Steadily Improving

Not again – another foggy morning. At least this day had the promise of better conditions as the day wore on, according to the Channel 5 weatherman. But, as we left the marina going south, it seemed the fog was even thicker than it had been yesterday.

We couldn’t see anything in the harbor, but slowly motored towards the Stage Fort Park area. As the first rocky outcrop appeared, I could see three mooring balls off Half Moon Beach and they were all empty. I picked the red, reserved for transient tourist one and we tied up. It was completely calm. No wind, not even a cat’s paw. No rocky wakes from passing boats rushing to make the bridge opening. There were a few waders at the water’s edge on the beach, but no swimmers, and no one in the life guard’s chair.

Jeff C., Laurent, Pete, Veronica, The Captain and I all suited up quickly. Veronica and I swam to the nearest rocks and saw more tunicates, an invasive species, and a large bouquet of squid eggs. The bottom was silty and sandy with some mostly submerged tires that were serving as lobster houses. We found a trapped skate which Veronica liberated without breaking her forward momentum. You could tell she wasn’t even going to think about whether she could, or should, help it. She just did it. Good for her because I helped. The water was 59 degrees at 20 feet with about 5-8 feet of visibility. My hands were actually hot inside my wet gloves.

When we surfaced, we were amazed to see that the fog had lifted almost completely. We could clearly see the big warship – Whidbey Island – moored near the Dog Bar Breakwater. That meant we could have a real second dive somewhere else. I picked Kettle Island for its diverse bottom conditions and potential for lobsters for Pete’s cookout next Sunday.

It turned out to be a good choice. There were plenty of lobsters and the visibility was much improved. In the shallows at 25 feet, it was about 15 feet. Laurent and Pete went deeper to see 54 degrees at 45 feet with 20 feet of visibility or more under the thermocline. We were the only boat for as far as we could see. Just the way I like it. Pete said he saw antennae, then put his gloved hand into the hole and felt the claw of what would certainly be a too-big lobster. I guess he’s able judge them now without even being able to see them.

I finished off the tank I had started in the harbor right under the boat. The little rock gunnel I tried to video vanished just as I managed to set up the camera and arrange the scenery.

There was soup on the way home along with Veronica’s snacks.

The day turned out much better than we had expected.

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