Monterey: Day 5

My fifth day in Monterey was my last with Jamil. Getting to spend this week with him was a ton of fun! It was amazing to hear about all his adventures, and the amazing things he has planned for the future.

In the morning, we had some free time, and managed to get one last sea lion dive in together. This time, the sea lions were extra playful, coming close up to the camera and checking out their reflections in the dome port. The visibility also had improved significantly, so I was able to improve on some of my shots from the previous sea lion dive.

Around lunchtime, Jamil and I walked over to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was a great experience, and pretty funny to see everyone marvel at the marine organisms we had seen in the wild just hours before. It was also nice to see their big focus on marine conservation throughout most of the exhibits.

In the afternoon, Jamil had to leave, but I got to go on a dive to the metridium field with Savagh. The medtridium field is several hundred meters out into the bay. To get to it, we followed a long rusty old pipe coming from an old cannery. At the end of the pipe, we took a compass bearing until a boulder field filled with beautiful white anemones lay before us. At the same time, a huge swarm of sea nettles was swept in, surrounding the metridiums from all angles. On this dive, I decided to try for the first time a fisheye lens. Berkley lent the lens to me for a few days, and I decided now would be the perfect time to try it out. Unfortunately, I spent the vast majority of the dive fighting backscatter, trying my best to avoid it by constantly rotating my strobe placements to try out different possibilities. I eventually figured out something that worked, given how wide the fisheye lens is. Be that point, most of the dive had gone by, and the metridiums had all curled in. I quickly turned my focus to the swarming jellies, and even as savagh went up, I stayed down, determined to get some shots. As soon as I hit 500psi, I made my way to the surface, freezing cold, but with plenty of air. I soon realized just how far offshore I was. A driving offshore wind was pushing a slight surface current against me, and I began kicking hard as I felt my feet go numb. This whole week I’d been relying on my awesome dry suit, but because of the long swim I figured a wetsuit would be easier. I paid my price, freezing myself on the way back in, but making it back in one piece.