Dive Report: A beginners perspective on serious bug hunting...

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ California Scuba Diving BBS ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by JRM on October 10, 2002 at 12:39:26:

In Reply to: Re: The age old paradox: Got bug today, want to eat bug Saturday posted by Chris on October 10, 2002 at 09:50:15:

I recently missed a day of diving at Pt. Lobos with a friend due to some bad water poisoning on opening weekend, and we scheduled a day on the Peace as a make-up. I had never been on the Peace before, but my friend had, and he had nothing but good things to say.

We got an early start, and arrived about 5:pm, so we could each snag our own double bunk. There is a 24 diver limit on weekdays so the boat isn't crowded. There were already folks on-board. We ate out, then came back and caught the end of the baseball game in the galley. The Peace has a great layout, with lots of deck space, and even a hot tub. Luxury.

The ride out was really smooth, and there was virtually no swell. We went to Talcott Shoal off Santa Rosa island. I had an inkling that serious buggers want to be the first off the boat, but I was unprepared for the *lines* of guys, fully kitted, waiting for the gates to open. I mean the first guy stood there for like 10 minutes.

I've been to Talcott several times in the past, although never specifically for bugs. We started the day diving in 35' of water. Then on to 15' (that's right, never deeper than 18' on the second dive). The final two dives were thick kelp in the 30' range.

I managed to grab one bug the first dive, but settled for a really nice kelp crab as consolation on the second. The third dive I again missed every bug, but found a really nice Calico Bass that someone else had shot and lost. It boosted my self esteem, since I had spent five minutes trying to shoo a giant rockfish into my bag. Note to self, *never* leave polespear at home again!

I started chatting with a few of the guys who were bringing bag larger bugs, and they were quick to offer good advice. It's really simple actually, when you think about it. It pretty much boiled down to a battle of wills. You want to grab the bug, and the bug doesn't want to be grabbed. The final advice was "Grab, don't think."

I still suck at the initial grabbing part, but I did manage to enforce my will on six lobsters that dive. True, four were shorts, but at least I had them in my hands to measure. At one point I had my face planted against the ledge and my arm all the way back up a hole grabbing by feel. One guy told me that if you can get your fingers on the antennae, then work your way up to the horns you can generally get better leverage and they won't often break off. It works. I got a few that way.

I had a blast, and brought home plenty of seafood for this weekend. As someone who normally freedives for fish, it is a nice change to have crab and bug to go with it.

The Peace was a great boat, and the crew really went the extra mile. Having read the previous thread or two about smoking, I paid attention. Yes, a few of the crew smoked, and sometimes ashed overboard, but I didn't see a single butt hit the water from a crewperson. I was surprised at how many of the divers smoked, though.

As someone who usually dives with Truth Aquatics, I have to say that I thought the service on the Peace was superior to that which I've received from Truth over several trips this past year. And while it might just be a name recognition trick, I did enjoy having the divemaster address me by name in conversation. I'm attrocious when it comes to names, so that made a big impression.

And I got some important experience for next time. Leave the drysuit at home, go wet. Leather gloves aren't worth the loss in dexterity, just use my normal gloves. Get a smaller light, the cannon only alerts the bugs that I'm comming. Oh yeah, and bring the polespear. There are several additional meals to be had when going from hole to hole.

In fact, we had such a good time that we decided to make this a monthly outing. If anyone else is interested I can post the date when we get it figured out and we can make it an impromptu "diver.net" bug day...


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ California Scuba Diving BBS ] [ FAQ ]