|Phil and Merry visit the PNW|
Posted by Max Bottomtime on January 22, 2022 at 09:27:36:|
We met several Washington divers while at God's Pocket in October. It was great putting faces to the names I had known from Scubaboard and the Northwest Dive Club websites. ScubaJess and Eric talked about the Pacific Spiny Lumpsuckers, Lumpies appearing soon at their local dive sites. Merry and I soon began planning a road trip to Seattle in early January. Friends of ours traveled from Los Angeles to Seattle in early December and found lots of lumpies. After watching their videos, our excitement grew even more. Unfortunately, between the time they were diving in Washington and when we arrived, several storms had washed away the kelp that lumpies hang out on.
We made our first Thursday night dive at Redondo Beach (Lumpy Land) with Dave Hicks. We didn't find a lumpy, nor much of anything else. We did get a free gear wash in the rain after the dive. We got a lot of free gear washes during the trip. We saw the Sun two days in two and a half weeks. :)
We then dived at Three Tree with Jess and Eric. We checked out the Golf Ball Wreck and nearby tires and hose debris field. There were lingcod eggs on the tires and lots of snails on the wreck. I finally got a Grunt Sculpin photo thanks to Eric, who was shining his light at something else but I saw the little fish. After surfacing, Merry and I were beginning our walk back to the exit when Eric popped up and yelled "Lumpy!!!" We put our fins back on and raced over, getting a few bad shots of a dime-size fish.
After an aborted dive with Jess and Eric during a surface current/zero vis at Redondo, Merry and I alternated dives between Redondo and Three Tree during the next week. I found a couple of Saddleback gunnels and a nickel-size lumpy. At Redondo, we visited Bob's Reef and the bottle field without finding any animals besides a few anemones. I got my best photos during that dive in five feet next to the boat launch.
We headed up to Keystone Jetty on Whidbey Island for our final dives of the trip. Sunday was a God's Pocket reunion with divers we met in October and Dave Hicks and Rebecca Black, who we met on previous trips. We also got to meet the local celebrity, Jan Kocian. We had such a nice dive, finally getting to see animal-covered rocks that we drove back up to Keystone the next morning. It was cold and windy when we arrived, but conditions improved after our dive for Jan and his daughter Maya. We got stuck in a three-hour backup for the return ferry. Merry ran into a convenience store and returned with a feast of junk food that served as lunch in the car.
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