Posted by Elaine on May 21, 2004 at 13:05:53:
There have been several trip reports about the May Sea Divers trip to Miguel and the Oil Rig Grace aboard the Peace already posted on this board. But......here is mine anyway. If you are tired of reading about this trip and are ready to scream - go right ahead, or, you can just hit the "back button".
The first day we dove at San Miguel Island. We dove Skyscraper, Egg Rock, The Canyons near Castle Rock, and Castle Rock, all in that order. We were very good about lining up on the back deck for roll calls after each dive site. Some of us enjoyed the hot tub on the surface intervals. Some of us tried to catch up on our sleep.
One thing that I observed on this day was the "Landecker Leap". Peter Landecker has devised this unusual variation of the Giant Stride, similar to a "belly flop", to try and avoid the need to swim to the anchor line from the bow entry point. Peter hates swimming in currents. Leap far enough from the front deck and you can actually almost catch the anchor line before you hit the water. Personally, I thought that it looked painful.
The diving at San Miguel was excellent for this time of year. The soupy green water layer thinned out to 30+ feet of visibility at almost every dive site - you just had to get underneath the watery clouds for serious sight seeing. Once again Miguel amazed us with the incredible variety of invertebrate life.
The night dive in Culyer Harbor was special. As the only night time participants, Chris and I had the entire dive site to ourselves. This was my first night dive off the Peace. Shortly after jumping in I noticed a "fog horn sound" that would come and go followed by noises that resembling the close passage of a large ship. It creeped me out a little. Later I was told that it was merely the generator from the Peace that I was hearing. On this dive I followed Chris around and watched him use his new Florescence Photography Equipment. The underwater "black light" that is a part of this equipment made some of the marine life glow, kind of like being in a "head shop" back in the 60"s. Chris got some excellent photos, and this was exactly the way that his special light was making some things look.
The first dives of the following day were at the Oil Rig Grace. It was my first time at this oil rig. It is different than the Eureka or the Ellen in that the underwater structure seems a bit simpler, and the invertebrates that thrive on colder water, populate the rig at much shallower depths. The sea lions, the schools of small fish, and the vibrant colors were similar to the Eureka and the Ellen.
Roger Carlson provided continuous surface interval amusement. The zipper to his dry suit was shredded and it was the first time that I've ever seen anyone try and glue themselves into a dry suit. Fortunately, his suit had another zipper for potty breaks.
After two dives at the Oil Rig we proceeded to Santa Cruz Island for two more dives at Scorpion Rock. The features of this site included good visibility, lack of strong current, shallow caves, lots of brittle stars, gorgonians, nudibranchs, and a huge population of sheep crab. In one of the shallow caves I found a pair of Sheep Crabs mating. Sheep Crabs are very easy to closely approach when they are mating, in fact, they hardly move at all, and, if you didn't look closely, you wouldn't know anything was going on.
This trip to Miguel, Cruz, and the Oil Rigs was nothing short of spectacular.
all photos & text ©Elaine Jobin
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