Julie T. and I made our way down to Monterey on Sunday (6/25) for a boat dive. We boarded the Escapade at 8:15 and we headed out into a cold and foggy sea to our first dive spot. The captain chose Chase Reef for our first dive. Later we went to Playground.
Chase Reef was a good spot for a sunny day, but with little sunlight above, the bottom was dark. Our descent down the anchor line dropped us into a dark abyss. The bottom (at 86 feet) came up quickly once our eyes adjusted. At depth, we have 10-15 feet of horizontal visibility. We took a heading west into deeper water along the reef. We saw Parastichapus californicus (California Sea Cucumber), Archidoris montereyensis (Lemon Dorid Nudibranch), Pycnopodia helianthoides (Sun Starfish), Julie saw an eel that I didn't, kelp fish, coryanactis anemones, burrowning anemones, strawberry anemones, and other invertebrates. We made a 3 minute safety stop at 15 feet before surfacing. Overall, the dive spot was not very good on this day. [Depth 86 feet, Time 25 minutes].
Playground is a dive spot just east of Chase Reef. Playground offers many dive activites. There is a wall to dive along, three pinnacles and some other stuff. The fog was burning off but the sun was not yet out when we dropped down the anchor line to visit the pinacles to the south. We hit bottom at about 68 feet. The horizontal visibility was better here at Playground than it was at Chase Reef. This area is more protected from swells so the bottom sediment was not churned up as much. On this dive, we saw a huge black Cryptochiton stelleri (Gumboot chiton), a very edible and good sized Ling-cod (Ophiodon elongatus), more dorid nudibranchs, sea cucumbers and coryanactis. We stopped at 15 feet for a 3 minute safety stop again. [Surface Interval 58 minutes, Depth 68 feet, Time 36 minutes]
We were pushing our NDL on the last dive. Thank goodness for computers. When I logged my dive and plugged the numbers into my logbook with the RDP, we were well outside of the RDP's NDL.