Saturday, April 16, 2016

First dive in La Bocana

The winds were pretty strong last night, but they had calmed down a bit by morning and the sea conditions didn't look too bad. We got our boat loaded with lots of gear and then a tractor towed us to the water's edge before getting his tractor behind the boat to push us the rest of the way into the water.

tractor pushing boat into the water

We were floating in the water when we ran into a problem -- the engine wouldn't lower into the water. The winds and current were pushing us out of the estuary into the breaking waves, so we hastily threw an anchor over the side to keep us from drifting onto a sandbar. It didn't take too long before they managed to get the engine lowered and we were off.

We arrived at our site, Zona Afectada, and tossed the float with its stainless steel cables over the side followed by the two cement filled buckets. Five of us then went down to move the float system over to the other four cement filled buckets that were already in place. There were over 70 pieces of stainless steel hardware holding this thing together by the time we were done.

six cement filled buckets to hold the subsurface float in place

The CTD was then attached to the float cable.

CTD attached to stainless steel cable

Once done with the installation we took a little time to explore the area. Visibility was not great, maybe about 10 feet. In particular, we were looking for abalone but found none. Magda spotted the ray shown below.

California spotted stingray
Urolophus halleri

The total time for the dive including our safety stop was half an hour.

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