Opening weekend -Trip Report Channel Islands, the first place to look for a dive instructor

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Posted by Finfan on October 03, 2004 at 18:29:55:

Decided to avoid the crowds at Catalina and head over to Cruz and Anacapa for opening weekend. Going over Friday out of Ventura had light wind chop and flat seas. Looked at the front side of Cruz before deciding on the backside. Solid 30 ft plus on the backside. On our first dive my wife and I found 5 bugs fairly shallow. One nice size about 4 pounds. For our second dive we moved to Yellow banks since we heard the area was reported to be crawling with bugs. Found a high spot earlier that I marked and when we got to it about 2:30am a dive boat was justing leaving it. We looked around hoping to find something else, but in the end went back on the high spot hoping the dive boat hadn't picked it clean. Visability was great, but with all the kelp it was really challenging to see the bugs. That made me figure the dive boat guys probably had missed a few. We had about 4 nice ones, before I found a ledge that was loaded. I got the other 5 we needed for a limit and so we called it a night.

Saturday morning, we woke up to the Conception anchoring right near by us. I brought enough tanks so that my wife and I could make 5 dives figuring I would use two opening night, one Saturday day to explore for an early morning Sunday dive or two. My wife and I got a 3 day permit from DFG knowing we would spend the entire weekend at the islands. Since the Conception was close I figured I would see if I could swim a couple of tanks over for fills while they sent their divers in. Not only did they fill my tanks but they used their inflatable to taxi me and the tanks back and forth. The skipper on the Conception and the crew were great about helping me out by filling the tanks. My hats off to them.

With full tanks it was off to explore. We did one deep dive and found a great reef. Didn't see a lot of bugs, but there was a lot of life on the reef. For the next one, I figured I would run to the west point of Cruz. Boy was that a mistake. Around Gull Island the wind picked up and only got worse. Both my wife and I and everything on the boat was soaked by the time we got around West end to the front side and tuck away inside a small cove. The cove looked neat so I decided to make a dive and check it out. Truth was I figured if I was going to get wet, I might as well be underwater,

The cove had some really thick kelp and up tight I saw a number of large bugs. I didn't see the numbers I expected so I knew I wasn't going to stay there and wait for Sunday. Well I took off and ended back around the backside on my new favorite spot, the high pinnacle I had found for opening. We anchored down, setting the alarm for an early morning before the Sun came up dive. At O dark 40, we suited up and took 8 more bugs off that spot. That made 17 bugs off one spot that had been hit hard by a couple of dive boats. Not bad for opening, but I was still short of our two day limit.

I decided to run to Anacapa for a cave I knew that always has a few bugs. At Capa the wind was blowing, but not bad enough to keep me from the cave. Inside, it was loaded bugs everywhere. I found several that were 1/2 " over legal and one that was better than 3 pounds. We got the six we needed, but easily could have gotten more.

Total we made six dives (Four on Saturday and two on Sunday). Brought back 28 bugs for the two of us. Had great weather Friday and early Saturday. A little nasty, come from nowhere wind and wave action Saturday afternoon/night. Great opening for two abord the Missy Rose.

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