Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Road Trip! Diving Cape Flattery

Well, it was a long road trip, but we went out to Neah Bay on Saturday night (8/16-17/03) and went out on The Puffin Adventures charter to try to dive Duncan Rock.

We (Randy, myself, Rhoda, Greg, Dan & Craig) got on the boat after a somewhat less than restful night in a cheap hotel (boy, I like drunks at 4 am). We got out to the rock right at predicted slack in fairly heavy fog and glassy seas, but found a 2-3 knot current that made it less than dive able. This is one of those very advanced dives, basically a spec of a rock out at the entrance of the straits, that you look at a lot and are able to dive infrequently. We thumbed it and went over to Tatoosh Island, which has lots of nooks and crannies that are out of the current.

There was a fair amount of surge, and not very good viz, sort of milky water (?), but cool rocks, kelp, passageways, swim-thoughs and tunnels. Lots of rockfish, invertebrates and color. Not very deep - 60-70' max. I did shoot some photos of some of the huge beautiful dahlia anenomes, etc.

We went over to a little nook called Hole-in-the-Wall (above) for our surface interval. After changing tanks and resting a bit out of the swell, we went back over to another corner of Tatoosh Island and dove there.

The viz was better, but not great. There was a couple of long, somewhat deep cuts that we followed and enjoyed swimming about and taking pictures. There was a whole school of black rockfish that we don't see often and one rather large ling cod that was acting territorial, wished I'd had a speargun to make lunch out of him.) At the end of the dive I had some problems with my inflator leaking and had to make a somewhat quick, but not emergency assent.

The boat was on the other side of the rock, that was covered in rather large fun seals and huge Stellar sea lions. They were looking at us as intruders and as they are easily 400 pounds or more, I blasted them with my DiveAlert horn to scare them away. About then the boat came around the corner with Steve (the captain, and a bit of a hothead) yelling at us to get on quickly. All was well, and we motored back to Neah Bay in patchy fog and bright sun. Near Wahah Island, on the outside of Neah Bay, we saw a fairly large grey whale feeding on the krill that had been part of our visibility problem.

Randy and I later hiked up to Cape Flattery and enjoyed the view of the rocks and then very heavy fog. Then another long, but scenic, drive home.

Photos: Cape Flattery