts: 9352
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:26 pm

Re: Keystone & Skyline 1/14/17

Post by Tom Nic » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:11 pm

Great report! Just like being there!

Thanks for telling the story....
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT
"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

User avatar
ScubaJess
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 2314
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:56 pm

Re: Keystone & Skyline 1/14/17

Post by ScubaJess » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:52 pm

Fantastic report. I looked all over for the candy stripe with no luck. Do you remember what part of the jetty it was on?
Was so nice to see you :)
Live Long And Prosper!!!

Stay Warm underwater with the Weezle Extreme Plus undergarment! Please let me know if you would like to order one or have any questions. :luv: :partydance: :eric: :taco:

User avatar
GearHead
Submariner
Posts: 507
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:32 am

Re: Keystone & Skyline 1/14/17

Post by GearHead » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:23 pm

I wish I could give a better description of where I found the Candy Stripe. I think it was in about 36 feet of water, but not right on the bottom. There weren't too many Orange anemones in the area, and it was definitely in one of those. I literally stumbled upon it while descending after dealing with a loose mask strap on the surface. We were close to the sign on the rocks at the end of the jetty while on the surface.

User avatar
fmerkel
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1031
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:45 pm

Re: Keystone & Skyline 1/14/17

Post by fmerkel » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:24 pm

Proceed down slope past 50'. Start looking for Crimson An. Generally they don't grow shallower than that, though there are a few. Look closely at the base of all of them. That's where they are.
To Air is Human,
To Respire, Divine.

User avatar
YellowEye
I've Got Gills
Posts: 2654
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:08 am

Re: Keystone & Skyline 1/14/17

Post by YellowEye » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:22 pm

fmerkel wrote:Proceed down slope past 50'. Start looking for Crimson An. Generally they don't grow shallower than that, though there are a few. Look closely at the base of all of them. That's where they are.


This was in reference to a candy stripe at Keystone! I assume you're talking about Skyline :taco: :partydance: :calvin:

That being said, I did find a crimson anemone at Keystone, near the line yesterday. My first siting of one there ever! :eek: :popcorn: :partydance:
Kind request: Always keep your reg at the ready when entering/leaving the water (I suggest you keep it in your mouth to and from the shore)! There's always a chance of a slip or a rogue wave, and several locals have perished from not having their regs at the ready over the years.

Post Reply