Mid week boat dive out of Ocean Cove (North Coast)

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Posted by Eric S on November 07, 2007 at 20:11:07:

One of my buddies called me yesterday and asked if I wanted to go diving today (wednesday). I told him I probably shouldn't, being a work day and all I'd really be playing hookey. I'm self employed, but as anybody who is self employed knows, you are the hardest boss on yourself. Well the job I'm on is at a standstill for a day and my buddy, who is also self employed, was in the same situation.
The conditions report stated 1-3 foot swells 5-15 kt. variable winds, that means virtually glass flat on the North Coast.

We decided to take my boat up to Ocean Cove and check out some of the spots in Sonoma County. The fog was laying right down on the water pretty much the whole day and the vis was poor with a greenish yellow bloom event happening, but they were right about the glass flat part, it was flat!

For our first dive we went up to a reef off Fisk Mill Cove that's out a ways from the shore. If someone really had the energy I suppose they could make it from shore in the form of a very long surface swim, but I'd never want to do it. The bottom averages about 45 to 50 feet. Lots of rock formations, no sand, metridiums, strawberries, green and red anemones, lots of different stars ranging from common bat stars to giant stars, a crab that looked like a sheep crab but probably wasn't because we don't have sheep crabs up here. The reef also has lots and lots of blues and blacks in the water column and other assorted rockfish. I didn't see any lings.

After a short suface interval, we headed back in the direction of ocean cove and decided to dive a vertical pinnacle I know of that Jon Davies and I dove a few years back when he came up for the first time for one of my infamous north coast parties.
This spot is right out of Ocean Cove heading north along the shoreline and would be accessable by kayak from the beach, it's that close.
The vis was worse at this spot. It seems the vis is alsways a bit worse the further south you go. Bad vis aside we went in and began to decsent down around the verticle wall. At 70 feet it was so dark it became a night dive. We ascended a bit and held the 50 foot depth almost the whole dive as we circumnavigated the pinnacle walls. I remember the first time I dive this spot we found a cave swim through, well this time I found probably 4 more. The vis was bad enough I wasn't going to go into any of them, but I will return and check this incredible spot out many more times. Some of the walls had undercuts where they actually felt like overhead environments. The walls were covered with more metridiums than I've seen in any given spot, even more that the metridium fields in Monterey.
I just wish the vis was better, we could have enjoyed the vertical terrain lots more if the vis was good and the sun was out.

The kelp has grown out of control too all along the coastline. I don't remeber seeing kelp growing out so far. Maybe because the sun has been out more than usual this summer and fall and combined with extra nutrients in the water, conditions became optimal for very rapid and lush kelp growth. The first winter storms will rip it all out and dump it on the beaches. All the stench of rotting bull kelp in mounds 15 feet tall with all the flies, mmmm yum, can't wait!

Ocean Cove this time of year is very quiet. We were the only ones at the ramp all day. There were only a few campers but almost all there had big class A motorhomes.
I did pull 2 urcins on the last dive. At the cleaning station I broke them open and the roe was bright yellow and very plump. We rinsed off some of the roe with fresh water and sampled it. It was very sweet with not a hint of bitterness. If this quality keeps up I could see urchin diving coming back.

If only we had bugs up here then we'd have it all.

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