Aug 312009
 

Diving weekend. Three days, and 9 dives, three off a dive boat off the coast of Catalina Island, four off of Casino Point, and 2 off the coast of Laguna Beach at Shaw’s Cove. Lots of pictures and video, and a great time was had.

Magician

Early Friday morning, we headed out to San Pedro for the berth that the Magician is docked at. We get on board and have breakfast. I had checked the dive boat the previous night and saw that the boat was still open. Checking it Friday morning, I noticed that the boat was full. So much for not having a crowded boat. I get on and was asked if I was part of the Pacific Wilderness group, which I thought was odd as I didn’t see anything at the dive shop talking about this boat trip. Later I found out that it is a bunch of Disneyland workers that need to get certified for working on a new water show that is being added to Disneyland. Their instructor is Bob, who certified me a few years ago. Also on the boat is Cliff, who was in the certification class. A good group of people were on the boat and off we went.

Our first dive spot was Ship Rock. We jumped right in and start taking pictures and enjoying the water. Brian didn’t have a hood, so he used mine. The water was very nice and I didn’t need the hood.

Nudibranch, and tons of fish.

No more pictures because I didn’t have moisture absorbing materials in the camera and when changing out the battery, moisture got inside and condensed effectively removing my ability to take photos…. But the rest of our dives were nice. We found a sail boat and a few other neat things. The really impressive things came the next day.

Casino point

The next day we took the Catalina Express over to Catalina early in the morning to dive at Casino Point. We got on shore and took a cab ride over. There are easily a 50+ divers getting in, getting out, and getting ready. We get suited up and hit the water. And on this dive we hit 100 ft.

1st dive, seeing a wreck, hjitting 100ft, and seeing a bat ray. We dropped down to check out the wreck, then followed the gradual decline to 104 ft, hung out for a minute, turned and headed back up. At around 65 ft, I saw a cloud of silt and looked around for bubbles as I first thought it was a diver landing in the zone, but I didn’t see a single diver, but instead, saw a bat ray just starting to get up from the sandy bottom. I stopped breathing for a moment as the bubbles tend to scare them off, and moved in for a quick picture.

After taking my picture of the bat ray, I exhaled which caused the thing to get up and start moving, so I switched to video mode and followed it for a small circle around Brian before it got annoyed and just bolted. Damn cool.


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Second dive we headed toward the other side south of Casino Point and saw tons of sheep head, black eyed golby, banded golby, and just schools of different fish congegrating.

The real catch for this dive however was the Giant Black Sea Bass, not only did we see one, but we saw three of the ginormous 400+ lb fish just hanging out and coming right up to us.

The third dive was fairly uneventful, we saw a sailboat wreck, and dropped down to 100 feet again, but stayed deep for a little too long and had to surface completely outside of the dive park boundaries as we came close to running out of air. We also saw a pretty cool nudibranch.

We did a fourth dive that stayed shallow and just relaxed. We cut the dive short so we could get one last fill from the Casino Point fill station before they closed up shop. Not wanting to have to deal with the taxis, we just packed up our gear and walked it all the way form Casino Point to the docks to catch an earlier boat back to the main land. And Brian wanted to get a night dive in after already doing 4 dives. I hate having to be the voice of reason….

Shaw’s Cove

The next day, we did an afternoon dive at Shaw’s Cove. Conditions are getting better after the Laguna beaches have been closed to divers for the past week and a half. Visibility was about 8-12 feet, but we had a nice relaxing dive that ran a hour and 15 minutes. There were lobsters everywhere.

The cool find on this dive was the fairly large Horn Shark resting in a little sheltered cove; credit to Brian for finding this sucker in all the surge we got to deal with.

I shot a video since the surge and it’s dark protected cove made it difficult to take a decent picture.


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I also found a moray eel, but it’s little hole and the surge made it difficult for pictures, so here’s a video


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Did I mention there were lobsters everywhere?

We got out and headed out to the closest fill station which was the sport’s chalet in irvine. Getting our fill, we headed to Wholesome Foods and had some fresh sangak, koobideh, and humus. We finished and let our food digest before heading back to Shaws for a night dive. We got into the water around 9:45 and started our dive at about 10 PM.

Photos are difficult as I didn’t have my strobe with me and all we had for illumination were the dive lights and the camera’s flash. But here are a few pictures.

Most of the images I took I grabbed through video.

Brian found an octopus, so we played with it a little. Note to self, clear the wide angle lens of all air bubbles upon descent and before heading off to the dive…


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A thorn back ray


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After some research, I believe this is a grey smooth hound shark that we found darting around.


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Again, lobsters were everywhere… but it’s still a good month and several days before lobster season opens up…. until then my little friend, until then…


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A ton more pictures, videos and bigger versions of these videos are here: http://gamerabaenre.com/scuba17.htm

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