Max Depth: 41 feet
Date: October 11-12, 2002
Party Members: Matt Adsitt, Michelle Lyman
Dives: 3-daylight, 1 night
We made it through the weekend without dieing of
decompression sickness or lung over-expansion so that was a bonus. The water
temp was a brisk 54 degrees but for the most part, I was feeling pretty toasty
in my wet suit so no problems there. We made three daylight dives and one
night dive for a total of about three hours under water. And the life! I'm sure
I saw more sea life on my first dive this weekend than all my other Puget Sound
dives put together (then again, I really don't have all that much dive
experience to begin with in Puget Sound). The Edmonds Underwater Park is chock
full of artificial attractions. Bookoo boats, a forty foot slinky that you can
swim through, sunken barges, fishing boats and dry docks.... all full of huge
Ling Cod, we're talking five feet plus!. Rock cod, huge cabezon with mouths big
enough to swallow me at the shoulders, herds... er... schools of pencil fish
(that's not actually what they're called, but that's what they looked like),
flounder, crabs, and the shrimp! The shrimp were everywhere! Their eyes glowed
in our lights on the night dive and there were so many in places it looked like
a carpet of little eyes watching us hover over them making me feel like an alien
mother ship scoping out the life forms on a new-found planet (okay, so maybe I'm
a little off the deep end here [pun intended]).
Anyway, we had a great time (can ya tell?). That's definitely a must re-do some
Michelle's (better) Description:
We packed our gear into the car, loaded up ourselves and Mikayla, and were off for the 8 ½ hour drive. Friday dawned with just a few clouds drifting by and a balmy 65 degrees expected by afternoon, so we left Mikayla (not yet certified) with my folks in Federal Way and headed north. We couldn’t have asked for better Seattle weather! This was the first dive in many years for both of us so we had a few bugs to work out, but once we were properly weighted and had finished whining about the 54 degree water creeping into our wetsuits, we were back in the diving groove. The sea life was amazing! Ling cod nearly as long as I am, Cabazon that could have had Mikayla for a snack had she been with us, the biggest sea cucumbers I’ve ever seen, tons of shrimp and my favorite, clown nudibranchs (flowery looking underwater slugs). At one point, I set myself on the bottom and looked up. We were between 2 sunken boats and there was a cable connecting them that was about 7 feet above our heads. Resting on the cable, perpendicular to it and silhouetted against the sun, was a small (2 ½ foot) ling cod. Of all the times I wish I’d had an underwater camera, that was it! It was the most amazingly beautiful sight I’ve ever seen diving! We poked tube anemones, came face to face with painted greenlings (striped fish with blue lips), explored sunken ships and just had a wonderful time! We took two dives on Friday and called it quits until Saturday. By the time we hit the water for Saturday morning’s high slack tide, all our bugs were worked out and we were in with no issues. We headed straight for a sunken dry dock for our first dive on Saturday. We spent some time swimming through the “ribs” of the structure and looking at the plumose anemones, which were more like ghostly white flowers than sea life! After exploring here for a bit, we turned and headed north in search of more adventure. Somehow, we managed to miss every other structure in the park (36 acres of grid marked fun) and ended up WAY north of our intended take out. Oh, well…we turned around and snorkeled south, pulled our now rubber legged, over weighted bodies out of the water and attempted to get our land legs back without falling down in the sand and ending up flailing like turtles who have landed on their backs. We opted not to take a second day dive on Saturday (I was being a weenie) and instead decided that a night dive would be our better option for the final adventure. We once again donned our clammy wet suits, this time grabbing flashlights, and headed out to sea. We saw all the same critters, but in different states of activity (except the ling cod, which were still sitting around doing nothing…when do they eat?) This time, many of the shrimp were swimming instead of hanging out hiding on the rocks. As we shined our lights along the bottom, we were greeted with thousands of beady little glowing shrimp eyes looking back at us…their numbers were astounding! During the day, we couldn’t really see them until we got right in their little shrimp faces, but at night…holy seafood, batman! We were NOT alone!
Date: January 19, 2003
Party Members: Matt Adsitt, Michelle Lyman
As I was donning my wetsuit booties, preparing to walk into the frigid waters of Puget Sound, I started up a conversation with a diver as he was walking back to his car (in a drysuit, the sissy!) I asked the inevitable question, “How was it out there?”, he commented on the limited visibility and then said, “But the fish are very active”. I found this exciting news since in October, they did nothing but sleep. He assured me that they were VERY active, VERY aggressive because they were nesting, at one point, he looked over to see a 4 foot ling cod attach itself to his buddies head!
I shared this bit of knowledge with Matt when he returned to the car and with this in mind, we tiptoed out into the 48 degree water. We waved at the kiddos and blew them kisses, then descended into the murky, cod infested waters. After swimming a ways, Matt shook my arm to get my attention and gave me the international, well recognized signal for “you lead, I’ll follow, go that way”. Unbeknownst to me, what he was REALLY trying to say was “big a** fish is chasing you, he’s coming from that way!” Ooops…remind me to brush up on Matt’s foreign language; it might save my life one day. J Not 10 minutes later, out of the depths I see a cod rocketing toward me. I flipped on my back and kicked him repeatedly in the head while swimming away. I was laughing so hard I had to hold my regulator in my mouth, the air coming out my nose was leaking out the sides of my mask, blowing my hood up like a balloon so not only did I have one hand on my regulator, but the other trying to squish the air out of my hood so I didn’t rocket to the surface! When the brute decided to leave me alone, I looked at Matt, rolled my eyes, removed my regulator to flash him a quick smile and we were on our way. The rest of the dive was uneventful in the area of killer death fish attacks, and as we waddled up the beach with our numb toes trying to feel the sand, we couldn’t control our laughter. It was unanimously decided that lunch would be…lingcod fish and chips from Ivar’s.
After lunch we send the kiddos off with my folks to view the local sea life from a safer, dryer position at the Seattle Aquarium and we decided to venture off to the dry dock in search of the BIG fish. Of course we were both too afraid of them now to get closer than about 5 feet to the walls of the structure, so we looked from a distance and kept watching our backs. Matt seemed to find humor in touching my leg, at which time I would spin around thinking I was about to be brutally eaten by a cod! After circumnavigating the dock, we started back for another pass when I was attacked by cod number 3. Good grief, do I really look that threatening? This one came from behind so I simply quickened my pace and removed myself from certain peril. A bit further out, my ear started doing very strange things so I gave Matt the “bad ear” sign and we moved toward shallower water. We then made one more attempt to continue the dive and it just wasn’t working for me so we made the decision to head in. I turned to see if Matt was behind me just in time to see a creature shooting up from the deep heading straight for his stomach (or so it appeared from my angle!) Again, it was a small cod (about 18 inches) but to hear Matt tell the story, it was a 12 foot great white! He caught sight of the brute about the same time I did, so I witnessed the fight for life between man and nature. Matt did a somewhat awkward looking somersault in an attempt to remove himself from the jaws of certain death and the beast rammed into his leg. I think he tried beating it off with his light, but at that point I was laughing so hard my eyes were watering so it was really hard to determine what actually happened. With that 4th attack out of the way, we headed in, beaching ourselves right in front of the car, and headed back to the land of the walking. All in all, our most entertaining dive to date. The cod will live in infamy.
After a so-so day of skiing Baker on Saturday, we headed down to Edmonds again and made a couple of dives. Given the events of our last dive in Utah, it was understood that the kids were not yet ready to dive in the Puget Sound so they went to see the same sea life at the Seattle aquarium with Michelle's parents instead. As it turned out, that was an excellent choice for them. The water temp was colder (48 degrees) than it was in October and the fish were very aggressive as it is "nesting" season for the cod and other rock fish. We got our first clue to this fact as we were getting ready for our first dive. A couple of other divers returned to the car parked next to us, and they told us about a large cod coming after them and biting one of them on the head.
With this knowledge in hand, we kept our distance from the larger of the fish, and still we were attacked three times. The first time I was looking at Michelle and saw a two foot rock cod shoot out from under a small boat in a b-line for her legs. A timely kick of her fins fended off the beast even though she didn't even know she had been strafed. When I tried to explain it with hand signals I pointed to the place where the fish came from and she thought I was telling her to look under the boat and started swimming back to it. I'm sure it would have looked pretty funny had someone been making a movie of the scene, but I wasn't laughing just yet and grabbed her, spun her around and started swimming the other way. The explanation would have to wait. A while later she picked up another defender but this time she saw it and we had a good laugh as we darted away again.
Between fish attacks, we found and explored the Triumph, a sunken wooden Tug boat. As we approached from the keel I took a peak behind the oversized rudder and decided to shoot the four foot gap between the rudder and the hull, but just before I entered this dark space an enormous ling cod lift off the bottom and dart under the hull. I changed my mind and came around to the back end of the boat and made a big sweeping motion with my arm to indicate to Michelle that we should circumnavigate the ship, but I wasn't very descriptive in my sweeping motion and she thought I was telling her to swim around the rudder and headed toward the waiting ling cod. Okay, okay... so maybe a diver of more experience would laugh at me being nervousness around fish nuggets, but it's not that they scare me, it's just that I don't want to disturb their nesting habits, yeah that's it. Nesting habits. Now that I think about it, it may have been more interesting to watch her swim through that wooden cave, but instead I redirected her and we headed off along the port side of the ship. After our first dive we were glad that we hadn't found any of the larger ling cod and cabezon that we saw in October. There wouldn't be nearly as much humor in seeing a five foot ling cod bolting after you.
On our second dive we were exploring the sunken dry dock again... and found the big fish. Lucky for us, they were in lazy mode and left us alone. But this time it was my turn to get attacked and even though the fish was no more than a couple of feet long I found myself swearing in my regulator when this ugly monster from the deep shot up from the bottom and headed straight for my leg. I did an involuntary summersault and bonked him on the head just as he bounced off my leg and he headed back for home. He was just trying to push me away because he never even opened his mouth... which is a good thing. Have you ever seen the inside of a rock cod's mouth? A lot of small nasty teeth in there. Nothing that could hurt you, but he could scruff up my wetsuit pretty good. After the little bastard (and it's legal to call them bastards if they bolt at you) swam off, I looked over at Michelle and she was rolling with laughter. And not at the fish I'm sure. After I stopped swearing in my regulator I couldn't help but laugh too. It helped to think of the fish and chips I still had in my belly from lunch.
We circumnavigated the Northern dry dock and looked for the octopus but didn't find him. Swimming along the southern side of the dry dock brought us as close to the Kingston ferry dock as we've ever been and when that boat took off the noise was incredible. You can feel the sound waves hitting your chest right through 5 mills of hyperstretch. And should a turn of the head open a water path to your ear you would think you were right in the engine room of that ferry instead of a hundred feet away. If I hadn't known we were safe there along the dry dock, I would have been bolting for the nearest ling cod nest, with our without an invite.
We were nearing the end of our dive when Michelle
began having ear trouble. She thinks it was just the cold water, but
either way I was getting low on air anyway so we headed for shore stopping to
see more squid egg sacks and poke at the shell fish along the way. All and
all, an excellent day of diving.
Party Members: Matt Adsitt, Michelle Lyman, Penny
Dives: One at the park, and one at the oil dock