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New Meetup: Coral Street Beach Intermediate Dive

From: David D.
Sent on: Thursday, April 22, 2010 10:38 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for The Greater Bay Area Scuba Lovers Meetup!

What: Coral Street Beach Intermediate Dive

When: Sunday, May 9,[masked]:00 AM

Where:
Coral Street Beach
Ocean View Blvd & Coral St
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Coral Street Beach is this host's favorite Monterey Bay dive site that is not always inviting. We will be scheduling intermediate-level Meetups at Coral Street Beach with Lover's Point #1 (the well-protected beach where we dive to the right of the diver down flag monument, you can't miss it) as first fall back and San Carlos Beach Cannery Pipes as ultimate fall back. Thinking of that ultimate fall back position, thanks to our member who posted a link to the bathymetric and underwater feature map of the San Carlos Beach dive area.

Our host almost obsessively, at least daily and often more than once a day in the week before a Meetup, checks a sequence of websites including a reliable near-shore forecast model, a near-shore buoy measurement, a local atmospheric conditions forecast, and Monterey Bay ocean webcam which has a bluff-top perspective looking down at the water and including some near-shore rocks that help with relative height of waves. We have built an observational record of what the forecasts mean in terms of conditions that actually occur and whether our first choice seems likely. In any event, our three-tiered priority list will include a site that is safe to dive on most any day except perhaps the day after the nearby Maverick's Big Wave Surf Competition. No need for anyone to get excited and post on this site in the thread of this Meetup comments which include copies of marine forecasts from weather prognosticators looking twenty miles to sea. Seriously, please don't post weather reports to this site; instead, send the host an e-mail if you wish to discuss interpretations of what forecasts mean and how they may apply to what we plan to do.

General stuff aside about how we will be approaching our planning of Intermediate Dive Meetups, the rest of this is a description of the Coral Street Beach site.

This is a site with protected entry and exit. We park just past Coral Street in Pacific Grove on the water side, hand our cylinders to each other down the short wall to the beach, gear up on the beach, and stroll the few steps right down into the water.

Look for the Meetup variation on the diver down flag. Zoom in on a recent photo if you wish to familiarize yourself with its appearance. It stands less than two feet off the ground to mark the locus of our activity without being offensive to anyone else. Someone must typically park and walk up to see the flag, drive-by-glancing does not get the job done.

Tides this day will be two modest high tides and two modest low tides. The morning high tide will be just before we arrive with the fall only two feet through the end of our second dive when the afternoon low occurs. A gently falling tide like this can help dampen other forces which might otherwise contribute to waves and challenge our fun.

We as skilled intermediate divers will be diving as independent buddy pairs. We will figure out buddy pairs on the beach while gearing up to account for those who did not arrive already knowing who they would buddy with. We will head out as a loose group, gather over a patch clear of kelp, and descend together. On the bottom we will get into our buddy pairs, be confident we are ready, and head north. We will swim out north and return south so bring your compass, refer to it, and get practice guiding yourself taking frequent bearings to veer left or right.

This site has a lot of bottom character. We will swim around and among a number of rock outcrops which some call pinnacles although the host considers them more like bolders. Then we will reach a sandy area which will seem like it could go on forever beyond the limits of visibility. We will explore the margin between the rocks and the sand is these places are the favorite haunts of hunters, particularly the ambush predators such as cabezon. The we will swim across the sandy bottom and encounter more of the rocky outcrops. We will keep diving along like that until we reach our turn pressure and reverse direction.

The host intends to bring his camera system on the two dives. That results in him swimming for three to five minutes, then working around one spot to get a shot for three to five minutes. This means for the group we tend to alternate spreading out and regrouping. Even if the host decides to leave the camera behind, we plan to take our time seeing what there is to see instead of swimming excessively.

When the host is photographing, it may be a nudibranch. Try to get a look when the photographer is done and you may see something that would otherwise be missed.

There is street parking but no bathrooms. Folks have jumped in their car and driven to restrooms at Lover's Point or located some restrooms near the golf course a little farther out. The beach is accessible via a stairway on the left standing above the beach atop the rock wall looking seaward. If conditions appear impractical for safe entry, exit, and dive; then we will relocate to a calmer dive spot.

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/scubadivers/calendar/13266617/

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