Posted by Ross-O on April 19, 2003 at 18:10:14:
Beth and I did Neptune at about 10:30AM this morning. We checked out all the spots from Malaga on around and the vis looked terrible from the cliffs. Even Christmas Tree didn t look promising. I figured that if anywhere was clear it would be Neptune. We entered off the rocks in front of the tide pool. It was typical conditions at Neptune with rough water rising to top of the tide pool and then falling so that there was a vertical 6' mussel and barnacle covered rock between you and the water. I explained the entry procedure to Beth and found a good spot for us to wait for the "right wave". I hopped in first and Beth caught the next wave. Entries at Neptune are always exciting and I have to admit that I like the rush of both the adrenalin and fast water. Even though vis looked better from the cliff than anywhere else we checked, we only had 5-10ft as we dropped in 30 fsw. We decided to head over in the general direction of Christmas Tree and check out some of the spectacular rock formations along the way. As we got a bit deeper in the 40fsw range the vis opened up to 15-20 ft or so. I found a crevice at the base of the one large wash rocks that was absolutely crawling with legal sized bugs. They must have known that season was out because they weren't scared at all. As I was checking out the bugs, Beth motioned for me to come over and check out her find. She was frantically pointing her light at the base of a rock and I saw nothing. From experience, I know that when someone is behaving this way and I don't see anything, it means there's an octopus right in front of me. Those things are sooo good at matching the surroundings and I'm a little color blind so I almost don't stand a chance of seeing it until it moves. It finally wiggled a bit, I noticed it, and we watched it slither out of site. The next interesting find was some sort of pelagic jelly sort of like a salp chain. Unlike a salp, this creature was tube shaped, about 2" in diameter and about 5' long, and the core looked like little yellow seeds. Most of the creature was clear with the only solid mass being the hundreds of yellow seeds spiraling down the center. After carefully looking him over, I didn't know if it could sting or not, we moved on to look for nudis hiding on the base of big wash rock that was covered with life. I found some eggs and then found a cute little nudi that I had never seen before. As I was checking out the nudi, Beth grabbed me and frantically pointed up a 45 degree angle. I didn't see anything so I gave her a puzzled look and she made a hoop with her arms indicating that something big and round was up there. I motioned "how long" with my arms and she shook her head no and did the hoop thing again. I motioned "flat fish like a ray" with my hand and she gave me a "no, swimming upright fish" hand signal. The only thing I could figure was a mola-mola. We settled in on the bottom and got really still for a while to see if it would come back. We gave up after a few minutes and decided to head for shore since we were both a little chilly. The vis got really crappy again shallower than 30 fsw so we decided to do a slow ascent and start the surface swim in. We almost got hit by some kayakers as we surfaced. They never even saw us. The waves had picked up a bit and I knew we were in for a rough time on the exit. Most of the shoreline in front of Neptune is sheer rock wall but there is one little cove in front of the water drain that has a smoother rock exit. I discussed the "crawl out on knees" technique with Beth as we headed for the cove. I was pounded by about 3 big waves as I was trying to get out. I stayed on my knees (or face, belly, etc) between waves and tried to keep an eye on Beth as I crawled out. Although she was getting pounded, Beth was doing great until her tank came loose from her crappy BC. I was out by then so I ran out, fixed the tank, and dragged her in. After we caught our breath, Beth said, "My thumb is a little screwed up, but that was pretty fun!" That was a really proud moment for me! In a year and a half and 70 or so dives, Beth has gone from being so nervous that she couldn't sleep the night before a boat trip to thinking a really tough beach dive in low vis, surge, cold water, and with an ass-kicking exit is "pretty fun". I'm a lucky man to have such a good wife!
All in all, we were down 30-something minutes. The water was 54F at our max depth of 40-something and there was significant thermocline that warmed to 57F at 25fsw. The vis left a lot to be desired but the structure at Neptune is ALWAYS amazing and never disappoints.
This is the longest report I've ever written for a 30min dive. Guess I'm just chatty today. Hope you guys enjoyed it and hope you got out somewhere today.
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