Monday, November 3, 2008

11/01/08 - Dive boat to Santa Barbara Island - third dive

Arch Point off of Santa Barbara Island, Calif. (Channel Islands)
Nov. 1, 2008
Logged dive: No. 20
Max depth: 60 feet
Bottomtime: 35 minutes

This was the last dive of the trip.
No sea lion rookery.

Conditions were not good apparently. So it was better to be safe.
Still, I really wanted to play with those sea puppies.

But all was not lost, we saw a frisky little sea lion at the end of the dive.

Read on to find out more about him.

Me, heading down the anchor line.

Me again, clearing the pressure in my ears.
Once we got to the bottom, there were large sandy areas dotted here and there with rocks that were home to coral, stars, brittle stars, sea urchins and anemones - all in multiple sizes and colors.
A shot of some coral with a plant growing in the middle of it.

Star surrounded by brittle stars.

More stars, more colors.

There was an angel shark just hanging out in the sand not too far from the end of the anchor line.

Same angel shark from a different angle. When we swam back by this way about 10 minutes later, it was gone.

My gauge. Here we are at just above 60 feet. The red hand shows the max depth of the dive at that point, just over 60 feet.

Visibility here was not as good as the first dive, but it was still really good. Far better than the second dive.

Another star. I love the texture on this one.

I am not sure what this is. MF said maybe a welk of some kind. I liked the shape of it, so I took a picture.

Here is just a pile of the brittle stars. They were everywhere here, all over the rocks and all over everything else. MF said he got a little creeped out thinking about them just covering everything.

Another creepy crawler.

There was what looked to be an old lobster trap. It had become home to a few urchins inside and some more brittle stars hanging around outside. I really like this shot.
At this point, MF took the camera and got some really nice shots of some anemones. The series is below.

Finally, it was time to head back to the boat. The water was colder here and we were getting low on air, so I was about ready.

Another diver, heading up the anchor line after doing a safety stop. That dark blob above him is the boat.

We came up the anchor line after a safety stop of our own then headed toward the back of the boat. As we got almost to the swim step to get out of the water... SEA LION!!
One fun little guy wanting to play.
I was so happy, I forgot to take pictures at first. But he kept coming back around to play, swimming and spinning.

They are soooooo fast! It was hard to get any photos of him up close.
At this point, we hung out at the surface, just using our masks and snorkels to keep our faces in the water and watch him.

I was trying to get the camera to work, but the reaction time was too slow for the speedy sea puppy.

Just when I thought I had a good shot, the little fellow darted up and away!

This one is my favorite. Just the tail and bubbles. That was pretty much what I kept seeing of this guy. He was so cute.

Finally, he took off. We waited a few more minutes to see if he would come back, but he did not.

So we got back on the boat.

It was good to finally get out of all the wet gear that we leave on between dives while the boat moves from site to site. It was good to get into dry clothes and have some lunch.

Now, just a 6-hour boat ride back to Long Beach. Perfect time for a nap.


roxannima said...

I can't believe how beautiful these photos are! How awesome! :)

Jeff said...

Great macro photography! Looks like a great trip. How was the debriefing?

Since today is election day, if you live in California, write in Ron Paul for President!

Jill said...

I felt like I was posting too many photos, but the ones from these three dives were edited down from more than 300 to just the best ones we got.
Most things there were small and so detailed, so thank goodness for the macro setting!

And debriefing was good. As were all the meals onboard. I was surprised at how good it was really.

Atheist Dad said...

Your unknown creature is a Keyhole Limpet. Pretty cool little creatures :)

Wonderful pictures, by the way. I love Santa Barbara Island and cant wait to go back there!

Jill said...

Yay! Thanks for the info.
I hate not knowing what it all is, but there is just so much!

Jacque Jo said...

Those are such beautiful pics! I've made one of them my desktop pic at work! :) Such a great post!!