Posted by Patrick on January 17, 2005 at 17:17:24:
Departed WLA at 06:30 for a launch out of Channel Islands Harbor. Traffic on PCH was basically non-existent, but it was hard to keep eyes on the road due to the beautiful, pastel sunrise, and the unbelievably flat ocean. There was surprisingly little mud and rock debris on the road from the rains and the trip up was easy.
After topping up with 40 gallons of fuel (Ouch!), we cleared the harbor mouth just before 08:00.
The fast, smooth trip across that we anticipated was not to be. The water was loaded with floating debris from the recent storms. Wood – everything from dimensional lumber up to 24” x 24” to logs, branches and sticks, along with a surprising amount of bamboo, slowed the crossing. None the less, by 09:00 we were on the west end of Anacapa for the first dive. The water color for most of the trip was an uninviting greenish-brown, but evolved to a more pleasant bluish-green within a couple miles of the island and turned even better looking near the island. We did a drift dive down the spine reef off the westernmost tip of the island with visibility in the first 20 feet about 20 feet, but opening up to 40-50 on the bottom at the reef/sand interface at about 80 feet. Current was mild and it was a nice easy drift, not bad by any standards, but so very welcome as a first dive for the year after all the bad weather of the previous weeks. No legal bugs seen, and damn few shorts, however the Blacksmith (Chromis) and Halfmoons were about in huge numbers.
Next dive was at the ridge at Yellow Banks. Awesome dive! The kelp has come back to the area and the colors of the invertebrate life was diverse and amazing. Viz was again hazy in the upper layers (maybe only a hazy 10-feet at twenty feet), but great on the bottom with a temp of 56 on the ridge and 57 at the surface.
Last dive was around the corner to Scorpion and the site of the Spirit of America. We were catching a bit of wind here from the NW which gave a little current on the wreck. Viz was a hazy 40 feet with scads of calico hovering over the wreck. Did a 20 minute BT and on the way up, my Uwatec died. No big deal with multiple fallbacks and the dive was concluded in good order.
The trip back was a bit long since to navigate safely through the floating debris, speed was reduced considerably so as to be able to spot the low floating prop-killers in the light wind chop.
It was so very good to get back in the water - my gills were getting parched!
Happy diving in 2005!
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