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Monday, January 22, 2007 

Rusty? Nah, Not Us!

My Dive buddy Ed "Doc" Kay rounded up the six of us for a boat dive last Saturday to Waterman Wall on the west entrance to Rich Passage, near Port Orchard and Bremerton. We loaded up and got underway at about 10am and made quick time in calming conditions across the sound. The cloud cover came over us, but it was pretty nice overall, considering we'd had snow as late as last Monday. Definately "wait-a-minute" northwest weather.

Waterman Wall a very nice dive, but has some strong currents and can have a downdraft on the ebb, so it's an advanced+ dive. One story goes that a guy was lost there and the only thing they found was an empty "spare air" on one of the rocky shelves. Normally I've dove it from the east side on the end of the flood, this time we were diving on the end ebb, so we anchored on the west side of the light.

We got suited up "and waited just a bit for the tide to turn. I gave a quick brief, I knew the wall extended to the light from the east, but wasn't sure how far past it west it extends - turns out it keeps going for a while. We probably could of gotten in a little earlier, but "DiveAlert" Dave got in with his rebreather and scooter first, followed by another team of Kevin and Delores. I was being a good guide to the site and had helped Delores not to forget her drysuit inflator hose connection.

But Paul, Ed and I were just a bit rusty getting into our gear, not having really dove in a couple of months. The best was Paul; he jumped in without his fins on, then after getting them on we turned around to find him trying to hand up his tank, as the BC dump hose had gotten cross-threaded and wouldn't hold air. That was corrected and he was finally ready for his second attempt to dive. Ed fussed around for quite a while with crossed hoses and lights, while I found that my canister light had been left at home. Luckily Ed had a good spare on board.

Now it was my turn to jump off, everything seemed fine, but as I descended I kept punching my chest inflator to find that I had left my inflator hose disconnected. I put it on after a good squeeze at 35' with Paul's help. Gees, the 3 Stooges Go Diving...

Our team shared a scooter and I easily pulled the 3 of us out to the wall making up for some lost time. It was completely slack. Paul peeled off and Doc and I continued our dive, enjoying the craggy wall. Vis, while pretty good up shallower, was very poor at 70' on down, probably because of the big mornign tide exchange. We hit 98 feet for a few minutes and made our way back up to 70-80' for most of the rest of the dive.There were lots of huge male Lingcod on eggs, some easily in the 5' range. We saw one bright vermilion one in a hole. Lot of rockfish and invertebrates. The other teams found the one resident old wolf eel at 85', but we missed him.

The tide had turned and I again pulled us up-current for a while with the scooter, then we drifted back. Ed and I shared the scooter and he found out the hard way that it's easy to get task loaded with the bulky device, as he floated away from me and didn't stop his ascent until 20'.

I continued solo back up to the east bay where we had anchored and spotted a very nice Bay Pipefish and a few nudibranchs in the shallows.

Back on board we found that while we had dove the sun broke out and we sat on the boat enjoying a few beers with our lunch while a pair of eagles stood guard. What a treat, after the awful winter we've had!

Photos at: Wall Surface Shots

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  • 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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