3/10/2009 - Shaw's Double Dose
Time In: 10:04am / 1:02pm
Dive Location: Laguna Beach, California
Dive Site: Shaw's Cove
Water Temp: 57-59°f(Suunto)
Max Depth: 41' / 49'
Bottom time: 87 / 62 min.
Buddies: Ruth, John Lawton
After diving Dead Man's yesterday with Ruth, she could tell I just hadn't had enough bubble time - so she invited me along for a dive or two at Shaw's the next morning. John Lawton was coming up from San Diego and she was going to lead a "get re-acquainted with Shaw's Cove" dive. I drove up a few minutes after nine (what me early? never!) and saw Ruth and John chatting. All the really close spots were coned off or occupied by construction vehicles, so we ended up parking across from another construction site (don't know if the Cliff Drive residents ever get any peace and quiet!) I parked and we talked for a bit before getting suited up and heading down the steps.
We got to the bottom of the stairs and found complete Lake Laguna conditions. We knew as the tide went down the bigger sets (maybe 3') would require a little more timing, but for now I swear we could have walked in blind-folded. We kicked over to reef and dropped down just before the entrance to the crevice. Ruth had already informed me, but it was still hard to believe that all of the smaller rocks were just covered with sand. No shallow nudi hunting for the end of the dive *sigh*. I followed Ruth and John into the "foyer" and noticed one of the smaller then normal Hopkin's Rose turnout. They've been sparse since summer - but the numbers definitely seem thinner than normal.
Again I followed my buddies through the archway and up "star wars" canyon. No lightspeed today though, it was more like a Nile cruise... I took my time, a rarity in this channel, checking out all the life along each side. When I came out the other end (I noticed a light canon shining back at least once to make sure I was still there :) we lingered for a bit and then all headed back to the Shaw's side to visit Shelley. Along the way, Ruth started pointing out several super super tiny nudi's on the kelp. She had tentatively id'd them as F. trilineatas (three-lined Aolid's) but I really couldn't tell. I took about 10 pics hoping for something to come out. The DOF on my video camera with my diopter is super small - so this was like hitting flies with grains of sand. After a quick visit to Shelley we headed back down the reef. We surfaced in about 6' of water. John and Ruth could have lasted a little longer, and the conditions would have been perfect to search for kelp fish in the shallows, but I was running on fumes after nearly 90 minutes.
Thanks to Ruth and John for a great dive! Also thanks to Ruth for sharing her extra knowledge of Shaw's - including several moray eels, her pet Abalone and the Giant Green Anemone. Twisting John's arm for a dive #2 was not successful, so we said our goodbyes and both Ruth and I strapped on HP80's for a second dive. We wished John could have stayed for the second dive, but all was not lost, I know I made a new friend and looked forward to diving with John again in the future.
Entry for Dive #2 was still easy, even after a several foot drop in tide (1 foot per hour) had elapsed since high tide. The plan was to head out the reef and search for some pink urchins that Ruth had seen. We saw the usual mass of Tube Dwelling Anemone's, but much of the end of the reef was covered with sand. We circled around some of the smaller rocks at the end of the reef, coming across two seemingly lost nudi's, a solitary Hopkin's Rose and a Spanish Shawl, and then headed back in. Dive #2, though a bit shorter, was still a very nice relaxing dive with plenty to look at. Exit was as easy as entry (the occasional 3's looked bigger, but really didn't pack much punch), and we were definitely left wanting to return for more! The true highlight of the day was finding a Zebra goby that decided he wanted a life as a model instead of as a runaway. I was able to get some closer shots then I normally can. Ironically, Ruth also came across a willing zebra, as we had both tried so hard with two separate zebra gobies at Dead Man's on Monday with no luck.
Flabellina iodinea (Spanish Shawl)
Flabellina trilineata (Three-lined Aolid) - For ID purposes only - BAD focus
Giant Green Anemone
Blue Banded Goby
Moray Eel - to prove to John that they were there :)