Diving weekend at Shaw’s Cove, Treasure Island, and La Jolla Shores. I went Friday off Laguna Beach with one of the model building friends who also dives. Visibility wasn’t all that great, but we got to dive. On Saturday, I woke up early and went down to San Diego for a couple of dives at La Jolla Shores.
Friday, Sean and I went down to Shaw’s Cove and he got his first California Beach dive in; we were down for about 25 minutes. Visibility wasn’t too great, but it was about 8 – 10 feet, it was fairly surgy, and the entry was a little rough. We dropped by Treasure Island and I went in alone; visibility is usually better here than Shaw’s, but that wasn’t the case that day, it was fairly milky, and so I didn’t take many photos. I did pick up a sizable scallop and Sean and I ate it when we got back to the cars.
For the trip down to La Jolla which is about 80 miles from my house, I woke up around 4:30 am and drove down towards La Jolla. Back in ’94, I went to school at UCSD, so my drive around the local campus streets brought back a bunch of memories. I got into the La Jolla Shore’s parking lot at about 5:45. There were already a good number of cars parked in the lot. In the water, there are other divers, kayaks, paddle boarders, surfers, etc. Folks are already setting up all along the beach.
Having never dove here, I did some research on entry points and where to start the dive the night before. I used the small tank and did a quick orientation dive. My first dive lasted about 10 minutes of total bottom time. I to the edge of the northern end of the canyon and dropped down to about 70 feet. When I dropped down, I was right above a bed of sand dollars. It took me a while to recognize what they were as I had never seen live sand dollars before. On my way back, a giant sea bass swam right by me, and I was able to turn on my camera and snap a quick picture before it took off. The thing was HUGE! Unfortunately, there is nothing in the background for a size reference, but it was at least 2-3 feet in length. Biggest fish I’ve seen underwater to date.
Having oriented myself, I was ready for my second dive. I got back to my car around 7:00 am, and the parking lot was already about 80% full. I talked to some divers getting ready to get a better feel for where I should make my entry. I was told to go a little more south from my previous entry point.
I dropped down to about 45 feet to a bed of sponge formations. This was right about the edge of a canyon, and there are selves and walls that drop from 45 to 50 to 60 feet. At 60 feet, the water temperature was about 60 degrees, and a little cold for me, so I stayed around 45 feet. Also, diving alone, I didn’t feel like going any deeper. There were plenty of divers exploring the area and dropping in during my dive.
I snapped a good number of pictures of fish. There were tons of black eyed Gobies sitting on the ocean floor all over the place and darted away when I got close. I also found a couple of scorpion fish just sitting still, but they don’t spook so easily so I got nice and close for a picture. Swimming around were sheep heads that for most of my dives off Laguna were females and juveniles. So it was cool to snap a nice picture of a full size male.
Along the bottom of the ocean right over the sand, Spotted Turbot dart to and fro; they are very difficult to see while they are over sand so I was able to get a picture of one over a bed sand dollars; then another picture of the same one over sand.
Here is a picture of Tube Dwelling Anemone, another sponge, and a brittle star
Sticking out of the beds of sand dollars, are sea pens. At first, I thought they were feathers, but there were too many and at closer inspection, they looked more like animals than feathers. I found the ever familiar spanish shawl (nudibranch), a snap of some bright yellow sea slugs – possibly Engel’s Berthella; but I’m not too sure. And before it darted away, a snap of a Bluebanded Goby.
Wandering along the canyon edge, I came upon a fairly big Kelp Crab. Exploring the holes in the canyon walls, I found a shy Fringe Head that by the time I got my camera out, backed into hiding in its hole as I got closer for a picture..
One of the coolest thing I saw that I wasn’t able to snap a picture of was seeing a bird swim by while I was at 46 feet. When it came up, I thought it was a seal but as it got closer and swam by in search for food, I saw a beak, feathers, wings, and bird feet. Very cool to see a bird hunting fish at 45 feet of water.
More pictures are here: http://gamerabaenre.com/scuba16.htm