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Divemasters Blog

Aug
11
2014

Harsh conditions made for a challenging day of diving The Explorer this weekend.  This is in part due to the super moon that we are experiencing (in case you were wondering.)  We departed late Saturday night for Santa Rosa Island, one of the outer Channel Islands.  Santa Rosa is one of the best spots to dive but conditions are usually bad so there is a very small window that charters have to fit into.  Hence the reason why Santa Rosa trips are generally done once per year.  There were very strong currents, wind, and big swells.  But still doable. This was definitely a trip for those with a fat healthy logbook. The first site was right off the island.  There was a large reef directly below the boat with a huge crack in it.  Almost looked like a wall had fallen down.  In the crack you could see all the nocturnal fish taking shelter – mostly because their bright colors make them easy prey for predators.  We saw a ton of treefish in there.  You can spot these at night or in darkened holes or cracks during the day. Look for the black and yellow striped fish with rosy red lips. The second site is where things got great.  After an hour or so of searching for a spot, the captain came across what looked like a huge plateau (mesa?) on his sonar thingamajig.  The crew then elected me to jump in and check it out before we sent all the divers in.  What I found was unreal.  A huge underwater island.  The top was flat sitting in about 20 feet and then rounded down a bit then dropped off to a sheer wall to ~50 feet.  Sorta looked like if you cut the top third of a scuba tank off.  Surrounding the base of the wall were a half dozen swim-throughs – or at least that is how many I saw.  The entire underwater structure was massive and would take some planning if you were to try and get around the whole thing. There was tons and tons of life.  Some of which included gigantic sheepheads, scorpionfish, and hundreds of scallops.  After we surfaced everyone was so jazzed that we made sure the captain marked the spot for next time.  The captain did so and informed the entire boat that the spot was to now be known as Jason’s Underwater Island.  Huge thanks to the crew of the Explorer

Onward and downward,

Jason

Views: 961
Posting: 08-11-2014
Tags: advanced, california, diving, santa rosa, scuba, underwater island
Aug
01
2014

Divers who are looking for a change from Catalina can look to the north for fresh dive sites to explore. Anacapa has lush kelp forests and the harbor seals who live nearby like to play with visiting divers, so pinniped lovers really ought to make the trip out to Ventura for a dive. Anacapa is well known for its dramatic rock formations both in and out of the water, and cruising through the narrow rock alleyways is always a thrill. The nearby Santa Cruz Island also offers some really excellent diving. Given its more remote nature, the wildlife is more plentiful and easily approached. On a recent dive at Gull Island, we spotted two octopi and several eels, which aren't very common elsewhere.

Historically, Anacapa is the site of the last lighthouse built by the United States Lighthouse Service. The lighthouse is still in operation today. The island has an official population of three, and the name comes from the Chumash word for Mirage Island. Check out dives with the Peace and Spectre dive boats on the Eco site for more information on trips out from Ventura. It's well worth the drive, trust me.

Jul
31
2014

Plenty of people had their fun making Jaws jokes about the Manhattan Beach shark incident earlier this summer, but not many Angelenos looked into what actually happened. This wasn’t an unprovoked incident where a Great White had a major hankering for some human snacks he just had to satisfy so he just came up chomping on swimmers. The animal had actually been hooked by a couple of fishermen on the pier and was struggling to escape. In the confusion, the shark was snapping at whatever came by, which unfortunately included a group of open water swimmers. The victim, a 50 year old real estate agent, escaped with a bite wound to his ribcage but is otherwise a-ok.

Non-divers are understandably afraid of the ocean and the toothy fish that live in it. Many of us have first-hand experience face to face with sharks, and we in particular can act as advocates and educators about the realities of what goes on in the sea. Sharks rarely attack humans unprovoked, and this was no different. Sharks and other ocean predators may not get fair coverage in the news but we can make a difference by sharing our own experiences and helping people understand these animals and the struggles they face.

 

Views: 860
Posting: 07-31-2014
Tags: diving la, eco dive center, scuba, sharks
Jul
29
2014


It was a crazy day of diving aboard The Magician dive boat this weekend.  It started out as a typical day of great California Diving – sunny, great viz, and warm water.  Dive one we went to Ripper’s Cove.  One of my favorite spots, Ripper’s Cove has all three types of underwater terrain all in one spot: Sandy bottom, reef, and open ocean.  My ideal dive in this spot is to start deep of the bow looking for giant sea bass in the wide open space then come up the slope through the sand and then ending in the reef and kelp forest.  This time of year the warmer water brings tons of life. About 10 min into the dive we saw a school of barracuda!   We slowly tracked the school, which were swimming around us for a good 5 minutes.  Tip: The slower and calmer you are the more fish you will see.  If you are flapping around like a spaz you will scare away all the fish.  Dive 2 we went to Fraggle Rock – a very cool site loaded with giant underwater rocks.  In a sandy area we saw a baby bat ray.  So cute.  It was very curious and ended up circling the area during our whole dive.  Dive 3 was at Rock Quarry.  This site is famous for the rare butterfly fish that live in a very specific area.  We did not see the butterfly fish but some other divers saw a turtle. So cool. The craziest part of the day had to be when we were pulling into port and there was a 20 ft gray whale in the harbor.  Goes to prove you never know what you are going to see on a day of diving in California.  

Onward and downward

Jason

Views: 845
Posting: 07-29-2014
Tags: barracuda, bat ray, california, fish, kelp forest, scuba diving, turtle
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