dive trip report--just a leeeetle late...

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Posted by kelphead on November 14, 1999 at 01:38:35:

on nov 3 i went out on the 'peace' boat to santa cruz isle w/a new dive friend.

it was the first time for both of us visiting this island and we were both looking forward to it.

the first site was east pt pinnacles and the stats for the dive are:

**temp at depth = 53F
**max depth = 81 ft
**bottom time = 38 min
**vis ~ 20-30 ft

i was using my very own and new h.p. steel 80 tank--no more aluminum, YAY!!! i was also using a new 'g-shock' watch, new 'rei' drybag (should've bought one of these a long time ago), and i was trying out, for the first time ever, a swimming cap (to keep my blasted long, tangling hair from getting wet in the first place).

well, we geared up and hit the water and descended down. i was a little surprised to see that there was no kelp forest and the scene looked somewhat barren. there weren't many schools of fish, no garabaldi, and no eels or sharks. we did see a lot of smaller life, including:

**sunstars (first time i've seen them in socal waters; noticed they were prevalent in norcal waters)
**tunicates--first time i actually identified these critters (they look more like kelp)
**sea hares
**kelp fish
**male sheephead--several of them (which surprised me) and they were not yet pink in color, so i figured they were in transition
**nudi's and tube worms

the bottom seemed desert-like and i was a bit disappointed.

there was a strong current at ~60ft (can't estimate how fast) but i was happy at my progress through it--i tend to shy away from currents b/c i'm not such a great swimmer.

our second dive site was at deep eagles nest:

**temp at depth = 53F
**max depth = 61 ft
**bottom time = 41 min
**vis ~30 ft

here we saw TONS of nudibranchs all over the place. i don't think i'd ever seen this many before and i could spot them very easily!! what i could i.d. from my pacific nudi book include:

**catalina triopha (or similar to it)
**limbaugh's cadlina
**spanish shawl
**san diego dorid
**tritonia festiva
**hermissenda crassicomis (i think...)

it was a wonderful treat to see these small creatures--especially for the first time!!--but, again, i was surprised at how empty the site was for larger creatures. we were fortunate to see a salp. the only other time i had seen a couple of these bewildering creatures was up in monterey waters.

we decided to skip the 3rd dive but there were some avid lobster hunters on board and they did not miss any of the dives that day (though, for the life of me, i have no idea how they even spotted their meager catches b/c we certainly didn't see any lobsters--and we were looking, too!!).

the last dive of the day was at st. augustine cyn:

**temp at depth = 58F
**max depth = 30 ft
**bottom time = 47 min
**vis ~20 ft

this site was all sand and the sand ripples were very visible. b/c we were relatively close to shore, the sand did get churned up which reduced the vis. there were a few stalks of kelp here and there, but no kelp forest by any stretch of the imagination. it was surgy here and there was a strong current. again, i would use the term 'desert-like' to describe this spot BUT at least we got to see ONE lobster. there were a few fish, like senorita, but not a school of them. there were, also, more nudibranchs and sea hares around.

all in all, i guess i can't complain for someone who has been dry for 3 months. it sure did feel good to be wet again, but i was disappointed w/the sightseeing aspect of these sites. looking back in my log book, i seem to have enjoyed catalina, san clemente, and santa cruz islands better. perhaps i should stick to those areas, though i am curious about san miguel.

re:the gear, i was very happy w/the steel tank. i no longer felt awkward carrying a long tank on my back and ~10 #'s of extra, unwanted lead--in fact i think i could even drop one, possibly two more #'s. = : )

the 'casio g-shock' watch also seemed to work just fine, i not only needed it as a backup timer, but also for the built-in thermometer. i compared the thermometer on the watch to that on my spg and noticed that they were both pretty much in line w/each other, despite the fact that the spg thermom. does not have as much detail in reading the temps.

now, the swimming cap: well, i was able to get ALL of my hair under it and i put two hoods on top of that and despite the swimming cap obviously shifting around during the dive and coming off completely when i took off my hoods, my hair actually stayed mostly dry. it was damp, but not soaking wet. i decided that next time i should try the swimming cap that has a chin strap, so hopefully that will reduce any movement and keep the cap on after i remove my hood.

can't wait til the next dive.

= : )


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