Trip Report Saturday - GEM dive...(long)

JuJee Beads, handmade flamework glass beads

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Posted by ed on November 05, 2001 at 11:17:28:

Prepared and gathered all my gear Friday night, in anticipation of the dive aboard the Covenant on Saturday. Set the alarm clock to 5:30 AM, and went to bed.
Got up at 5:00 AM (beat the alarm clock), loaded the gear and had a quick breakfast while waiting for my friend Andre to show up.
To make a long story short, at about 7:30 am we were aboard the Covenant, and had met capitan Bob, Kevin (dive master), and the rest of the friendly folks.
There were seven aboard, including the Capitan. As we headed out to Anacapa, the tune from the 'Gilligan's Island' kept playing over and over in my head...
Had adrenaline pumping through my vanes, in the anticipation of an adventurous day. The water was calm, and the food was great. Muffins, bagels, Lox, ... The crossing only took about 25 minutes, to the 1st dive site.

1st dive: Everyone was pretty much geared up and ready when we got to the site of the wreck. Dolphins were playing around the boat, while we were getting ready to start our dive. Capitan Bob did an excellent job on putting us VERY near it. Kevin, being the dive master, jumped in and marked the wreck using a reel/line.
We jumped in, swam to the anchor line, and started descending. at about 100 or 110 feet, we hit a thermocline... could definitely feel the cold on my ears and face (no hood).
The Navy plane (see Kevin's post), sitting at approximately 130 feet was preserved extremely well. In the blue-gray gloom, and at 130 ft, the wreck sat with amazing tranquility, appeared to be frozen in time...
We proceeded to observe the general area, when I noticed Kevin struggling with something nearly half his own size. Look over to my right, and WOW! he has got a hold of a MONSTER Sheep head.
We slowly ascended, making a safety stop at about 15 feet.

2nd dive: The wreck of Winfield Scott. A short ride over from the 1st dive site. Upon making the entry, I initially thought that the Capitan had made a mistake, and had taken us to a top-secret military airfield. Then I quickly realized that the 'stealth' looking fighters were nothing more than a squadron of bat rays.
Some already in flight, and some on the ground ready for take-off. I believe someone counted 19 of them at one point. My buddy and I, proceeded to dive, where we came across the paddle wheels of this sunken wreck.
Very cool. The shallow depth of the wreck (25 feet) allowed for plenty of natural lighting, and good photo subject material. As we were headed toward the boat, I noticed a very vague outline in the sand... What was later to be identified as an angel shark, about 3 feet long, was laying (and buried) in the sand.

After the 2nd dive, we had a great and healthy lunch. Green pea/cashew salad, potato-lobster salad, and gourmet, deli style sandwiches, which provided MUCH needed nourishment. By this time, the swell had picked up quite a bit (12:45 PM), so we headed to the back side of the island.

3rd dive: A nice, looong shallow dive. Main attractions: An underwater arch, seals, and some kelp and the creatures that go with it. I decided to have a scallop underwater, and upon cutting the scallop open, the whole site surrounding us looked like a 'piranha' horror movie.... Sheep head and Garibaldi frenzy. We did manage to keep most of the edible scallop for ourselves though!
At one point during this dive, the reality set in.... In a few minutes, this will all be over, and all that will be left are the vibrant memories of this day (and about 7 scallops).

On the ride back from Anacapa, we had some 'adult malt beverages' and wine, along with chips/salsa. It was true. A great day of diving had come to an end.

All in all, the whole experience was a GEM (GREAT dive crew, EXCELLENT food, and MAGNIFICENT diving). Thanks Kevin, Bob, (and everyone else).


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