Monterey dive, the first place to look for a dive instructor

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Posted by Eric S on April 29, 2003 at 06:25:01:

I always wanted to hook up the boat and drag it down to the penninsula, so last Saturday morning Larry and I decided to go down to Monterey for a dive. I had the boat hooked up and the truck loaded the night before. The north coast wasn't an option due to massive run off and huge swells, small craft advisory, blaa blaa blaa...
We left at 4:30 AM and pulled into breakwater at 8:00. There was one space left to park . The place was mobbed.
We got the boat in the water, the truck/trailer parked, and we were motoring out of the harbor by 8:30.
As we were rounding the corner of the breakwater the Monterey Express blew by us headed for somewhere south.
It was a calm morning, the seas were flat and there was only a slight breeze. As we got out into the bay I shovelled a little coal and managed to catch up to the Monterey Express, jump her wake and hold parrallel all the way to the point. As we rounded the point the swells picked up considerably and I was forced to throttle back to avoid slamming gear (and Larry) and the hull.
The Monterey Express slowed down turned around and headed back ? To rough???
We had already decided to make a run for Lobos and we stuck to our plan. The seas were fairly large but just average I though considering what we are used to up north. I didn't think it was blown out by any means.
When we arrived at Lobos there was not a single boat to be seen. We had the place completely to ourselves. The entrance to Whalers Cove was impassable due to a very large crashing surf right at the narrow spot.
Our first dive was out on the outer wall at an average depth of 80 feet. The vis was a good 15 - 20 feet and I was happy with this. On that dive I saw some of the biggest damn Lingcod I swear I have ever seen. One was so huge I could only estimate it was over 4 feet long and big enough around that you would not have been able to put both hands around it! We saw several fish this size. There were also some very large reds.
It goes to prove that where fish are allowed to grow and not be bothered they really flourish. If they allowed hunting there I seriously doubt those big fish would be around.
After a wonderful dive we loaded up and pounded our way back up the coast. Some of the swells around the canyon area were a good 12 feet. The interval was very long so they were very gradual. I enjoy navigating larger water like this. It reminds me of four wheeling over dunes. The ride back was actually easier because of the swell direction. For the next dive we picked Aumentos reef. Larry got the gps cords out of a book and I went right to the spot. When we descended down the anchor line the bottom began to get lighter and lighter. This means one thing, sand. A beautiful sand bottom it was! We picked a direction and went. Eventually we found a few rocky outcroppings that were blistered with those little strawberry anemones. I took several photos of these and some other stuff. The whole dive we heard a lot of boat traffic overhead. We headed back towards the anchor and could not locate it. We went up for the stop anyway and when we surfaced we were a long way from the boat. The current had moved us out into open ocean quite a ways. Vigorous kicking got us to the boat in short time but all the boats going by had me nervous. Its not the dive boats 'cause they know what a dive flag means. It's the salmon fishers and sunday sailors that ignore the rules of the water and speed right by your boat. This pisses me off. One thing is confirmed in my mind from now on and I shame myself for not remembering. And that is that I will always use a reel from now on in these situations.
I pulled into my driveway at 8:00 pm, long a$$ day. Was it worth it? yes
Would I rather dive on the North Coast, yes.
Not that Monterey is bad, it is very good, it's just that the drama of Colby, the sheer walls of Bull rock, pinnacle X, and all of the other unexplored walls and pinnacles win my heart. I just wish sometimes that the ocean up here would not always have to be so damn protective of herself and just let us in more often, that's all.

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