Saturday, July 25, 2009 – Foggy Bay, Alaska
Sun! The sun! We can see the sun! After a week of fog and gray we’re craving the sunlight.
We dove from the boat for this dive, which was different than our usual skiff dive and much more convenient since we could go straight from the dive to our rooms rather than waiting for the remaining divers. Perfect, since on the descent line I realized my left glove wasn’t sealed and was slowly filling with water and chilling me. This wasn’t a major problem since my dry suit was sealed tight, but it did mean that my left hand was soaking wet and therefore colder faster.
Giant Plumose Anemone
Giant Plumose Anemone
Foggy Bay is a pinnacle at around fifty feet, covered with giant plumose anemone and more fish than we’ve seen yet in the northeast. I’d become sufficiently chilled after 25 minutes so I motioned to Dave that I was going up and – since we dove right off the boat – I climbed right out of the water and disassembled gear right away. So much better that waiting an extra 20 minutes for cold-water-friendly divers to finish their longer dives.
Oh, and I saw a halibut! Well, I thought it was a really big flounder but back on the boat Dan set me straight and informed me it was a halibut. When I described the size Dan and Tim decided it was 35-pounder. The size of a small child.
Stephan, helping the divers out of the skiff
Since the sun was out we found Shannon on the top deck with her book and sunglasses. We all sat in deck chairs, soaking up our vitamin D, and trying to get Andrew to bring us water so we didn’t have to leave our chairs to hydrate. (“Andrew, you look thirsty! You should get water. And bring us some, too.”) Luckily Kathryn – one of the hostess – came up to announce that lunch was served and we joked, “Can’t you bring it up here?” Five minutes later the crew arrived baring trays of salads, wraps, and condiments.
Anat, Dave, and Dominique enjoying the weather
Dave, “Nooooo! It’s soooo briiiight!”
Following lunch were shore landings on a few little beaches nearby. We were so delighted to be in the sun that we all took advantage of the opportunity. Shannon, Anat, Dominique and Bernard and I had a quiet cove to ourselves for about an hour.
I took off my hiking boots and waded for a bit, standing still in the water and watching little crabs skitter around by my feet.
Crab turf wars
My stuff, before the tide suddenly moved in
My boots, drying off after their unexpected float on the ocean
Then we all sat on the shore to enjoy the quiet serenity until the skiff arrived to take us back. When it did arrive we also picked up the other beach-goers so there were 12 of us total in the zodiac – more than our usual 7-8. This is noteable because if we’d had less we would have traveled faster, and if we’d traveled faster Anat wouldn’t have noticed the three orcas in the distance. Thrilled, we tracked them to shallower water where they fed off a school of salmon for a bit and we captured ridiculous numbers of pictures.
Nautilus on the left, orcas on the right
Fishing boat on the left, and the HUGE dorsal of the male orca on the right. They were feeding on a bunch of salmon
Dive #2: Foggy Bay
Our second dive was the same pinnacle as Dive #1, though this time the current was much stronger and we were all quite thankful for the bow line that led us to the anchor line that led us to the site. Dave went with Peter and I went with Anat, the two of us intent on finding octopuses. We had no luck with the octos, but I spied Guido and Chris photoing something and when I hovered overhead I discovered what they had found: a ratfish (aka chimera). These are long, interesting looking fish and yet another aquatic sighting to check off my personal fish finder.
Anat and the anemones
It’s a nudibranch. I swear.
Anat and I had probably our longest cold water dive yet this trip: 40 minutes down. By the time we emerged the current had lightened considerably so climbing onto the boat was much easier than jumping off.
I celebrated with a traditional mug of hot chocolate. And Khalua.
We crossed international waters just before dinner and we cheers’ed with our pre-dinner drinks, and though Dan promised he’d do a Canadian dance we never got to see it.
Dan and Enrique, talking at sunset
Shannon and me at sunset