After a long two months of not divIng due to a little crash mountain biking at the start of August (resulting in some broken stuff and surgery), I’ve finally been able to get back in the water and enjoy the nice fall vis. I was recently able to get out with Phil on the LuJac one last time before his move to the Hood Canal. We had our first dive at Swirl Rocks off of Lopez Island during slack. My last visit there a few years ago involved some ripping current, kelp crawling and a king crab orgy (why is the smaller crab on top of the big crab?!) This time the water was calm, so we motored down to depth and found two huge wolf eels hanging out. After we moved on, I saw what I thought was a rock falling down the slope. It turned out to be a huge GPO who put on quite a show. At one point after swimming along with us he even came up to try and give me a high five
This was my first time hanging with a big octo out of it’s den, so I did the appropriate thing and sucked the rest of my gas down quickly, cutting the dive a little short. It still worked out though, as the sunlight streaming through the kelp during the safety stop made for a pleasant ending to the dive.
FYI I didn't not actually realize the awesomeness of this photo until after.....
During the surface interval the winds picked up, so Phil headed back to the mainland before the channel got too rough. After teasing us next to Northwest Island, we got dropped in along Sares Head. After the epic critter sightings in the morning, I decided there was only one plan for this dive, which was to take terrible photos of ALL the candies we could possibly find. We found one pretty quick, and then hit a boring slope of nothing. Thinking the dive was possibly a bust, we started finning for higher ground. Soon we found some structure and the mother load of crimson anemones. I quickly forgot about paying attention to the blinking and beeping from my computer, and went to work taking out of focus pictures of every shrimp known to be in the sound. Soon enough I was in trouble with my algorithm, but luckily the candystripe bounty extended up to 30 ft (and I was diving an HP119) so premature boredom at 10 ft was averted. The only bad part of the day was getting back on the boat about 30 min after everyone else, meaning most of the fresh cookies were gone. Oh well, luckily I snuck a flask in my bag to make up for it