Anacapa Island Dive report 5/26/2005

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Posted by scottfiji on May 27, 2005 at 18:25:41:

Location: Anacapa Island
Dive Sites: Goldfish Bowl, Cats head, Coral Reef
Max Depth: 40ft, 55ft, 40ft
Temp: 55-56 degrees
Gas: Air
Bottom time: each dive 1 hour
Waves: none
Vis: ranged from 20-45ft, usually around 30ft;

Bernard and I took the Peace boat to Anacapa Island. We left Marina del rey at 5:25AM and made it the the boat at 6:30AM, boarding time. But it seemed like everyone else was already on the boat, eating breakfast!

The boat was full. Mostly men, a few photographers, a few hunters, and a few students, a mixed group. We departed at 7AM, for a quiet trip across the calm pacific. A pod of dolphins joined us midway on our trip. Too bad it was overcast skies...

Our first dive was goldfish bowl, a shallow dive, a marine reserve, but not too much going on at this site. But as soon as we hit the water, Jellies everywhere!

not just one species, but at least a dozen, including comb jellies and salps, all leisurely floating by, in all shapes and sizes. big, medium, little, and lots of babies. Many too small for me to get a good photo. Simply amazing! We were treating to this calvery of pelagics on each and every dive, going up and down the anchor line. Most jellies were concentrated in the top 15 feet of water. I could have watched them for hours! Bernard, in his haste to descend, didn't even notice them the first dive, but thoroughly enjoyed them after that. Not too many fish for a marine reserve, but I did find one large lingcod, and a large scorpionfish. Lots of navanax and spanish shawl at this site, and island kelpfish.

Bernard at I were the last on the boat after the dive. In fact, we were last on every dive! Our dives weren't that long, never more than 60 minutes, and we were one of the first ones in. What was going on - was everyone an air hog? Getting cold easy? bored of the dives? I thought I would meet more diveaholics on the trip, but I guess not... (The Peace staff told us we could stay under an hour - we certainly didn't hold the boat up at all!)

Right after the dive, I stripped out of my cold wet suit and into the hot tub. This strategy warmed me up for the second dive. I also poured hot water onto my wet suit, gloves, etc. They were nice and warm when I put them back on!

Second stop was cats head. I had to force bernard to descend into the water - he was so busy taking pictures of jellies at the surface! I couldn't really blame him. This site was a little deeper, the reef was 35-55 feet, lots of kelp and interested rock structure, including a wall we followed for a little while. We saw some larger fish on this dive, including some very large sargo. Hunters came back empty on this site. One sea lion swam past us to see if we had fish for him.

Third stop was coral reef, the best of the three sites. Lots of thick kelp in shallow water, and lots of great structure. I quickly spotted a large (3-4ft) purple jellyfish - how beautiful it was! Watching it for a few minutes was mesmorizing.

We found a large angel shark, and a large bat ray on this dive, both on the sand and easily approachable.

Lots of fish out on this dive. Bernard and I both had our camera batteries die on this site. The sky was very overcast most of the day, but the sun came out for this dive. The really thick kelp made it difficult to surface and get back to the boat, we had to surface a couple times, and then swim underwater at a depth of 10ft to get though the kelp.

Overall I loved diving here - all rocks are covered with colorful algae, various sea cucumber tentacles, anemones, etc - a great assortment of invertebrates. Not too many large fish (all fished or speared??), but lots of smaller fish, lobster, and I saw 3 species of crabs I haven't seen before. And we saw several swimming shrimp high in the water column - very cool.

The food on the Peace was fantastic, they served breakfast, chili, lunch, and ice cream for dessert, food before and after every dive!! Service was excellent too. I highly recommend the boat. The hot tub after each dive was nice. Coffee and hot chocolate were great. Very professional in handing cameras in and out of the water. Oh, and fills are up to 3700PSI, very nice! Lots of space on the bow to store a bucket-o-gear too.

The drive at 5PM from ventura down the PCH through malibu was wonderful, with no traffic. We stopped to watch a large pod of dolphins near Leo Carillo. All in all, a great day. Trip was $75, including air and food, well worth it!

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