Dive report and photos: Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands 7/23/05

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Posted by Dick J on July 24, 2005 at 21:59:26:

We followed Walt (RE: his BBS posting from 7/23/05) a day later and took a trip aboard the Spectre as well. It was a welcome relief to escape the heat of the inland valleys and spend a day exploring the golden kelp forests of the Channel Islands. The day was bright and sunny from beginning to end – not a hint of coastal fog, with the air temperature probably only reaching 72degF at its maximum.

The Spectre made stops at Landing Cove, The Channels, and Goldfish Bowl off Anacapa Island, and Cave Rock off Santa Cruz’s frontside. Visibility was reported to have improved at Anacapa, even from the day before, averaging 15-20ft. At our one dive site off Santa Cruz, viz was not so great – maybe 10ft at best. Water temperature at depth was in the mid-60s off Anacapa and low 60s at Santa Cruz. The only significant swells and surge we experienced were at The Channels.

At Landing Cove we saw a few of the many large sheephead which inhabit this marine life sanctuary, as well as some hefty lobsters. We searched and searched for our favorite steel pipe that houses a rather stout moray eel but couldn’t find it. We did however, find another steel pipe which had garibaldi eggs deposited around the inside of one end, and as would be expected it was being vigilantly guarded by a male of the species.

The strong surge at The Channels made the dive as exciting as any ride at Disneyland, and a large population of Spanish shawl nudibranchs yielded plenty of photo opportunities. Goldfish Bowl had its usual abundance of reef fish species, as well as large numbers of individuals of the more common species. Our single dive off Santa Cruz Island was a circumnavigation of a small rock which just rises above the suface, about 150yds off shore; the low visibility made the dive seem quite adventurous.

It was an all-macro photo day, as would be expected for limited visibility conditions. Here are a few shots from our dives:

Painted greenling.

Spiny lobster; I spent quite a while sneaking up on this large specimen in order to get a nice close-up.

Island kelpfish.

Male garibaldi emerging from steel pipe.

Spanish Shawl nudibranch. Notice the debris being whisked along by the strong surge; subjects for photography were abundant, but actually taking photos was a real challenge.

Navanax nudibranch.

Black eye goby.

Front (eating) end of sea cucumber. Despite a recent trend observed on this BBS, I refuse to study & photograph the other end ;-)

Digital photograph of garibaldi, to compare with Elaine’s Kodachrome 25 images.

Crop of above image, at digital camera’s native pixel resolution. Compare with Elaine’s image below. It will be a long time before digital photography can match the detail and color fidelity of film, if it’s even possible at all.

Zoom-in of Elaine’s Kodachrome 25 image.

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