Bright and Bumpy

Today was very sunny with a southeasterly breeze (Jacki, you were right!).

We had Jacki K., Alex and Candace, Steve Gates and Chuck from ME for Candace’s last dive of her scuba course.  We drove around before they arrived to try and find a good spot.  It had been blowing from the northeast and was predicted to continue to do that, so we chose to go south.  Kettle Island looked good, so that’s where we planned to make the first dive.

As we left the harbor mouth, you could feel the swells surfing us along towards the southwest.  There were waves breaking all along Norman’s Woe and Popplestone Beach.  As we pulled behind Kettle, it looked glassy smooth.    The Captain directed traffic and we anchored in about 25 feet of water, well out of the reach of swells.  The tide was going out and there were no other boats around.

Chuck and I waited for the others to get in.  He was interested in getting acquainted with new gear he’d purchased and wanted some pointers on skills.  No problem.  That’s what we like to do.  Pete took Candace for a sojourn, with Alex following as best he could in the murky water.  Turns out it was only about 5 feet of visibility, although it was warm – 59 degrees with no thermocline.  There were lots of big comb jellies and some round gooseberry-sized ones too.  Peter says the big ones eat the little ones, but you couldn’t tell because they’re both transparent.  I think I believe him.

Chuck had mask trouble because of his mustache, we think.  His primary mask leaked as did his backup one.  He even tried one that Candace loaned him, but no luck.  It just filled up from the bottom as he descended the downline.

We decided to move for the next dive in the hopes of finding better visibility.  Divers’ Leap, across the channel, looked OK.  We all were set to go and I let out almost the whole of the anchor line for as much scope as we could get because we were stern to the rocks.  Peter and Candace were lobstering and she caught, measured, and bagged one all by herself under Pete’s guidance.  That one was going to be for her mother, Pam, who heard about it all right away on the dock as we unloaded gear.

Jacki found two lobsters at a standoff in the rocks.  One was huge and the other was pugnatious and/or stupid as it parried for that particular den.  She also found a scallop shell that had been left by a member of her dive club, Metrowest, as a token to redeem for a prize.  The water was clearer here, but not great, at about 10 feet of visibility.

I saw many sand dollars with tiny olive snails clustered on their tops.  They weren’t holding on very tight and I brushed some off by accident, but they were a strange sight I’d never seen before.  Imagine a cluster of sprinkles on a melting ice cream scoop.  That’s kinda what they looked like.  Pete thinks they were eating the sand dollar, but I think they were filtering the exudate from its central pore.

The ride home was even more bumpy than the ride out because the wind had picked up.  I skimmed under the Blynman Bridge with 11 feet of clearance, so they didn’t have to raise it for us.  We saw a seal heading outbound in the river, swimming into the current near the football field.  He didn’t seem shy at all and kept looking back at us as we passed.  He looked a lot like this one posted yesterday in Jay Albert’s blog:

Seal Photo by Jay Albert of Cape Ann Images

Seal Photo by Jay Albert of Cape Ann Images

It was a good Fall day.

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