Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by seahunt on August 09, 2004 at 21:05:55:

The diving was great, the shore was beautiful and the people were fun.
Years back, I did a dive on Eagles Reef. Two divers got a bunch of huge green
abalone. No one else even saw any. They were hidden in the dark with the sculpin under
the Elephant Ear Kelp in a place few divers go. The lesson was that game is where
most divers won't go looking for it.
When I went out at Van Damme after kayaking the sea caves I didn't know it, but I was
exhausted. I found out pretty fast. Inside the middle reef area I slid off the kayak
into the water and realized I was physically trashed. Without fins on it felt like
the weight belt was going to drag me under and no fins meant that getting back on the
kayak was a hassle of a challenge. I laid on the kayak recovering my breath
and composure. I had to seriously ask if it was time to call the dive. I knew why I
was tired, hind sight at the activities of the past days was easy and it was no
surprise I was exhausted, but I wanted to fill my ab limit. Well, water is always my
place so I got my fins on and entered again. Unfortunately the water was no more than
12 feet deep. Even the cold didn't wake me much. It was pretty with good vis and a
fair amount of stuff to see though. Unfortunately while there were a lot of legal abs,
they were small. A lot of divers had been here. After a few dives, I got back on the
kayak, with far less work. I was not going to go out to the Keyhole in this
condition or even past the middle reefs. I didn't want to go in to the Bull Kelp past
the Macrocystis. I had been there two days before. It was good enough, but I like spots
I haven't been to. I moved to the outside of the farthest Bull Kelp and tied off. I was
in an open area with no kelp. I knew that meant that there was likely to be few rocks,
but I saw no better place to go under the circumstances.
I went down. I was so tired I actually swam slowly. It was a long way down, about
30 feet. While vis had been good most places, it wasn't here. With no cover to block
sunlight from above, the bottom was thick with short leafy kelp growning about a foot
and a half tall. It was so thick that even close up the bottom was completely hidden
and the bushy kelp held a lot of silt. Really, I should have gone somewhere else, but
it would have had to be the shore. So here I was, way out in the open. There were few
small rocks, but most of the bottom under the leafy kelp was just gravel. That's why
there was no bigger kelp growing there. I found a rock that was no more than a foot
high and 2 by 3 feet, but there were nice abs on it and I worked off what looked like
the biggest one. I figured it was 9 inches, but I didn't bother with my big caliper.
Still it woke me up a bit and I wondered if there were any other big ones around. Now
I was interested. There could be abs of any size in the open, but with the heavy
leafage they would never be seen from even a foot away. Vis was about 3 feet at best
on the bottom. I wanted to find another big one so I went along stabbing my ab iron
into the bottom. Crunch meant gravel. A clang meant a rock. Sure enough with long
dives, every so often I found small rocks. I just checked by feel and didn't try to
get a look. After a number of rocks I felt another fatty. It had clamped down
when I was feeling it, but I was in no mood to fool around and swam to the surface
slowly. On the kayak it didn't fit in my 9 inch guage. The first one was bigger and
might be a real ten'er, but I couldn't tell without a bigger measure. This was
I intend to go back there. I expect that very few divers hunt the area. It doesn't
look promising and is very difficult to hunt. There is lots of much better terrain
nearby. Besides, a careful measure showed the first ab to be 9 7/8 inches. With a bit
of work, I think I might find my ten'er there.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt

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