Posted by Elaine on September 06, 2004 at 20:43:27:
I spent Labor Day weekend "Diving with Arizona"; or as our BBS friend Jeff might say, "Diving with %#&@%# landlocked Arizona". The trip was organized by El Mar Dive Center located in Mesa Arizona. What was a Californian doing on an Arizona dive club trip? Well.....they had some unfilled spots, and, it was wonderful. The San Diego based 80 foot dive boat Horizon departed on Thursday, September 2, 2004 with only 18 divers and the crew aboard. With such a light load, there was plenty of space to unwind and spread out for a relaxing long weekend.
The Horizon boarded on Thursday evening and made a night departure for the six hour trip to San Clemente Island. Prior to departure, the waivers were signed, including the Nitrox wavers for those wishing to turbo charge their O2, and, an extensive boat orientation was given by the crew. Following this, most found their bunks, and settled in for what was definitely not the smoothest channel crossing.
At sunrise we arrived at the Pyramid Cove area of Clemente. The wind and the swells were still acting up, so Captain Ron searched for some sheltered areas to begin our dive day. At almost every dive site, both a bow and a stern anchor line were set. This was kind of nice as no matter what the current or conditions were for the dive, the boat tended to stay pretty much exactly where it had been when you left it.
Dive sites at Clemente on Friday included Arrowhead, Calico Cove, and Pacific Palisades. There was a night dive, but I sat that one out. Diving conditions at San Clemente were less than optimum, and on some dives visibility was only about 40 feet.
On Friday night the boat traveled to Catalina Island in search of some better diving conditions. At sunrise on Saturday, we awoke to a beautiful scene at Ship Rock. After Ship Rock we dove at Eagle Reef and Isthmus Reef.
At Eagle Reef a diver found something called a Geocache. This is a new sport that I had not heard of before. See www.geocaching.com for details. A screwdriver was required to open our geocache tube, and, once inside we found our notebook and pen along with instructions for playing the game. The "treasures" that we found in our geocache tube consisted of a disposable camera, a patch and coin (a British Pound), a keychain, a box of cyclume sticks, and a can of silly string. The instructions said that you could remove whatever you wanted from the tube as long as you put some new items inside before returning the tube to the water
The wind picked up in the afternoon. On Saturday evening the Horizon anchored near Avalon Harbor so that those desiring to spend a night "on the town" could brave the shore boat ride and partake in some of the local color. We also celebrated a birthday.
Saturday night we traveled back to San Clemete Island for our final day of diving on Sunday. Diving conditions had improved in our absence and this was probably our best visibility and conditions of the trip. Our last two dives were at Little Flower where the diving conditions were the best of the trip.
At Little Flower the Geocache was returned to the water. Everyone had signed the enclosed notebook and the tube was resealed and returned with the original patch and coin, and, the can of silly string. Our additions to the tube were a Horizon T shirt, a "fire extinguisher" to "put out hot bodies", some business cards, and, a condom. The at GPS coordinates at the return site were 32 deg 50.437 min N and 118 deg 22.213 min W, if anyone is interested in retrieving the geocache and continuing the game.
These are a few of the underwater photos that I took on the trip.
Captain Ron and the crew all did a wonderful job of keeping everything running so smoothly. These are crew photos.
These are some photos of the participants on this dive trip.
After a round of "cannonballs off the bow" the group had a smooth and scenic trip back to San Diego.
My only complaint about the Horizon is the lack of adequate parking at the very busy San Diego landing. When I arrived the dock parking lot was full, and, the closest place to park, that I could find, was about six blocks from the boat in front of someoneís house. Also, if you end up using the street parking, and arenít careful, it is easy to innocently end up near one of the poorly lit "two hour only" parking signs. Fortunately, my car was still in one piece, and, where I had left it when I got back. I still wasnít too comfortable with the six block walk at night. The Horizon is a first class boat, but, the parking situation is the worst that Iíve encountered on a dive trip.
It was great trip to make some new out of state diving friends. I hope that everyone will keep in touch. Until next time.
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin
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