Posted by Patrick on October 12, 2005 at 13:58:16:|
I was out on Saturday with Andy and Dave aboard the MK on an unsuccessful hunt for bugs. However, despite the cold, dirty murk we were jumping into and the lack of bugs, I have to say I had one of my most memorable dives ever.
First jumps were at the north end of Santa Monica Bay – a couple of the shallower artificial reefs F&G planted there many years ago. The water didn’t look too bad, but bottom conditions were far less than ideal. We found perhaps 10-foot viz and cold, cold, cold water, but nary an antenna to be seen.
In a desperate search for the wily crustaceans, Andy wanted to try a really shallow reef area, and asked me if I knew of any. We were fairly close to a rock pile I discovered many years ago that I both beach and boat dived, but had not been on for about five years. After we metered the site, Andy and Dave decided that it would be best if I dived it first. I'm pretty sure the size of the swell and the greenish brown water influenced their decision. I don't care - I'll dive most anything within reason. And, I’m embarrassed to say, sometimes beyond reason.
On the way to the very shallow bottom (24-feet), I thought I saw the reef coming up right after I hit the water. Then I realized that I had almost run into a large fish, and in the gloomy 5-6 foot viz, identified the tail of a BSB disappearing into the murk. Cool, I thought. As I came down on the reef, I was looking down at my gauges - verifying depth, psi, etc. I looked up, and not 18" in front of my face was the face of a BSB! Not expecting the fish or the closeness, I flinched back, and as I flinched, he took off into the murk. “Wow”, I thought, he really likes me... And then he came back -- with his friends. 2, 3, 4, 5, finally 7 BSB surrounding me, trying to push one another out of the way to get a look at me. All the fish were pretty small - probably 70 to 150 pounds, but looking a lot bigger being that many, that close. In the 6-foot viz, there seemed to be more fish than water around me. Absolutely amazing! Me and my new best friends exchanged looks for about a minute with all seven staying in sight. Then I moved forward and began swimming. One to three of them constantly stayed within sight for about the next 15 minutes. During the course of the dive, I'd stick my head in a hole looking for bugs, and my new best buddies would patiently wait, sometimes crowding closer seemingly trying to help me check out the spot, then they’d move with me to the next hole. During the course of shining my light in the holes, another unusual event; I saw three fine scale triggerfish. Up until last Saturday, I'd only seen three in all my previous years of diving; now I see three on one dive. To see triggers in water as cold as it is on the coast I feel, is really unusual. By the end of my dive my BSB buddies were gone. Of course they could have been 7 or 8 feet away and I wouldn't have seen them...
So, A non-productive dive as far as bugs, but one of the most exciting and enjoyable I've ever done despite the cold, surgey, dirty conditions - God bless California diving!