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Monday, August 07, 2006 

Flying & Diving in 3/4's Time

Finally got back to do some diving this weekend at Sucia Island. Chip, Paul and I took off on my boat from Blaine on Saturday morning with a load of scuba gear, tanks and even my new scooter. During the off-season I had found a decent older 10' Zodac inflatable that with a little gluing back together of the transom and floor, was in great shape. Paul came up with the wonderful idea of putting our bcs on one set of tanks, inflating them and then lashing them down, so that even in the event the boat flipped, the tanks would still be buoyant and tied down. We actually had plenty of room for the rest of the gear in my 28' sailboat, putting the scooter at night in the cockpit.

Making good time in the ebb to Sucia we anchored, had lunch and slowly got ready to dive the outside of Ewing Island at the end of Echo Bay. I had calculated that we didn't want to start the first dive until at least 4-4:30 pm, with slack at 7 pm. We filled up a load of gear in the Zodiac and motored over to see where we could find a spot to stage a shore dive from. I like the east end best, but there has been a large pod of harbor seals there, and in one spot a small seal was sleeping, so we came back to the middle and found a perfect spot, with a sort of boat harbor that allowed us to pull the dink into the rocks to unload.

With the heat of the day upon us, we decided to suit up in our drysuits in the shade of the island, and after another trip back and forth to the boat, we were able to get in the water on time with little difficulty.

The wall there is a jumble of boulders small, large and house-sized, with quite a few fish and invertebrates and a nice kelp forest along the shallower edge. But it does drop-off to 100' sharply, and slightly further out to 150-180'.

I was trying my Apollo dive scooter out for the second time and thought that maybe I could take some video with my Fuji E900. Unfortunately, I had left the handle for my HID light at home and had to deal with it too. Along with being overweighted with all this stuff by at least 4#, I was task-loaded to the max. I scootered along uncomfortably for a while, but decided to come back and leave off the camera to simplify things.

I had seen Paul and Chip drifting quite a ways in the mild current, and when I went back I found them swimming back against the current. I stopped, flipped out the towing handles and gestured to them to grab hold. We weren't well-balanced, but that little scooter did a great job of motoring the three of us in bulky drysuits and gear back to where we started. They decided since they had plenty of air, they would continue the other direction again with the current, as it split along the wall, going in two directions. So I zoomed around for a while, took one long loop down to 100', checked out the house-sized boulders there, and came back up, grabbed them and took them back again. Talk about a taxi service.

The second dive I left the scooter and just did a mellow dive, showing the guys the ruble down deep and taking photos. Highlights included a school of Yellow-tail rockfish, a rare Tiger rockfish, a Mossy-headed Warbonnet, nudibranchs and even a juvenile Puget Sound King crab hiding in a deep hole the small width as it!

Surfacing, we got out of our gear as a beautiful twilight descended, went back to the boat for a couple of rib-eyes and lots of beer.
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About Jack

  • Adventurer, diver, sailor, photographer, writer and sometimes graphic designer. Proprietor of Optical Ocean Sales, LLC. Enjoy the blog, check back and please leave comments!
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