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s/v Code Blue – Scuba Diving Los Arcos May 1, 2013

Posted by steveandjudy in Code Blue 2013.
Los Arcos

Los Arcos

Scuba Diving Los Arcos 5-1-13

Sunday while walking the Malacon in PV I talked to a Vallarta Adventures guy who had some dive pictures from Saturday on his I-Pod of a dive at Los Arcos, a national park near PV and protected. I asked him about the visibility and he said 30 feet. Tuesday May 30th we took the boat out to pump water and do a dive at Los Arcos. As soon as we left the marina harbor we turned on the Spectra Cape Horn Extreme watermaker, Then motored to the arches about 1 ½ hours away. We anchored in 35 feet of water behind the arch, for wind protection some ways from the arch, in case the wind came up early. Our charts aren’t the best around here as they are about a mile plus off from true coordinates and they don’t give much info like bottom type or even much depth info. We did notice some sailboats anchoring quite close to the arches later on as well as tour boats. Our depth sonar acted up on the way over but then we got it going again as we got closer to the arches.

Anyway we couldn’t find our dinghy motor hoist (LOB – Lost On Boat) that we wanted to try out as it has recently been revised, so scratched the idea of putting the motor on the dink. I wanted to check the anchor so we jumped in at the boat with our scuba gear on and tried swimming to the bow. It’s been a while since I’ve done a boat dive on our sailboat. Due to the current that didn’t seem all that strong while looking at it from the boat we swam back to the stern ladder after a concerted effort. I got out and setup a float line from the bow to the stern with a fender bumper tied to the end. We also let out the dinghy painter line mostly because it was bumping into us so much at the stern ladder, then decided to let it out even farther as a trailing float. I got back in the water and then we pulled ourselves toward the bow while kicking. We went down the anchor chain with the chain jumping around three to four feet from action of the waves and extended length of the bow pulpit. Visibility was more like about 10 feet if that. As we went down the chain Judy was having trouble clearing her ears. So we went back up and reviewed ear clearing etc. We went back down the chain and did much better. Ear equalization did fine. She got down to 36 feet near the bottom but visibility did not improve and the main thing was it got way colder and her loose fitting suit sleeve arms do not fit very well, also later we noticed the suit was only a 3 mil suit not a 5 mil like we ordered. The suit was free from a drawing at the Scuba Show in Tacoma last year. All this extra stuff going on (chain jumping, low visibility, getting very cold at depth, suit not fitting right and wrong thickness) for a new diver like Judy, was not like Hawaii the last time she went over a year ago. We went back up and to the ladder and Judy got out. Just to let you know, I wisely decided on my DUI drysuit, but mostly to see how it would do in the warm water.

I went back down and checked the anchor, perfectly dug in nice sand and not far from the boat. It was in 41 feet with the 150 feet of chain in big ‘S’ curves back to the bow. After getting back to the bow, I decided to check the bottom of the boat since our last haul-out in Mazatlan about 3-20-13. I went down to the prop. Whoa! Nice little spool of heavy fishing line wrapped around the shaft and propeller, but even more surprising was all the growth on the prop and shaft. Barnacles about 3/8 inch in diameter covering the blades, shaft and hub area of the prop, plus the shaft strut and cutlass bearing hub had a lot of barnacles and growth even though I had recently repainted this area about five weeks ago at the haul out. I’ve always used red Pettit Trinidad SR, which did great in the northwest and in asking around here they said it was the best to use but hard to get. The rest of the boat had heavy barnacle growth on the leading edges and some over the whole hull. I went back up to the ladder and had Judy hand me my dive knife and a one inch putty knife. The feathering propeller had nice action of shifting from forward to reverse. I cleaned off the area pretty well. Where I had painted the shaft had less growth, but still some growth. The rest of the boat would have to wait. Not so smart, I should of checked the sonar transducer. I did check the Frigoboat keel cooler and it looked OK, but not great with a little bit of growth around the base edges. I then went back to the ladder and exited the water.

We decided to row the dinghy over to the arches and snorkel. The top five or six feet are pretty decent for warmth, maybe 70 degs or so per our computers. We used our new to us dinghy anchor that s/v Alegria gave to us and set it out in about 15 feet of rocky bottom near an arch. Not many fish and you could only see about 10 feet. This is way different than when we snorkeled at Isla Isabella. Finally we went to the outside edge of another arch and saw a bunch of good sized fish that were 1 to 2 feet long, snapper and some angel fish. We decided to head back to the boat. Judy did a great job of backing down into the water then kicking and hauling herself up into the dinghy with a rope from the opposite side, and the rowing seat. Judy rowed back to warm up. After I got out of the dinghy into the cockpit, we noticed our float line fender was farther from the boat than it should be. I checked the line and it wasn’t tied on anymore. So Judy rowed over to it and retrieved it, now about 150 feet away.

We turned on the watermaker again right away, as we had turned it off while were gone from the boat. We started motoring back to the harbor at 4:01pm. After getting back to the dock about 5:55pm, we cleaned and rinsed our dive gear, washed down the boat hung stuff out to dry, mostly on the boom as you can tell from the picture. We finally ate about 10pm, Chile Rellenos Casserole with mushrooms, onions and extra cheese that I fixed up while Judy took a shower. Pina Colada and our rum from the Costco run were our drinks. Dessert was chocolate. That was a long day. We’re at 2879 Nm for the trip so far. One nice thing in Mexico you can hang your stuff out to dry and it does dry out, unlike in the northwest at times.

The next day Wednesday, this morning I noticed swallow like birds, flying about the boat but never really paid attention to them. Really they are some kind of fish eaters as I’ve seen them dive into the water and get minnows in their beak. (Maybe someone knows what kind of birds these are.) As we were describing our diving exploits with s/v Wanauskewin one of their visitors said I think they are building a nest in your boom end. Sure enough, I looked in the boom end and there were sticks and feathers near the end for the start of a nest. We stuffed a boat towel in the hole. The birds stuck around for a couple of hours to see if the blockage was a temporary problem. Finally Mike the owner of Wanuskewin (wah-nuh-SKAY-win) Cree word that roughly translated, means “living in harmony” or “seeking peace of mind”, fessed up and they had the same problem with the birds the day before.

Steve and Judy

s/v Code Blue



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