Monday, April 13, 2009

Anacapa adventure - dive 31

View from our room at the Holiday Inn Express at Ventura Harbor

Finally, about a week later, I am getting the Anacapa dives in writing. I should have done it last Monday, but I was... Well, I was doing something. I can't really remember right now.

So, here's how it goes...

We are in the process of having furloughs at work. I have to take five days off between April and June. I wasted no time. I took the first Saturday in June (normally a work day).

The plan was to find a dive boat for Sunday, then spend Saturday night wherever the boat was.

I picked the Spectre, out of Ventura Harbor. It was going to Anacapa, a new trip for me. Manfriend had been there before, but was up to it again since it had been a while.

We got everything packed and ready early Saturday afternoon and headed up the 405 to the 101. It was a clear, sunny day with a bit of wind. It looked perfect.

After getting to Ventura we went directly to the harbor to check out the boat and decide if we wanted to sleep on board. The boat was scheduled to leave at 7 Sunday morning.

It looked like the boat was not back from that day's trip, so we went to take a look at the beach area.

After that little detour, we went back to the harbor and found the boat.

This is six of the bunks in a very small space.
They were very short and narrow.

This was our bunk. Since we didn't plan on sleeping there,
we only took one. But this is considered a double. We used it
mostly for storage, though MF did rest there at the start of the trip.
Once you are wet though, there is no going below deck. After the
first dive we did not see it again until we were
headed back at the end of the trip.

We took one look at the cramped bunk spaces - the bunks were about 6'2" long and MF is 6'9" long - and decided to stow some towels and other stuff on one to reserve it for the next day, but that we would be better off getting a room at the nearby Holiday Inn Express at the harbor.

To save some time the next morning we did set our dive gear on deck.

We had dinner that night at Winchester Grill in downtown Ventura, then headed back to the harbor to a restaurant called Margarita Villa for, what else, margaritas.

Soon enough it was time to sleep... early. We wanted to be back over at the boat by no later than 6:30. It was a quick 5-minute drive from the hotel.

Sunday morning came quickly and soon enough we were back on the boat.

The ride from Ventura to Anacapa is only about an hour and 20 minutes. It was a pretty smooth ride, though a little wind had kicked up overnight.

You can barely make out Anacapa in the distance as we set out.

The captain took us around to the back side of the island first, but the current and wind were too strong there, so he headed back toward the front side, stopping at the northern end of the island at a site called Rat Rock.
Rat Rock, Anacapa, Channel Islands, Calif. (from the Spectre)
April 5, 2009
Logged dive: No. 31
Max depth: 80 feet
Bottomtime: 35 minutes
There was an advanced open water class on the boat, and one of the dives they were required to do was a deep dive. The captain said this site was about 40 feet to one side and down to about 100 feet to the other.
The surface was very choppy. We jumped in and headed to the anchor line to descend.
I was holding onto my memories of the great dives we had in November at Santa Barbara Island, but this was not to be the same.
We chose to go to the deep side for a bit, then head back to a shallower area.
The divemaster had said that while it was choppy at the surface, it should be OK once we descended. It was not. It was still fairly surgey. Plus I had a lot of problems with my mask fogging up, which made it tough to see. I kept having to tip my head down to let water in the top of the mask then tip my head back to clear the water out to defog it.
All in all, it made for a nice little case of vertigo.
I was determined to tough it out as long as I could, but the foggy mask was too much after a while. It was actually worse than the surge. If I could have at least seen clearly, I would have been OK, I think.
Anyway, other than the surge and fog, the site was rather nice. There was a rocky reef area in the shallower side of the dive area. There were urchins, big starfish and vibrant purple and orange nudibranchs.
And there were sea cucumbers everywhere. I did not get a lot of pictures here since I was having trouble seeing. Really, I am surprised I got anything clear at all.
There was little kelp in this area, mostly it was the rocky tail of the island stretching under the surface to form the reef.
After struggling a bit and being very cold, MF and I gave each other the thumbs-up sign indicating we should head back to the surface.
We surfaced not too far from the boat and waited our turn behind another group of divers to get to the swim step, all the while bobbing and bouncing with the chop of the water.
By the time we got back on the boat, was definitely queasy. Not good.
After shedding my gear at my station, I headed to the bow of the boat to get some sun and catch my breath. MF brought me some water. I was starting to feel a bit better.
But then the puke came. Yup. Nice.
But it did help. I figured I would be OK by the time we reached the next dive site.
Next post... dive 2 for this trip.

No comments: