|Trip Report and Photos: Sundiver to Catalina, July 16, 2005, with some Kodachrome 25|
Posted by Elaine on July 22, 2005 at 21:27:42:|
Catalina on the Sundiver
July 16, 2005
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin with supporting photos contributed by Mark Lacaillade. May not be reproduced in part or in whole without advanced written permission.
On Saturday, July 16, 2005, I went on the Sundiver "Open Boat" to Catalina Island.
The first thing that we saw as we headed out of the harbor and into the channel was the "red tide". Ugly brown water. This must be one of the longest lasting "red tides" in several years.
We wondered what the water was going to look like at Catalina. Fortunately, as we continued our crossing, the wake turned to olive green and finally to a decent shade of blue.
When our thoughts turned to food, we met a new addition to the Sundiver crew. Her name is Joi and she works in the galley. Besides being cute, bubbly, charming, early 30's, vegetarian, interested in sailing, curious about the marine environment, and single (down boys)....she cooks good, even for the carnivores.
Our first stop at Catalina was at Eagle Reef. No ugly brown water here. Visibility was good in the first 20 to 30 feet but became cloudy and chunky in the deeper water. I was focused on finding things to shoot with my Kodachrome 25 and the close-up kit, so I tuned out most of the larger scenery. Some divers reported seeing a large, 4 to 5 foot gray shark resting in the sand.. They weren't sure what kind of shark it was, but they said that it "looked mean" - my guess is that it was a soupfin. I was really sorry to miss seeing that one. These are some of my Kodachrome shots.
Why do I get so excited about Kodachrome? This isn't the best garibaldi shot in the world, but, I zoomed the scanner into his fin. It is detailed but subtle. I love this stuff. Kodak..........you made a mistake when you discontinued Kodachrome 25.
There were several photographers on our boat. The cameras ranged from Nikonos II's on a tray set up that I haven't seen in years to the latest in digital.
Our next dive site was at Blue Caverns. The numerous overhangs covered with gorgonians were scrumptious camera fodder. These are some digital photos from Blue Caverns that Mark Lacaillade was kind enough to send in to be included in this trip report. Mark is the man with the digital camera in the photo on the right hand side above.
Captain Ray had dropped the anchor near a shallow cave, the entrance of which is in 20 feet of water. That was where I did much of my dive. It was dark inside.
I spent some time trying to figure out how to shoot in the darkness. I wanted to balance the natural light at the opening with some strobe fill. This was the best that I could come up with.
At the back of the cave there was a clear shot to the surface but it was still quite dark inside.
The rest of the dive site had a lot to offer too. There were sightings of eels, octopi, and large schools of bait fish I used up almost all of my film in the cave though.
After lunch we did our last dive at Little Geiger. Invertebrate life and huge lobsters were plentiful here. Cloudy water down near the sand heralded many bat ray sightings. I had a near collision with one in the silted visibility. These are some of my photos from Little Geiger. Same camera, same everything. These are Velvia, not Kodachrome 25. Can you tell?
During the dive I heard several boats traveling near by as well as one that sounded like it was directly overhead. I became a little concerned and ducked briefly for the shelter of an overhang just in case an anchor might drop. I later learned that this had been an LA County Lifeguard boat. During the day we had seen little boats and big boats, slow boats and fast boats, motor boats and sail boats, inflatables and kayaks. There were boats towing skiffs and boats towing skier's. If it was shaped like and boat and could float it was at Catalina.
This was the first time that we were getting bombarded by them however. Sightseers in inflatables headed straight for us trying to get a closer look. Boats speeding by were cutting it very close paying no attention to our dive flag. Our DM stood on the deck with a bull horn trying to keep the area clear for us when we surfaced. No matter how loud she yelled, the boaters just didn't seem to get it. I tried to help by pointing at the dive flag, but most boaters just looked over their shoulders in the direction that I was pointing. They had no concept of what a dive flag was. Due to the way regulations are currently written, avoiding a boat displaying a dive flag is merely a suggestion, it is not a law - so be very careful out there this summer.
The last fun thing that we saw was a large school of bait fish. Either they were as attracted to our dive flag just as the boaters, or, they had been pushed to the surface by an unseen predator and they came to the boat hoping for shelter.
The final diver count of the day was completed and we headed back to long beach. Another fun day of diving was coming to an end.
Sometimes, a T-shirts can remind you of the good times that you have had. I guess that is why they are so popular. (How come there are no Kodachrome 25 T-shirts?)
Until next time.........
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