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Monastery Deep dive
On Sunday I was to meet Abel and Julie at Monastery North to do a couple of dives. By 7:50am I was calling to get updates as to where my group was and how long it would be before they got to the dive site. Unfortunately for me, I woke Abel up at 7:50am with my phone call. So when Julie showed up, we decided to dive without Abel since it would take him a couple of hours to get down to Carmel.
Julie could only join for one dive so we decided to go deep. The dive plan was a simple one, head out on the surface along the kelp bed (~300°) to the canyon and drop down near the canyon's edge and continue a controlled decent into deep water. The water temp on the surface was 51°F and air temp was 68°F. The entry was easy. I haven't seen a day like this at Monastery ever. The shore break was only knee to hip high and the vis was fantastic (30-40 feet) even with the overcast sky casting little light through the smoke from the fires.
After the long surface swim we descended near the kelp bed and touched the bottom at 35 feet. We swam out along the kelp bed edge to the canyon. I made a mistake earlier in the dive briefing by not specifying how deep we would be going, so Julie stopped at 100 feet while I continued to descend to 121 feet. It felt very cold at 121 feet due partly to my suit's compressed state and the fact that we passed through a thermocline (also called a metalimnion) somewhere near 90 feet. During the dive we saw one 2 foot ling cod (Ophiodon elongatus), nudibranchs, Sunflower Sea Star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) and its egg mass, a cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus), a blenny of some kind, many Bat Star (Asterina miniata), Macrocystis spp. and Nereocystis luetkeana kelps, Fish-eating anemone Urticina piscivora and some sea bass. Total dive time was 26 minutes.
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