Malaga Cove Dive report

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Posted by Jim Adams on September 14, 2002 at 19:09:10:

Malaga Cove Dive Report

We parked in the lot and walked to the gazebo for a look. The conditions appeared fairly good, the water appeared reasonable clear and the wave action though steady, did have breaks between the sets. We watched a couple of sets come in and figured how to time the entry from the rocks.

We decided it was a go, so we geared up and decended the path. The plan was to go out, drop to the bottom and swim in a WNW direction. The entry was fairly easy over the rocks east of the pool, near the trashcan. We swam past the surf zone and dropped in one of the first kelp beds in about 12 feet of water. This was a mistake, as the surge was still fairly strong and we swam in circles for a few minutes attempting to get through the kelp and out farther. We surfaced and swam about two minutes farther out and dropped again. This time the surge wasn't as bad and we followed the compass and terrain along the reef. The vis varied between 10-15 in some of the good spots, to less than 10 where the sandy bottom was churning in the surge. There were a number of the usual critters including three or four lobster (I don't hunt, so couldn't say if they were legal), a few small schools of Blacksmiths, a number of Opaleye, a few Senoritas and of course the Garibaldi, who must not be mating. I say this because they were more curious than normal and a couple of them stayed with us most of the dive instead of protecting their little patchs of algae.

Cruising along the bottom, I saw a clam shell moving next to a rock. It turned out that an octopus was wrestling with it. Of course, we had to watch the struggle so hung on to the the rocks for a few moments. The little guy didn't appear to be making progress and I think we may have seemed to want the goods when the deed was done, so we moved on. At one of the larger walls, we ran into about 15 adult Garibaldi that appeared to want a hand out. They were swimming all around and when I picked up a rock and banged another, they swarmed like moths to a light. One actually nipped at my hand in hopes that I'd split open an urchin. This was about 40 minutes into the dive and I'd drained my tank to 1500 psi so we decided to turn back. The school of Garibaldi followed us for most of the trip, which was beautiful but uneventful. We surfaced from about 15 feet having swam the last six minutes between 20 and 15FSW, so considered that the safety stop. We found ourselves at about the spot where we'd dropped down. My buddy looked at the exit via the rocks and decided that the beach exit would be easier and I'm glad she did. At the beginning of the dive there had been quite a few surfers in the water, which contributed to our decision to do the rock entry. By this time, there were very few still in the water. We exited just where the sand and rocks meet and it was the easiest beach exit I've ever done (yes, even easier than the stairs at Casino Point). I timed the waves and swam into about 4 feet of water, took off my fins and simply walked out.

Another GREAT day of diving!

The NOAA bouy data from Pt Conception for 09/14 at 12 pm indicated the wind was from the NW at 13.6 knots with gusts of 15.5. Wave heights were 4.6ft with a dominant period of 6 seconds. Water temp on my computer as well as NOAA indicated 57 degrees F at depth. Equipment was 7mm full suit with a 2mm hooded vest. Alum. 80 tank at 3000psi to start, 900 to end. Entry 11:29 am, exit 12:26 pm.

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