Sunday Catalina trip report/Meeting Mr Big, the first place to look for a dive instructor

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Posted by Dave on May 09, 2004 at 20:40:56:

Sunday the Encore was sheduled to make the journey to Santa Barbara Isand, but the swell report made that a possible wash, so we headed out to Catalina around 7a.m.

The first dive site we arrived at was Little Farnsworth at the frontside just south of Avalon. Water was a little on the green side and the visibility wasn't all that great at around 20-30'.

The actual "pinnacle" was rather interesting, with some fissures between some of the rock formations and lots of black coral and various gorgonians in the 80'-100' ranges. The bottom was in the 110 foot range and lots of diving on the pinnacle could be hard 100-50 feet.

We moved off and headed west to Italian Gardens. The water was about the same, not quiet as green. Within minutes I sighted a small black sea bass in the 3' length range. About 15 minutes later I saw Mr. Big, a black sea bass that started out at about 250-300 pounds, by the end of the galley session, had grown to 350 pounds. It was about 4.5'-5' feet long and somewhere around two feet tall with a tail the size of a big broom. I was able to get about 7 or so feet behind it and keep up with it for some time till it decided it was done toying with me.

Within 5 more minutes I sighted a school of California barracuda numbering about 50-75 fish or so, all about a good 3'-3.5' feet long. I was able to get about 10 feet to the side of them...they couldn't hear me but they can sure see divers....

We had lunch and moved off further west to another rocky site but it was uneventful.

The huge black sea bass sightings were the buzz for the day and made missing Santa Barbara Isand worth it since most divers saw him.

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