Trip Report: Explorer out of Ventura on August 21

Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Walt on August 22, 2005 at 09:39:39:

Destination: Anacapa. Average depth 35’; water temp 66 F


Goldfish Bowl: vis 25’, no current or surge. Saw an X-Rated orgy of sea hares, many bug molts, a 3 pounder with eggs (sorry, it’s a no take area). Swam into a lava tube, nothing extraordinary inside, but since there was no surge was sparkling clear. Took time to watch a sand star crawl across the bottom, discovered that if you place a purple urchin in its path, the star will stop and slowly bury itself into the sand.

Channels: vis 25 to 30’, very mild surge. Explored the many fingers of this fun dive site. Saw a large bat ray over the sand, several curious harbor seal pups, and viscious Garibaldi guarding their nests.

Cat Rock: vis ranged from over 40’ to 20’, depending on proximity to the island. Discovered that a cabezon will sit unmoving and stare back with its orange-glow eyes. Saw a school of about 10 baracuda, though others on the boat said they saw over a hundred in a school (were they sardines…who knows?) Finally broke the 4 year curse of the giant black sea bass and saw a magnificent 5 footer swim by at the end of our dive.

This was our first trip on the Explorer out of Ventura and we will definitely return. The captain, dive masters and crew are fantastic. DM Don gave the site briefings and, for those of us who paid attention, we were treated to exactly what he described we’d find. This boat is perhaps better known to hunters, as Captain Tony has been running fishing operations for decades. But its good for us sight seers and naturalists, as he has a knack for finding where the fish are. Also, due to its shallow draft and broad beam, the ride to and from the island was very smooth.

There is no dedicated camera station; they do have a fresh water dip tub. Basically roughing it, where you use the galley tables for film changing. One really nice feature is dry gear storage just outside the galley – very handy for stowing a dive jacket or camera case out of the way.

Bunk area has sliding pocket doors between each of the 2 interior bulkheads and provide nice privacy and quiet. Fare included breakfast, lunch, snacks, airfills, and dessert on the way home. They also wisely have jugs of bottled water out so you can stay hydrated without resorting to sodas.

3 dive trip all inclusive: $85 pp. No rushed gate times. Next trip: must go to Santa Cruz or Santa Rosa on this boat!

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