Link to a video of the trip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du6eOF2MRlQ&feature=share
I still have a big smile on my face after this trip. We did 3 dives off the Pacific Star dive boat. Out of 28 divers I believe at least 20 were members of Divebuddy.com. For those of you who don’t know what the Farnsworth Bank is, it’s a series of underwater sea mounts a couple miles past Catalina Island in the middle of the open ocean. The shallowest mountain top is at a depth of 60’ and it goes down and down from there, well past the safe recreational limit of 130’. It is famous and special for being one of the few spots ofin Southern California where the purple hydrocoral grows (yes, hard coral like in the tropics). It is the only spot where you can find a lot of it, and it is difficult to dive there because the open ocean exposes the site to sometimes big swells and fast current.
Our first dive was Farnsworth, and the surface conditions were not ideal. We had 2-4’ swell with some wind chop and a 3 knot current. The boat anchored right on top of the shallowest pinnacle at 60’. But everyone was challenged to first swim to the anchor line against the current, and then hang on to the line while descending into 5’-10’ visibility. I think 3 or 4 divers did not make it down. It was pretty rough. If you were fortunate to make it to 55’ the current went away and the visibility opened up quite nice to approx. 60’. Huge schools of fish were everywhere, mostly blacksmiths. There were nudibranch’s (colorful sea slugs) everywhere, and huge in size. The purple hydrocoral was spectacular. I hope my video does it justice. Water temp was a brisk 54 degrees at 102’ depth for me.
For our second and third dives we went to the protected front side of Catalina. We stopped at Eagles Nest and then Black Rock. I really enjoyed the topography at Black Rock. Lots of moray eels, lobsters, and schools of various fish. Also lots of little caves to peek into and explore. The highlight of our third dive was a swimming Spanish Shawl nudibranch that Kali discovered while I had my nose buried in a cave to find a little crab. I sort of mucked up the water quality coming out of the cave but the video of the nudi is still really special. Water temp was 62 degrees at depth traveled 20-60’ at both sites.
Thanks to all my buddies on the boat for an amazing and fun time! Let’s do it again soon!