Posted by divebumNsandyeggo
i got back late last night from my weekend trip out to san clemente island (sci). the boat wasn’t quite full, as the horizon sold 28 of the 30 berths available. we left san diego friday night around 10 pm, arriving at window pane on san clemente around 6:30 saturday morning. after the first dive (where both divemasters work the deck), i had the second dive off, so aaron and i geared up and got in the water to check things out. the viz wasn’t great by sci standards, but there was plenty to see - a large bat ray as we settled down near the bottom, followed by a couple more doing the wild thing shortly thereafter. lots of lobsters, garibaldi (juvenile and adult), blue-banded goby’s, calico bass, and opal eye. we were in the kelp beds most of the 75 minutes, and i realized early on in the dive that i was underweighted diving an aluminum 80 (i normally dive an 80 steel cylinder), so i was grabbing rocks most of the dive and putting them wherever i could. about half way through the dive we came over a ridge in the reef and wound up in the middle of a mackerel bait ball - surreal. there were thousands of them swirling around us. not long after we were in the middle of another bait ball, this one sardines i think. not long after that we came across a large gathering of calico bass having a feeding frenzy with an unlucky octopus. further down we came across john wagner (designer of the aps mantaray fin, and a good friend). he had found an anchor and was hooking a lift bag to it.
during the surface interval i worked the deck on the next dive, and then gayle van leer and i went back in the water at arrowhead to check things out there. amazing dive as well, although the viz was slightly worse than the first dive. still it was about 40 - 45 feet. on that dive we played with a sea star, found what seemed to be the jurassic park of fish - 2 to 3 foot calico bass, largest garibaldi i’ve ever seen, and some massive sheephead. toward the end of that dive (another 70 minutes at depth), we found the first giant kelp fish i’ve ever seen - a yellow one that blended perfectly with the kelp.
while i was working the next dive, one of the passengers came up complaining about his dry suit - it was leaking pretty badly, and he was bummed that his diving was over. working on the boat we can’t have that, and since he was about my size, i donated my suit for the balance of the weekend. oh well. next time i’ll bring an extra wetsuit to cover that kind of thing.
i just got my mares trilastic suit back (the zipper broke so mares sent me a new one), so we’re diving tonight. good times.
have a great, short week - peace, out.