Announcing a new Meetup for The Greater Bay Area Scuba Lovers Meetup!
What: Advanced-Only Monastery North Deep Dive
When: Sunday, June 13, 2010 9:00 AM
Monastery Beach North
Carmel River State Beach Highway One
Carmel, CA 93922
This is an advanced skill level-only dive. Before you RSVP ?Yes?, please confirm that you meet or exceed the characteristics of an Advanced diver as defined by the Pisces system, which is posted on this website (http://files.meetup.com/517611/Pisces%20rating%20System%20for%20dives%20and%20divers%20according%20to%20Lonely%20Pl.doc)
. The Monastery Beach dive site is not to be taken lightly or trifled with; it has humbled some of our experienced Meetup divers, it has treated others worse, and treated a number of others even more worse. Anyone who has not dived this site will benefit from diving it first being led by a paid dive professional who should properly guide the dive and attend to the divers who may need a bit of assistance. We dive as buddy pairs on these Meetups without the hired leadership of any dive professional.
The challenge here is the narrow surf zone right at the shoreline. There is not a long sandy bottom walk at this site, it drops off rapidly to way over our heads. Even the biggest waves seem just rolling swells approaching shore until they whelm up and crash directly onto the beach, sometimes in a very dramatic and impressive display. Lots of waves break directly onto sand instead of other water in a long gradual runup to the beach. It gets deep quickly, the trick is getting through that surf zone; both entering and exiting the water. In fact, that transition is which part of this site pushed our members beyond their experience, challenging them to thrive. It will come up during our pre-dive briefing discussions, but what worked was backing in on the entry then kicking as much and as soon as possible which can be done with fins on from the dry shore, later on the exit swimming ashore transitioning to crawling all the way up the beach to dry sand with our fins on all the way in.
A couple of our Meetup members recently dove Monastery North and found the healthy marine habitat worthy of repeated visits. Read the comments from the recent Intermediate Lover?s III Meetup for details if interested.
We will meet alongside Route 1 southbound where we park on the shoulder and begin gearing up. Park and walk along to find us checking for the tasteful diver down flag with Meetup details embroidered on it. This is the path we will walk to the beach, if you find this location you are in the right place so try looking around again for us: http://photos2.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/a/e/6/8/600_11864648.jpeg
This is what the beach looks like on a calm day, our dive will take place beyond where the shoreline curves back to the left as we look further into the view: http://photos4.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/7/e/5/0/600_14972336.jpeg
We will gear up at the vehicles to our comfort level for walking to the beach. Then we will walk down a path, across and through a small creek, and onto the beach. We will get ready and complete our gearing up for submersion on the beach, then enter the water and get each through the surf zone as quickly as possible. We will always adapt our dive plans based on actual conditions but the framework that works if we are favored by conditions is described following.
First dive we will swim on the surface out to the wash rock. You will know what the wash rock is if you have been there scouting the dive site from the beach. It is noticeable although not overwhelming, it is a distinct feature of the site. This host?s first Meetup to Monastery North, Rachel was very encouraging to continue the surface swim all the way and I am glad she did. Beyond the wash rock is the special part of this site, we descended to the bottom where we got ourselves set next to the good stuff to see. We had not yet accumulated any bottom time against our no-decompression limit, we had not yet breathed much of our air, and the best part of the dive was just starting. The goal of this dive will be to visit the slab of a wall around 115 feet. When whichever of us reaches our turn pressure, we will ascend to between 55 feet and 70 feet on the wall, which this host considers the sweet spot of the dive, and each follow an isobath (?same-depth?) contour back to shore. If you are self-conscious of your air consumption rate, follow a shallower contour.
Anyone thinking of bringing EANx (nitrox), use 115 feet as your MOD and calculate which mixture you wish to dive on. Nitrogen narcosis is a concern at the depths we may reach during the first dive. Buddy pairs will be practicing self-rescue and watching each other for narcosis symptoms. If either of a buddy pair develops symptoms, they will shallow up above the depth at which symptoms developed and enjoy the site at those depths. The host considers 55 to 70 feet the sweet spot of this site; it is also the depth above which narcosis symptoms have been documented.
Second dive we will neither swim as far on the surface nor dive as deep as we had done on the first dive. This dive we will swim out along the edge of the kelp to where the bottom is deeper than 30 feet, take a bearing on the wash rock, and descend. We will head into the kelp towards the wash rock and aim for the deepwater side of it. Watch up through this kelp for large aggregations (+400) of blue rockfish just hanging there together in the water column beneath the shade of the kelp forest among shifting rays of sunlight. The picture included with this Meetup information was taken at Monastery North. We will follow the bottom to the 70 feet depth where we make a sweeping turn and begin working our way slowly in the general direction of the beach. Each buddy pair will select a depth range they are comfortable with and explore that part of the wall as we work our way back toward the exit.
There are restrooms somewhat nearby although they are not convenient to where we will be diving. They are off in the distance at the opposite end of the beach near Monastery South.
The site name comes from the religious edifice on the landward side of Route 1 which is visible from the surface of the bay looking back towards shore.
Learn more here:http://www.meetup.com/scubadivers/calendar/13734010/