Posted by CalDiver on July 05, 2001 at 15:47:13:
We jumped on the Encore for a dive day and fireworks show with surprise appearances from the entire Sheckler family as well as Bonnie Cardone, working her own particular brand of scuba celebrity mojo (sorry, too many Mike Meyers videotapes in the boat's library).
Captain Pam parked us over 4 terrific dive sites -- Virgin Reef, Johnson's Rocks, Mills Landing and Eagle Reef -- and with the leisurely pace afforded by the late return for the fireworks show, we were treated to nonexistent gate time requirements and abundant freediving opportunities in between scuba dives. While viz was a little less than exemplary due to some overcast (25-40', respectively at the sites), we had nearly flat seas and little current; temps were 69 F at the surface (claimed Pam; some were suspicious) and 62 F at depth.
Divers observed extremely healthy and abundant gorgonians at V.R. pinnacle, thick kelp growth and attendant blacksmith and wrasse populations at Johnson's Rocks, a long, graceful fly-by from a mature bat ray at Mills Landing, and vibrant crustacean & mollusk life at Eagle Reef, an old standard for frequent Catalina divers.
After a minor skirmish with the Harbor Patrol (no actual boarding, and no charges currently pending), Pam put us right next to the Queen Mary for the fireworks extravaganza. An excellent day on the Encore, but next time we're sleeping there the night after the dives to avoid that Long Beach post fireworks traffic.
On a personal note, it was my main dive buddy's first time back in the briny deep after a terrible car accident months back; the lobsters did not seem as overjoyed as I was. Nonetheless, Welcome back, Chris.
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