El Porto Dive Report

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Posted by Chris on September 11, 2000 at 13:10:30:

Yesterday, I made a solo dive at El Porto (North Manhattan Beach), which is known for it's large winter break, but is often very calm in the Summer.
It was one of the nicest dives I have ever made here. Since I live here and only need to walk down the street, I have dove this spot many times over the past ten years, nonetheless this was my first dive here this year.
The terrain here is all sand, but I have always found it to be very full of life for a sand dive, more so than sand dives at San Miguel or the other islands.
When I walked down in my gear at 2PM, there was almost no surf. The water was crystal clear and I could see a few corbina swimming in the near shore troughs were they like to hang out. The water temperature was about 72 °F.
I walked out, fins in hand, past the waves, until I was about mid chest deep and put on my fins.
As I dove down and headed out the first thing I noticed was the sand was full of small translucent clam necks. There were millions of them. There have always been clams here (razor, pismo, and others), but I have never seen the sand so full of them. There were approximately 500-1000 clams per square foot no matter what depth, or how far from shore I went.
As went to deeper water (15 ft. +), for here, the visibility dropped. This is because the water was full of tiny translucent shrimp, so thick in spots it looked like clouds in the water.
Fish I encountered included a small bat ray, several sand dabs, a turbot, several California thornbacks (banjo sharks) and a large (6 ft) shovel nose guitar fish. I also saw thousands of hermit crabs, sea stars, sea pansies, large sand snails, a moon snail, translucent anemones, and thousands of sand dollars. I will probably go again this week, it was such a nice dive.

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