|Trip Report and Photos - Sea Divers to the Oil Rigs on the Sea Bass, 08-27-05|
Posted by Elaine on September 06, 2005 at 09:39:28:|
Sea Divers trip to the Southern California Offshore Oil Rigs
Elly and Eureka on the Sea Bass
August 27, 2005
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.
On Saturday, August 27, 2005, the Sea Divers set their internal clocks back to "dive time". Sea Diver "dive time" is a special kind of time where a) getting to the boat on time, b) getting in lots of dive time, and c) having a good time are at the top of the "To Do" list. Item one was checked off when everybody made it to he Sea Bass at 22nd Street Landing on time.
As we headed out of the harbor, we had our boat briefing and the crew reminded us that they require a safety sausage and whistle to make the Oil Rig dives. Loaner kits were available for anyone who didn't have their own.
A recent small fire on one of our local boats has raised my consciousness to the slim possibility of a boat fire at sea. The crew of the Sea Bass reminded us that should we become aware of a fire on their boat we don't need to wait for a crew member to be notified of the situation - we can grab a fire extinguisher and put it out ourselves. As divers, we probably need to have a basic clue as to what to do if we see or smell some smoke or flames during the course of our dive day. To begin to address this issue I have made up a "stop and think about it" pre test for this trip report.
You are on the Sea Bass and you notice smoke and flames coming from an appliance in the galley - what do you do?
a) throw your coffee on it
b) grab your dive gear and jump off the boat
c) check to see if the compressor is working - how are they going to fill the tanks if the electrical system is screwed up?
d) grab a fire extinguisher, pull the pin, aim at the base of the fire, squeeze the lever and sweep the spray from side to side.
The correct answer is D. Marine fire extinguishers are designed for all kinds of fires including electrical fires. Then look for a crew member. Don't throw your coffee on it as you might feel like you just collided with a Torpedo Ray. After the crew confirms that the fire is out, ask if the compressor is working. If a small fire is put out fast enough, maybe later, you can still grab your dive gear and jump off the boat at the dive site. Here is a link to a "How to use a Fire Extinguisher" site for anyone who is not familiar with fire extinguishers. Your quick and speedy action could save lives, the boat, and possibly the trip.
OK, back to the trip to the Oil Rigs.
Our first dive stop was at the Eureka Oil Rig. When it was my turn to jump off the live boat I followed Chris down to the Metridiums.
During the ascent I looked for smaller things and was able to get a blenny photo.
We enjoyed sunshine, fruit and beverages on our surface interval
The tanks were refilled and we prepared for our next dive at the Eureka.
Even though the sun was out the plankton rich water kept the rig structure dark and visibility less than optimum. I decided to shoot for Sea Lions; when they spend time with you on a dive it is always such fun.
This is Peter Landecker competing with the Sea Lions for a photo. Peter excels at objective two "getting in lots of dive time". In fact, if you ask him, I bet he can even tell you how much every minute of dive time costs (definitely left brain dominant ).
I was able to grab some photos of Kathy Kalohi on this trip. Armed with her Nikonos III she was out making more memorable photos of the Oil Rigs. To see a large collection of Oil Rig photos visit Kathy Kalohi's Underwater Photographs BBS site.
On our next surface interval we headed for the Oil Rig Elly. It was now clear that we were having fun.
Visibility on the Elly was even worse. Perhaps 30 feet.
We settled in for our ride back to the dock.
Right when we thought all of the excitement was over we could have had cause to reach for the life jackets.
The Sea Bass came to a halt to avoid a potential collision with a 45 to 50 foot power boat. There was no one near the wheel on the powerboat. It had just been racing along on autopilot at about 20 knots headed for Long Beach. (I was on the Catalina Express last year when a similar incident occurred). The embarrassed operators of the power boat finally made it to the wheelhouse, regained control, and slowed their vessel. To buy a boat and operate it in California there are no required boating safety classes, there are no boating license exams, anyone can buy and operate a personal watercraft. Fortunately Captain Drew was prepared for these nit wits with defensive boating skills. By the time I grabbed my camera they were a little too far away for a good photo.
Our dive day ended as we navigated through a slalom course of about 25 said boats outside of San Pedro Harbor. It was quite a sight.
Thanks to Captain Drew and the Crew for a wonderful dive trip. The Sea Divers are an advanced dive group that puts together a yearly itinerary of trips to some of the best dive locations in Southern California. The boats and the crews make our dive dreams come true.
Until next time.......
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