It feels like base jumping in slow motion off a cliff Divemaster Blog 26-06-11

Divemaster Blog 26-06-11

What an incredible dive. We just surfaced from Washington Monument Rock, a few miles out of Ketchikan and I’m happy to say it was probably my best PNW dive ever. It was everything one could wish for, with incredible visibility, great life and epic scenery. It starts as we follow the anchor line to forty feet through a monsoon of jellies, mostly moons and waters with a few scattered Lion’s Manes trolling their thread-like tentacles behind them. Upon reaching the boulder strewn bottom, we are greeted by a welcoming party of rockfish; China, yellow-eye, tiger and quillbacks, all crowded together around the numerous cracks and hidey-holes that dot the kelp covered slopes. Following a small gully to the south, a friendly chimaera (also known by its much more unflattering name of ratfish) reflects my light back at me with its piercing gaze.

The bottom slowly drops out beneath me before opening up over a vast expanse of water; a sheer wall falls farther than I can see in the eighty to hundred foot visibility. It feels like base jumping in slow motion off a cliff in the Utah Desert as I drift by clumps of delicate cloud sponges and hundreds more rockfish, ling cod and a few scattered greenlings. I fin my way along the wall, not wanting to ascend as my mind slowly drifts, absorbing the view in front of me.

Drawing closer to the numerous sponges, a macro world opens up, populated by coon stripe shrimp, longhorn decorator crabs and squat lobster. The only sign of humans are the few dive lights I can see shining from behind me and a discarded crab trap perched on a ledge jutting from the wall beneath me.

I look at my air guage and reluctantly reverse my direction, heading back the way I have come from. As I reenter the gully that leads from the wall back to the line, I pass a group of divers happily shooting away at the critters in the shallow boulder field; they have barely moved from the line and their giant grins pass on the message that they’re quite happy where they are. I try to convey that they should at least get a passing glimpse of the wall before ending their dive. As I pass through the jelly fish soup that floats near the surface, I am excited to hear about the dives that others have had. As they climb up the ladder, I hear tales of juvenile wolf eels dancing sinuosly around divers and octopus climbing through the crevices. I’m not the only one that had a great dive, and everyone looks forward to descending on it again soon.

Divemaster Tony

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