30 November 2011

Alki Secrest Cove 2 & Alki Pipeline 8/5/2011

Finally did something I've been meaning to for years. Dived off Alki in Seacrest Cove 2. I was getting the bug to do some diving and try out my new camera. For years I've watched divers take the plunge right in my neighborhood here in West Seattle and although I'm not to keen on this cold water diving I've always wondered what was under there. So my friend, Brandon, and I did it.

We did a surface swim out to a marker buoy. From here we would drop down and explore, mostly around the "Honeybear" wreck. I rented a wet suit. Still haven't committed enough to buy a drysuit and it was cold as I remember getting into that water. It's a lot more equipment to wear up here; heavier wet suit, hood, gloves and more weight. When we started to do our decent into that cold murky water my mask kept flooding and I got a little freaked out, almost to the point of calling the dive. We resurfaced; I told Brandon what was going on; he looked and discovered my hood was tucking just under the top of my mask. Problem solved. Okay, calm down and descend again. All was good. We dropped down the line to the bottom, turned South and headed to the Honeybear wreck. I've seen maps of this dive site and in my mind I imagined the wreck being a lot farther away. It was like right there. We looked for octopus around the wreck and pilings in vain but did see some ling cod, brittle sea stars, crab, huge sea star, and some nudibranch's that I would have swam right by if it weren't for Brandon. Maximum depth was 56 feet. Almost 50 minutes under at 53 degrees F and I was freezing. My heels were numb walking out.

We got some coffee, warmed up a little, drove around Alki to the West side and did Alki Pipeline. This, as you may have guessed is a drainage pipe that shoots out straight away from the beach. You follow the top of the pipe which is buried in the sand for a while. It disappears, you continue straight across the sand for a few hundred feet(?) and pick it up to the end but we didn't make it to the end. Somewhere in the sandy patch we got distracted by a big lion's mane jelly and lost the heading, or got shifted in the slight current. We then spent the rest of the dive searching for it, came across a smaller pipe and followed it back into shore. The maximum depth for this dive was 42 feet with a temp of 54 F. Visibility for both dives was around 20 feet.
Nudibranch -
Ling cod -
Brandon next to Plumose Anemone -
Brittle Sea Star -

23 November 2011

Maui - 2010 Day 5 - Zip Lining

Day 5 started with a zipline tour at Flyin Hawaiian Zipline Tours.  Yes, it was a bit expensive but worth it.  Not any more then a two tank boat dive would cost.  The tour is about 4 hours long with 8 zip lines in length from 250 to 3600 feet.  As stated from their website, ". . . fly through the magnificent Hawaiian skies, where you'll cross 9 different valleys and 11 different ridges, all while gaining insight into Maui’s rich history and culture. Along the way, we will take time to plant rare, native Hawaiian plants as we zip through the incredible natural diversity that exists on Maui, ranging from the tropical rainforest to the desert and everything in between!"  What a blast.  The staff was great.  All the equipment looked to be very safe and secure.  The views are fantastic.

In the afternoon we found ourselves snorkeling at Honolua Bay.  Honolua is a short drive North of Ka'anapali.  It's quiet, a little secluded.  The land next to the bay is sort of a preserve owned by one of the locals.  The easiest way to get there is to park on the highway and walk down a dirt road through the preserve.  The owner is doing his best to keep everything natural.  He asks that you do not enter the water wearing sunscreen, gives a little lecture, might even ask for a donation but all in all I think he's cool. To see any good reef you have to swim out pretty far to the right.  Once there, it's fantastic.  I've been told that reef is also good off to the left but I don't know from personal experience.  I hear conditions can be rough but on this day it was great.  There may even be a few dive boats in the bay and this would be a great spot for a shore dive.  I've heard, upon asking, the owner of the land will let divers drive down the dirt road to unload and maybe even park there.  Donate a few bucks and keep this option open.  Just before the beach there is a wash you have to cross.  This may or may not have water in it.  When we entered it was dry but was flowing upon our exit.  I suspect water was coming down from a recent rain in the West Maui Mountains.  The last photo shows the wash behind me and the road leading out.