catalina freediving report - awesome!!!!!

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Posted by scottfiji on September 19, 2005 at 15:42:54:

Awesome Snorkel/Freedive Report

Location: emerald bay, catalina
date: sunday morning, 8AM-12noon
vis: 30-40ft
temp: mid-high 60's
waves: none
max depth: 25ft (free diving)

Snorkeling at Catalina rivaled or exceeded some of my best dives. the visibility was great, the water crystal clear, and the amount of fish unbelieveable.

I camped for the weekend at Emerald bay (near parson's landing, about a 7 mile hike from two harbors). I took out a kayak with friends, and we kayaked and snorkeled for 4 hours, 90% of the time was snorkeling.

Huge schools of fish enveloped me over and over again. a strong current around an island of rock meant the schools were here to stay, feeding in the currents. jacksmelt, topsmelt, pacific sardine, and a 4th species of baitfish swirled around us countless times.

countless times I was eyeball to eyeball with garibaldi, schools of kelp perch, halfmoons, zebra perch, schools of opaleye, large schools of baby blacksmith and many giant kelpfish. They were all breathtaking, close-up, and not afraid because I had no bubbles.

I witnessed many senorita "cleaning stations" for the first time, watching schools of opaleye, garibaldi and smelt get cleaned by individual senoritas.

The zebraperch were beautiful, they look like a cross between a black perch and a halfmoon. they were quite skittish.

the sundiver and great escape were both parked near some of my snorkeling spots on saturday and sunday, I'm sure they had great dives.

The highlight was swimming with harbor seals, in 2 different spots a pair of harbor seals swam and played with us in the water, slightly shy but curious.

Freediving through schools of baitfish was also a breathetaking experience, especially since we were in their "feeding" area in strong currents, so they weren't going anywhere.

During one snorkel I also caught an octopus. I saw him in about 12-15ft of water in the open. He wasn't expecting an attack from above, and I swooped down, captured him carefully in my hands trying not to injure him at all, and brought him up to show the others, keeping him submerged. He attached on to me for a minute, inked me several times, thanked me for not spearing or eating him, and swam away.

We spent most of our snorkeling time between emerald bay and parsons landing. it was time well spent.


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