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Posted by Eric S on April 26, 2004 at 22:50:27:

Seems there's some interest in what we have to go through up here to get in a dive so here's another North Coast dive tale.

2 weeks ago Steve and I went up to Albion with the boat to dive.

Again the damn low tides were at the lowest of lows and when we drove up to little river (because it's free) there was hardly any river running out into the ocean so that was not an option.
During the winter storms up here the typography of the river beds can change dramatically, so where you used to be able to get out of a river one year could be totally different the next year.

We drove back down to albion and as usual the slough where you launch and get into the river was in dire need of dredging.
We did manage to get out and down into the river and were headed out under the bridge and out to sea. I noticed an unusual amount of rapids in the river as we were getting close to the mouth and decided I'd best pull up the motor just in case the water was too low.
just then the bottom of the boat drug really bad over a rock then another rock then gravel. The force of the river was forcing the boat over these rocks and ripping the hell out of the bottom of the boat!
We jumped out and had to drag the boat over in to the main stream and we finally got it into the bay. This is what I'm talking about with the condition of the rivers, you never know how it will be from year to year.

As we got out of the bay we came upon a hard line of brown water hovering just outside. Damn, this means a bloom.
We went 1.5 miles north to an offshore ridgeline called Colby Reef. A very dramatic sawtooth series of pinnacles and large angled cracks.
The reef starts in 35 feet of water and plunges down on either side to 150+ feet.

The fog was sitting right on the water with about 50 feet of surface visibility and I had to rely soley on electronics to navigate.
When we got there we noticed the wind was howling to the north? and the current was ripping to the south at about 5-6 knots, (those damn huge tidal changes).
We decided in was to dangerous to dive there so we moved on. We went to a place I call the ice cream cone. It is a pinnacle out all by itself in a larger protected cove area and the top sits in exactly 15 feet of water and the base is about 70 feet. it is a nicely shaped dome with some fringing rocks around the base and lookes just like a scoop of ice cream on a cone. We normally can make it allthe way around this rock in one dive. It is a good intermediate dive. Seahunt can tell you about his ab feeding adventure there when I took him there.

The dive was just a dive with about 3-5 foot vis and 48 degree water (upwelling - hence the cold and the bloom. I did get a couple of scallops. No fish really, maybe a few small ones here and there.

When we got back to the mouth of the Albion river the tide had not yet reversed and the water was still to low to get in so we sat there deciding what to do.
Just then a big powerful aluminum river jet boat blasted right past us and right towards the river. Right before the inlet he stood on it and got the boat up to about 35 mph and shot right up the river which was no more than 6 inches deep and about 8 feet wide, prick!! I didn't hear one clang or bang! this boat was all of 22 feet.

We wound up dragging my boat up the river with ropes against the current and under the bridge where there was enough water to get up stream.
I wound up running my truck in 4 wheel drive across the beach just in from under the bridge and pulling my boat out of the river that way. A guy with a smaller inflatable had to do the same thing but his big heavy Ford F-250 diesel just sank in the sand. We had to all help to push him out.

So, 5 hours of driving, a day of trashing the boat, fuel, launch fee, 1 dive of crap, dragging boat up rivers ,..I think it's time for a beer.

So this is how it can be up here. But it's all we got so we dive it.
You might get tons more diving in down in L.A. but one dive up here is worth 3 down there just based on demanding conditions and how remote it is and how much work is involved to get in a dive.
This of course is JUST my Ooopinion.

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