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Author Topic: A Big Sur(prise)  (Read 1816 times)

Offline JackSquirt

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A Big Sur(prise)
« on: February 06, 2014, 03:48:10 PM »
Marco, Donovan and I made plans to take our first trip down to Big Sur. We were clueless to location but decided on a spot near Garrapata. The day before we left I saw that Chopper (Brad) had posted about diving somewhere on Wednesday and after a few emails and phone calls, plans were set to leave town around 4:30 AM. With the forecast looking good, and the excitement exploration, the pre-trip stoke was almost tangible!

So the morning came, I staged most of my gear by the door, he showed up, and we hit the road. Brads zippy little Volkswagon made quick work of the coast highway, and we were in Carmel by 6:30. After meeting Marco and Donovan at the Safeway in town, we continued south until we found our dive site. From the cliff, we could tell what a great day it was going to be. Vis? Pristine. Swell? Minimal. With whales spouting and breaching all along the horizon, otters playing in the cove, and sea lions barking they're asses off about a mile away, we began to unload the car.

No way!?! This can't be. Are you kidding me? Unbelievable. I don't believe it.

I forgot to pack my wetsuit. A word of advice...don't forget to pack your wetsuit.

My heart was broken. I was going to sit on shore and howl out my sorrow with the sea lions while my friends enjoyed a day of diving. However, thankfully they were bright enough to suggest (and talk me into) renting a suit back in Monterey. So I drove back to Aquarius to pick up one of the two kinds of two-piece suits that a man should never wear in public, a scuba suit. I was so eager to dive that I ended up wearing that thing in the car all the way from the shop to the dive spot! Got there, geared up, and jumped in. The day improved as soon as I got off land.

Throughout the dive, we all got a peek at a MASSIVE octopus. I thought it was a broken stalk of bull kelp, but apparently bull kelp doesn't have suction cups? The tentacle was about as thick as my forearm, and that's all I could see at the back of his cave behind rocks and empty shells. This was my first encounter in the water. I didn't disturb the beast, given my lack of octo-wrestling experience, and because it probably wouldn't have let me resurface.

The only two fish I took came from under the same rock. I looked under the shelf and saw a cabezon a couple feet back, and turned my head a quarter turn and saw his room mate, a moderately sized ling, sitting on the other side of the hole. Came back with my gun, popped the ling first, strung it up on the shooting line, and went back for more. The cab had meandered over to the other side of the hole, deeper than before. I repurchased and got to him from a different gap under the boulder.

Met up with Marco and Donovan, who started to head into shore. I was getting cold in my prehistoric wetsuit so I decided the same. I guess Chopper was chopping too many fish, because his stringer broke and he had to recover the bodies!

All in all, it was a SURprisingly good day. The three lings taken were like triplets, and Marco and my cabezon were basically twins. The other guys took other assorted rockfish and Marco pulled two scallops. I had fun exploring a new spot and getting to meet Brad and dive with my buddies.

Also, I got to see my first box crab (a small one). It looked weird.

Here's to more great future dives, and less forgetting of crucial gear!  :P


19.75" PB Cabbie!


28.25" ling.


Marco's stringer and me getting my 15 minutes of fame
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 03:54:42 PM by JackSquirt »
Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

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Offline jjjjeremy

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2014, 04:00:07 PM »
Awesome! Let me know the next time you want to get out there. I've been meaning to make it, but the stars haven't aligned in my favor.

Offline Chet

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2014, 04:03:30 PM »
Thanks for a good report.
Dive and Fish.
San Jose, CA

Offline Jason Blalock

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2014, 04:05:45 PM »
Great job guys! That stringer looks bigger than Marco. Congrats on the cab squirt. Nice report and pics.

Offline chopper

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2014, 04:10:34 PM »
love it -- didn't realize you drove back from the shop still in the suit. Classic! Thanks again for the invite to tag along Jack -- it was a fun trip. Great to explore a new area with some new dive buddies.

I'll post up my report in a bit.

cheers

Offline underwater1

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2014, 04:42:56 PM »
Nice work gentlemen.

Cheers,

Tom

Offline Rob102

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2014, 08:49:00 PM »
Nice report.  Thanks

Offline chopper

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2014, 08:59:59 PM »
OK as Jack said it was an O dark thirty departure, but the lack of traffic made for a quick trip down the coast. I'd just gotten the invite to join the dive the afternoon before and we had to take advantage of the conditions. We arrived at the dive site and were greeted with top to bottom vis in 30' of water. It wasn't real fishy at first but I ended with a limit of 7 rockfish (grass and black/yellows), a greenling and 2 cabezon and then I didn't have a limit.

After bagging the last cab and filling the limit I was basically done hunting and started just swimming around checking out the terrain when I spied a ling. I watched where he settled down and swam back to my float to get the spear. Came back and he had moved a couple feet but was still there. Dropped down and got him right it the side of the head -- but the spear didn't go all the way through. Note to self - build that next gun. I'd already lost a couple fish when the floppers didn't engage so I quickly swam to get a hold on him before he slipped off. I swim him back to the float and start to run the stringer through him and as soon as I go to pull it through I feel a pop and see fish spinning slowly to the bottom.

The freaking stringer line broke and the cabs, greenling and rf were all falling off the line and sinking to the bottom. WTF!!! What the hell do I do??? I drop the ling without thinking as I grab for the fish that are quickly dropping to the bottom. Luckily the ling still had the spear in him at least part way. I grab what I can and toss them on the float before they're out of reach but several are already on the bottom or on the way. I get what's left of the stringer on board try to deal with the ling. I get a good hold of him by the gills and get the spear out (I couldn't get it pushed the rest of the way through due to the bone structure) and ran the spear through the eye sockets. 

So he's now secure with the gun tied off to the float so now I get to start making drops to recover the fish that dropped. I ended up recovering all but one cab but it probably took 20+ dives when I was already exhausted. Luckily I was only in 20' or water or so -- I was too tired to have dove any deeper. The ling ended up going about 29" -- as jack noted they were all twins err triplets. Nothing special on the other fish, but the grassy RF and a couple of the black and yellows were pretty chunky.

Had a nice pan seared ling filet last night. Tonight it was whole steamed rockfish chinese style (Martin Yang's recipe) and tomorrow? thinking baked ling head or maybe a fish soup -- making fish stock right now.

I'm still knackered after the water time and a bitch of a climb/scramble back up to the car, but it was cool to see the structure down there and dive a new area. We even got to see a freaking huge octopus and it's garden. lots of shells and stuff back in its hole. way cool.

cheers
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 09:03:31 PM by chopper »

Offline Rob102

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2014, 09:33:49 PM »
Chopper, I don't know what type of gun you are shooting but it sounds like you need to tune your flopper.

Offline JackSquirt

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2014, 10:44:50 PM »
Thanks everyone. And Jeremy what's this I read about you moving south for a bit?
Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

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Offline Road Runner

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2014, 01:26:28 AM »
Great report.
Sounded like an epic day.
Big Sur is such a magical place...

Offline jjjjeremy

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2014, 08:58:59 AM »

Thanks everyone. And Jeremy what's this I read about you moving south for a bit?

Grasshopper, one must read the dates on old posts....

I was in Orange County for the summer, and fishing sucked, unless you love eating opaleye or will shoot a leopard or angel shark. Maybe it's better for pelagics and lobster? I'd go to club dives and people would celebrate the one sheephead someone shot.

The area has great potential though. Diving in the reserves and at Catalina was great. The dive park in Avalon on Catalina was crowded and any species I was interested in (just fer lookin) was scared away, but looking off the dock in other spots the water is crystal clear with zero swell. Easily 50+ viz year round.

Offline JackSquirt

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2014, 11:57:08 AM »

Thanks everyone. And Jeremy what's this I read about you moving south for a bit?

Grasshopper, one must read the dates on old posts....

I was in Orange County for the summer, and fishing sucked, unless you love eating opaleye or will shoot a leopard or angel shark. Maybe it's better for pelagics and lobster? I'd go to club dives and people would celebrate the one sheephead someone shot.

The area has great potential though. Diving in the reserves and at Catalina was great. The dive park in Avalon on Catalina was crowded and any species I was interested in (just fer lookin) was scared away, but looking off the dock in other spots the water is crystal clear with zero swell. Easily 50+ viz year round.
I'd love to shoot some big pelagics one day. But if the place is usually a barren moonscape, that doesn't seem too fun!
Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

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Offline jjjjeremy

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Re: A Big Sur(prise)
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2014, 09:55:04 AM »
Inside the reserves there's a lot, so there may be great diving right next to them, or in areas that aren't shore-diveable. I didn't see anyone diving off of kayaks on the mainland, and I never too mine out, so there may be too areas that are paddle-able.

I'm a much better diver now than I was then, so maybe it's all me? I may be going down for the weekend soon and I'll report back.

 

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