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New Meetup: Intermediate Octopus Seekers Night Dive Meetup at San Carlos Beach Cannery Pipes

From: David D.
Sent on: Sunday, October 17, 2010 7:52 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for The Greater Bay Area Scuba Lovers Meetup!

What: Intermediate Octopus Seekers Night Dive Meetup at San Carlos Beach Cannery Pipes

When: Saturday, October 23,[masked]:00 PM

Where: San Carlos Beach
Cannery Row x Foam St (Left of Breakwater)
Monterey, CA 93940

Last time we did this dive with the specific intent of encountering octopodes, the Equinox was approaching. Now we have just passed Summer Solstice and ought to go again. Again this time seeking octopodes; nothing crazy, nothing pagan: San Carlos Beach.

Park in the lot uphill from the grass, but look for us at the downhill end of the grass with the Meetup sign. There is a path down the center of the grass, we will be around the rocks at the downhill intersection. Look for a diver down flag with Meetup details on the diagonal white stripe. We will be using those aforementioned rocks for mounting our dive kits just before we walk right down to the water.

Wind Guru suggests the time we will be there to be the lowest wave condition of the weekend, modest with a long period that suggests little wind-formed waves which is a preferred condition of comfortable surface swim with minimal surge at depth. Air temperature forecast around sixty with full cloud cover and possibility of lowering fog, regarded in some jurisdictions as precipitation but elsewhere a source of curiosity why the ground seems wet.

Sun positions on 23 October are:
- Sunset: 05:21PM
- Civil Twilight: 06:29 PM
- Nautical Twilight: 06:17PM
- Astronomical Twilight: 6:47PM

First dive will be darkening conditions during which we can expect octopods to be emergent. Second dive will be after dark when we hope more emerged during our surface interval.

We are going to enter the water far to the left facing the water, near to the structures; the cannery pipes come out from the deepwater side of the one right at the water. We will use the largest cannery pipe as a navigation aid, it lays approximately 30 degrees from magnetic north out to approximately forty feet deep.

Short surface swim suited to our shared reality of physical fitness and we descend into perhaps 14 feet of water. Down there we will find two smaller pipes which we will pass to find the larger diameter pipe. We will follow the larger pipe, turn around at the deeper end, and follow the pipe again all the way back in. There is octopus habitat at a multiplicity of locations along the entire length of that larger pipe.

Last time we dove along the pipe, the forward diver hugging the bottom close to the pipe saw an octopus trying to get to a crevice formed with the bottom beneath the pipe just before a buddy's exuberant kick from above silted up the view. And one night dive we photographed an octopus out in the open between the deepwater end of the pipe and Metridium Fields, approximately half way between.

We have got to get a more satisfying night dive photograph of an octopus compared with the one we have already. Seriously, look at the shadow problem which will not happen with the full underwater photography rig including the strobes on the arms which can be positioned as desired. No, don't look at that photo, it is humiliating. Please come on this dive to help find an octopus to photograph that repentence might be made and redemption achieved.

Here is the search strategy:
- First buddy pair side-by-side and just to the right of the cannery pipe with the pipe directly on their left.
- Second buddy pair side-by-side at the limit of visibility from the first buddy pair and off to the right farther out from the pipe; it will be like we are triangulating the area between the buddy pair to enhance our probability of notice.
- Third buddy pair further to the right of the second buddy pair.
- Fourth buddy pair further still.

When we turn around we will shift positions relative to the pipe so the buddy pair that most closely followed the pipe gets to cover some of the open search area away from the pipe. We will return on the opposite side of the pipe.

Each buddy pair will attend to observing the area diagonally in front of us toward the adjacent buddy pair. Half a buddy pair watch to one side, the second half of a buddy pair watch to the other side, each stay generally abreast of the adjacent dive pair keeping their lights ever within sight. We will communicate sightings with the agreed upon action of the night lights to express 'give attention here to this octopus' upon which we will converge to observe the octopus. We will notice but not excessively concern ourselves with all the creatures we encounter which are not octopodes. And we will not distract other divers to notice creatures which are not octopodes. Unless it is a sighting of 'The Good Madame Rockfish' or other such Monterey legendary..., no..., nearly mystical creature.

Octopodes will be out in the flats hunting after dark and we specifically hope to notice one in the open. Seriously, have hope in your heart as you RSVP 'Yes' for this dive. Bring the hope with you the evening of the dive. Do not under-estimate positive thinking regarding octopus sightings. Your host has seen more octopodes with hope in his heart than he has been surprised by noticing an octopus while not particularly hoping for a sighting.

Octopus do not move quickly if we refrain from making threatening movements. We will not engage in provocative or harassing behaviors. If we respect the octopus, it will respect the reality we each want to share a look.

Whichever camera gets to the octopus first gets of course precedence but let's be sure we photographers play nice with the other kids in the sand box. Share fairly the observing opportunity before ever the octopus reaches a hide if it begins making a move.

Don't get closer than arms length unless the octopus is really mellow. Watch if it starts putting on a performance and seems to encourage our notice. You know, actually, with some of what may seem awesome displays of changes, they may be experimenting with their camoflage and trying to disappear from our notice. We used to have octopodes who would not leave when we came to visit at a site we called 'The Wall' which was our home site in Indo-pacific waters for two seasons. They had fled upon our first encounter but remembered we did not initiate direct physical contact and never fled again afterwards.

We have no dive professional leading this dive. We have a dive plan framework outlined above. We will buddy up and buddy pairs will dive together. We will generally not get far ahead or behind the adjacent buddy pair as different things distract us and we cycle between kicking and observing more closely. These are dusk and night dives so equip yourself according to your training and experience.

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