Bailing out at Point Dume (a how-to guide with photos)

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Posted by scottfiji on July 22, 2006 at 14:14:29:

OK boat divers! If you never considered beach diving, a good workout at Point dume is sure to change your mind, ha ha ha

After Randy heard about good conditions at Point Dume (from me), he really wanted to go there after work. Traffic was heavy, but we made it to the beach by 5:45PM. Three of us suited up and entered the water around 6:15PM.

Waves were small, but they were coming in fast right at shore, and the sand was sloping at a steep angle. we all made it in and started our swim towards the pinnacles. A medium current helped us right along. Randy decided to hug the coast a little, but he finally made it over to the drop-zone (outer-pinnacle), and we dropped down at 6:38PM.

It was fairly dark, but there was still some ambient light. Lots of life was out, vis was good, it was a little surgy in some places but nothing too bad.

Gopher and Black-yellow Rockfish, in love.

Female sheephead, she already went to sleep

Garibaldi checking on the eggs in the nest

Kelp Rockfish doing a little dance for me

This Sea lion swam around us for a couple minutes, no doubt looking for fish

Brown Rockfish. they always want their photo taken.

Treefish, with me in hot pursuit; Treefish are nocturnal, this one was out and about

School of Rainbow Surfperch. I love these fish!

Now we were at the bottom of the large pinnacle. We decided to look for angel sharks/torpedo rays, and headed off into the sand for a couple minutes. no sightings, but it was worth a look. max depth 59ft, temp 59 degrees at depth.

After that little excursion we worked our way around the back side of the pinnacle (SE side), where there is a nice wall, and lots of gorgonians.

zooanthid Anemones


Olive rockfish

Randy was at 1800 PSI, and we were at the wrong end of the reef. I knew we had to get back to the NW side of the reef quickly, and I tried to find a way through the reef.

Corynactis and Featherduster worms

Blue Rockfish. they are always curious and love to sneak up on you.

At this point in the dive, we looked up to see at least 50 Opaleye swarming around. They are quite skittish of bubbles and stayed further away, but it was quite a site.

I had no luck getting past the huge pinnacle walls, so we ended up going back around the reef clockwise, the way we came, which means going south a little, around the corner and back north. We saw a nice lingcod who hung out with us for a few minutes.

Lingcod, with its big, ugly teeth.

Unknown Rockfish

We still had a long distance to go to get back to the beach, and we started heading across the sand. 40ft, 35ft, 30ft, 29ft - wow, the sand dollar bed was gorgeous. I'd go back just to spend some more time here. I stopped briefly for a quick photo, then it was back to swimming. We had to fight a mild current, but we were making decent progress.

Sand Dollar Bed

With not enough air to make it back, it was time to surface. We surfaced right in front of Pirates cove, about 2/3 of the way back. we started a surface swim, but weren't making good progress, probably due to strong longshore currents from the winds that picked up. Instead of tiring ourselves out, we did an exit at the beach. Even though it was high tide, there was plenty of sand to land ourselves on. The slope of the beach was extremely steep, which made for an interesting exit. Randy crawled all the way out, and I took off his fins for him.

Penny helps Randy up on the bailout-beach

We had to climb some rocks to get back, but it wasn't bad, there is a trail to follow. Lots of people were around and were glad to provide banter during our way back.

Climbing over the rocks, we were glad to get such a fun workout in.

Penny taking a nap after climbing down the rocks

We made it back to the main beach just in time for sunset

A thorough showering was needed to remove all the sand. what an adventure!

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