Squid, dolphins at Vet's Park

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Posted by Frank O on February 02, 2008 at 22:13:31:

With fresh intel of a fair number of squid at Vet's Park a couple of nights ago, it looked as though Saturday evening would be the best window to work in a dive before the predicted arrival of rain and high swell on Sunday. Arriving a little before 7 p.m., we could see quite a few birds circling or camped out on the water a little beyond the end of the pier -- no squid boats, however. After gearing up, we headed down the "middle stairs" (halfway between the restrooms and th pier) and found the surf to be more robust than it appeared from a distance (it was my first beach scuba dive in a year and a half, kind of forgot about sizing up surf). We got knocked back once or twice in the surf zone, but soldiered on.

Dropping at the end of the pier, we headed down the slope and saw a first lone squid at 30 feet. By 60 feet they were quite dense. We eventually headed down to just over 80 feet, then went sideways. It wasn't quite the level of "avalanche of squid" I've dived in the most intense squid-run years, but it was more than just isolated action here and there -- there were some big patches of eggs that went on for a good distance, and a lot of squid surrounding us in many places. Then we started noticing the distinctive squeaks of dolphins. It looked as though the squid might have been herded -- they'd dart in one direction and then another, thousands of them all in unison. We also went through patches of low vis that made us think something might have passed through there. We never did see any dolphins, though, and the rest of the sea life was fairly sparse -- mostly crabs, plus a couple of baby cusk eels on the way back up.

Heading up the incline it started getting quite surgy. I had a lot of trepidation when it came time to get our fins off -- a few rollers came by that were overhead plus at least a couple of feet that we had to duck under. Thanks to a lull in the set, we managed to run backwards onto the beach, feeling like we'd dodged a bullet. Nary another dive vehicle in the parking lot that we could see. 54 F and just a little chilly in a wetsuit.

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