Posted by Patrick on May 08, 2005 at 12:24:17:
Departed del Rey at approx. 0:700 under partly cloudy skies and a fluky wind - sort of east to south-east and light surface chop. As we saw last week, bait was abundant and there were numerous seals, sea lions, dolphins and myriad varieties of birds taking advantage of the bounty. An unexpected and unwelcome swell of a couple of feet and very short duration made conditions less pleasant than they might have been.
The poor visibility conditions the previous week had us heading south to the PV peninsula – hoping for the best but expecting less. A quick test jump for scallops deep off Hermosa proved to be a pleasant surprise. A ten-foot surface visibility opened up to a very acceptable and welcome 25 to 30 feet on the bottom. Several nice scallops were invited home for dinner, and we continued south to do the next jump on the Avalon. When we arrived, we found that the Island Diver had beaten us to the spot. So, as they finished their dive to the venerable old steamer, we moved over to another area we wanted to look at. A 20-minute bottom time at 80-feet was very nice with 30-foot viz and interesting structure both natural and man-made. I’m always somewhat surprised by the sparseness growth and critters on the deeper parallel reef structure that is found between Rocky Point and Flat Rock. But the area we dived held ling cod to three feet, bass, sheephead, sargo and clouds of reddish-brown juvenile fish that I believe are some type of rockfish fry, and seemed better populated than some of the other reefs.
The cost for the very acceptable viz was a bottom temp of 50 degrees. It was amazing that the 54-degree temp at my soak-out stop felt like bath water.
Island Diver had moved off the Avalon and we moved in. Visibility was very nice – perhaps 30 to 40-feet on the bottom. I spent my dive learning harsh lessons as to the idiosyncrasies of my digital, but found a few shots that pleased even after surfacing. Strange as it seems, I may be learning. Or it may have been luck. Not enough data to say for sure at this point. Anyway, it was a very pleasant dive despite the temperature. Swimming the length of the wreckage from crane to bow and back helped keep the body from chilling down too much during the attempts at photography.
For last dive of the day, we moved inshore to about 50-feet of water, on the edge of a kelp bed and again enjoyed excellent conditions though the wind and swell was making it a bit surgy on the bottom though visibility remained excellent. While in this area we spotted several large (Risso?) dolphins cruising just on the outside of the kelp. I was somewhat surprised since I had never seen dolphin in the kelp before, though I often see them in or just outside the surf zone between RAT beach and Malibu.
By about 13:00 we wrapped up, took quick rinses in the nicely warmed solar shower and headed back for a late lunch of carne asada tacos, burgers and fried zucchini.
An excellent time was had by all (well except for maybe the scallops…).
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