Keystone June 22/23 2019

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!
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YellowEye
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Re: Keystone June 22/23 2019

Post by YellowEye » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:50 pm

Oh yeah! Great site. There's more kelp there now than I've ever seen. Low tide makes it much worse too. Also on those super low tides the current gets a bit wonky. It was also a fairly fast exchange. Try going out again on a sunny day when the tides are a little less and at a higher lowtide... Pure magic! Glad you had fun!

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ScubaJess
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Re: Keystone June 22/23 2019

Post by ScubaJess » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:09 am

Fantastic report!! So glad you got to Keystone & Pickles (How was it?) I love both of those places. Nice pics. We were just there on Sunday, the kelp jungle is an adventure for sure. So cool you saw the wolf eels. :-)
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iotium
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Keystone June 22/23 2019

Post by iotium » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:53 pm

The buddy/wife and I were staying in Langley for the weekend and had never dove Keystone, so we planned on doing one dive at slack on Saturday afternoon and a second on Sunday afternoon. And a pre-dive lunch on Saturday at Pickles as that appears to be a requirement based on my reading of other NWDC posts about Keystone…

For the first dive we did the jetty and got in around 45min before slack as predicted by the current buoy 0.5 mi west of Admiralty Head. There was a good amount of bull kelp and we got nicely tangled trying to get in. Once we were past it, we encountered a mild current pushing us inshore as we went out along the jetty but it seemed to be weakening as we continued out. Visibility was around 10’. I kept an eye on the compass and saw that we had turned west so I figured we must have reached the end of the jetty and had begun to turn round it, so at that point we started heading back and retraced our steps. The current was milder now so I tried to explore a bit shallower along the jetty on the return trip.

There was amazing wildlife everywhere along the jetty. Bare rock was almost impossible to find as every surface was covered with metridium, sponges, sculpin, barnacles, crabs, and other critters. We also found a juvenile wolf eel nestled into some rocks and a few schools of fish - two of blue rockfish (one lying on the bottom) and a third of perch. The decorator crabs were numerous and came in all sizes and with a wide variety of decorations.
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sculpin, barnacles, and metridium
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school of blue rockfish
The next day for the second dive we explored the pilings. We tried to get in again about 45min before slack but we seemed to have timed things much worse. There was a decent current pushing us west when we got in, which strengthened over the dive before suddenly dropping and switching to eastbound right at the end. There was a lot of bull kelp all around the pilings and we got repeatedly tangled in it throughout the dive.

I have never seen so many sculpins before. Every piling had at least 5 or 6, and the bottom was covered with more. Sometimes they were lying on top of each other because there was no room left. We saw another juvenile wolf eel among the kelp here, this one out and swimming. There were lots of kelp greenling swimming around the pilings but were timid and didn’t like us or our lights.
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pair of pilings in the sun
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sculpins on a pliing
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dive buddy getting tangled in the kelp
Short video of juvenile wolf eel:
https://youtu.be/qfWVWSRQ5cI

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