Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
The Garden Spot, Anacapa, Channel Islands, Calif. (from the Spectre)
April 5, 2009
Logged dive: No. 34
Max depth: 40 feet
Bottomtime: 30 minutes
This was the last dive of the day.
The captain, and most of the people on the boat, had been hoping to get to another spot popular with the sea lions.
But it was too choppy there.
Again, no sea lion paradise for me. But that is OK. This was a nice spot, too.
We did see a couple sea lions, again though they were on their way someplace else and did not stop to play.
This was a pretty uneventful dive. More stars, urchins, sheephead and garibaldi.
And a lot of kelp.
We hung out for a while, fed some more fish and then headed back while we still had plenty of air.
Mostly we got cold. The idea of a hot shower and a cold beer was enticing.
When MF gave the thumbs up sign to head back to the surface, I was fine with that.
All in all, it was a good day. It ended better than it started.
I would go back here again, but there are new places I want to try before that happens.
So, here are the last of the pictures from the Anacapa trip.
Cat Cove, Anacapa, Channel Islands, Calif. (from the Spectre)
April 5, 2009
Logged dive: No. 33
Max depth: 30 feet
Bottomtime: 40 minutes
By the time we got to the site, things were definitely improving.
The sun was out, the wind was down and my stomach was settled.
The water at this site was flat, like a lake, and bright clear blue.
Of course it was still cold. No amount of telling myself it would be warm worked.
But this time I did not care.
Manfriend had fixed his mask, broken on the last dive, with some wire. We were ready to dive.
We submerged and headed toward the kelp bed. The kelp was thick but not unmanageable here.
Among the usual stars, urchins, etc., we saw this limpet. They are crazy looking. I really find them fascinating.
As we found the rockier area, another diver picked up a rock. As soon as he did this, a sheephead started stalking him.
The diver looked around and found what he wanted... a sea urchin. He used the rock to break it open, instigating a feeding frenzy.
This picture is one of my favorites: two big sheephead fish going head to head for some sea urchin. It looks like they slammed heads and exploded. The debris is just the sea urchin flesh.
Those fish pick an urchin clean in seconds. The diver opened a couple more for them. The whole time we were looking out for urchins, the big ol' sheephead was there.
Below is a little video of the feeding frenzy.
We also saw some sea lions here, but they were cruising through pretty fast and not inclined to play.
We surfaced near the boat into the perfect conditions. A couple other divers are seen at the back of the boat.
Goldfish Bowl, Anacapa, Channel Islands, Calif. (from the Spectre)
But I was too distracted to really enjoy what is probably a very nice site. I did not get too many pictures here.
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.
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.