Posted by Ross-O on March 16, 2004 at 23:22:14:
I had a most excellent adventure this eve. Dr. Don Sheppard and I chased bugs around at Flat Rock. As we pulled up to the parking area, the fog started rolling in. We couldn't even see the end of the rock at times. We found 20-30 ft vis once we got in the water. Most of the bugs in the beginning of the dive were back in rocks and hard to get to. About an hour into the dive, I only had 1 bug. We saw lots of good stuff including 2 octopus, a dozen or so large horn sharks, a stingray, and the usual reef fish. About the time I was getting low on air, we got into the lobsters. They were out on top of little pinnacles sitting in the moss and short kelp. They were almost all legal and for the most part, they didn't even try to run! I got 5 in about 15 mins. I finally had to surface after 75 mins when I was down to 300 psi. I like to keep a little air for the exit since rock exits at Flat Rock can be on the dangerous side. I'm still a little uneasy about night time rocky surf entries/exits after my trip to the emergency room from an accident at Flat Rock 2 months ago.
As Don and I looked around on the surface, we couldn't see land anywhere! All we could see was heavy fog and hear the distant sound of crashing waves. It was a good thing that we had compasses and had discussed this possibility before dropping down. After a few minutes, we spotted a rock, but the fog prevented us from seeing enough of it to know if it was a wash rock or part of the main rock. It was spooky out there and I was glad to have a good mental picture of our dive site, all the right tools, and a good buddy. After a few more minutes of swimming and discussing the situation, we made an educated guess that we were on the South side of the wash rocks off the point of Flat Rock and that we should swim NE to wind up at a decent exit spot. We swam for the next 10 mins or so making an effort to go in the right direction but not get too close to the shallow water where waves were breaking on the rock. We could hear the waves getting louder, but we still couldn't see land. Finally, about the time our fin tips started touching rocks, the outline of the cliff became visible and we were able to confirm that we were in the right place. Luckily the surf was minimal and the exit was easy. As we paused to remove our fins, a 4' long shark swam by us! It was the same kind that I've seen at Haggerty's and Flat Rock on several occasions. I'm not positive about the species, but I think it's a Soup Fin. Once again this proves to never give up on a dive as long as your face is still in the water. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times that something spectacular has happened in the last few minutes of a dive!
Max depth was about 30 ft. Dive time was 75 mins. We each got 4 bugs.
I feel really fortunate to have such great access to the beach. I'm blessed to have the sort of life that allows me to afford SCUBA, and more than anything, I'm fortunate to have good friends to enjoy it all with. Life is good!
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