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Trip Report and Photos: Catalina/Santa Barbara Islands with the Sea Divers


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


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Posted by Elaine on November 02, 2005 at 12:48:53:

Sea Divers Trip to Catalina and Santa Barbara Island

October 28 and 29, 2005

On the Great Escape

 

Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or in whole without advanced written permission.

Traffic was bad on the concrete path to Queens Wharf. A normal 1 hour trip turned into 2 plus hours as I at on the freeway and rolled slowly to the Great Escape. I unloaded my gear, recovered, signed in, greeted Sea Diver friends, and went with Chris, Katheryn, and Dale downtown for a nice dinner.

Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Two Sea Divers were celebrating their second wedding anniversary.

Photo by Elaine Jobin

The pre departure harbor conditions were deceptive. It was smooth, dark and peaceful as we made our way to the breakwall. I love looking at the lights at night. No matter how crowded and congested LA has seemed I feel like I've gotten away from it all.

Lights at Queens Wharf Los Angeles, Photo by Elaine Jobin

As we exited the harbor, it got a little bumpier. A short distance out of the breakwall someone spotted dolphins off of the bow. I've seen dolphins a ton of times, but never like this. They were electric dolphins clearly outlined in a very distinct bright light. An incredible bioluminescence display. I tried to get a photo, but without flash I got nothing, with flash the bioluminescence couldn't be seen.

Dolphins at the bow at night, Photo by Elaine Jobin

A short time later, I was asleep in my bunk dreaming of a wake up at Tanner or Cortes. Instead, early morning brought near shore lights and an anchorage at the Catalina Isthmus.

Cortes Bank, Photo by Elaine Jobin Cortes Bank Scoreboard, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Many of the dedicated lobster hunters had been up and diving for hours. Some had already gotten their limit and were ready to return to bed.

Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin

I've got Isthmus burnout. I've been there so many times. I'm not sure what the cure will be. Until I get over it, I have a symbol of the isthmus - The Green Buoy - to help me work through my feelings. If I go to a shooting range, I'm taking the Green Buoy Target. For other occasions I've got the Dart Board. Thanks to Jeff Shaw for his photoshop help..

Green Bouy, Isthmus, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Green Bouy Target, Isthmus, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin, Photoshop creation by Jeff Shaw Green Bouy Dart Board, Isthmus, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin, Photoshop creation by Jeff Shaw

I made my first dive late in the morning at Ship Rock. The visibility at Ship Rock was excellent at most depths. I saw rockfish and lincod and schools of fish. The kelp forest vistas were amazing. That is the hull of the Great Escape in the last picture - not a whale or a great white.

Ship Rock, Isthmus, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin, Photoshop creation by Jeff Shaw Diver at the Isthmus, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin, Photoshop creation by Jeff Shaw Gorgonian and Sheephead at Ship Rock, Isthmus, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin, Photoshop creation by Jeff Shaw Gorgonian at Ship Rock, Isthmus, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin, Photoshop creation by Jeff Shaw Rockfish at Ship Rock, Ishtmus, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Lingcod, Ophiodon elontgatus, Ship Rock Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Lingcod, Ophiodon elontgatus, Ship Rock Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Kelpforest at Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Kelpforest at Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at Ship Rock, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Next we went to Eagle Reef. I decided to go East, head North, circle over the top of the reef at my "half way", and, return on the West side of the wall. I didn't see too much of special interest here, it was just a nice enjoy the visibility and the scenery dive.

Sand Flat Off East Eagle Reef, CAtalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Lobster Hunter at Eagle Reef, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Diver at Eagle Reef, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Kathryn Cody at Eagle Reef, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Chris Grossman at Eagle Reef, Catalina Island,Photo by Elaine Jobin

Our next stop was at Parsons. At the gate I turned around and took off my dive gear. The Fish and Game Zodiac was approaching. I found their visit educational last year so I wanted to see what it would be like this year.

California Fish and Game Boat, Photo by Elaine Jobin Fish and Game Wardens in the Zodiac, Photo by Elaine Jobin Fish and Game Wardens in the Zodiac, Photo by Elaine Jobin

They tied up near the stern, and, instead of blocking the swim step, Warden Potter climbed in over the rail..

Fish and Game Warden Climbs Aboard, Photo by Elaine Jobin

I remembered Warden Rojas from last year. If Fish and Game ever does a "Warden Calendar" I hope they make him "Mr. October". Men seem to dislike F&G inspections. Attention female divers - if this guy is a part of the inspection team, you may have a hard time understanding why some people dislike Fish and Game visits so much. He remembered me from last year too with a "hey, aren't you the photographer - haven't some of your photos been in the Fish and Game Magazine?". His next question was back to business "Do you hunt lobster/" "No" I explained, "I live through lobster season". He gave me an understanding nod.

Photo by Elaine Jobin California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Capt. Tim had his Fish and Game papers for the boat checked by warden Potter. They were a little surprised when I popped in for the photo.

California Fish and Game Warden with Capt. Tim on the Great Escape, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Next they looked in the game bags. They counted and they measured. They made a quick survey of the ice chests on the deck.

California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin

They took notes and conferenced. They asked to meet the owner of the game bag containing 9 lobsters - the legal daily limit is 7. Uh Oh, I knew the presence of a game bag with 9 lobsters wasn't a good thing. I had a strong feeling that one of my ship mates was going to get a ticket.

California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin California Fish and Game Warden, Photo by Elaine Jobin

They issued a citation. The two smallest lobsters from the "over limit" bag were confiscated. Dang diving friends: Don't break the law - it isn't worth it..

California Spiny Lobters, Photo by Elaine Jobin

The Zodiac readied for departure at the dive gate. I figured the events were over so I joined the lunch line. Nope, I missed a photo. Warden Potter exited the Great Escape and landed in the ocean instead of in the Zodiac. I don't think that he was hurt but he got soaked. It will stay in my mind as the photo I missed for a long time. The Sea Divers have offered him an nickname in good spirit - "Splash".

Photo by Elaine Jobin

During lunch we headed back toward the east in search of the better visibility. Anchor dropped at Yellowtail Point. Yellowtail Point is a strange place for me - I've seen leopard sharks, angel sharks, bat rays, torpedo rays, and rare nudibranchs here. Today I didn't see much out of the ordinary except for a quick swim by from a Giant Black Sea Bass. For the night dive we returned to Eagle Reef.

Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin PSea Diver Trip Photo, hoto by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Almost everyone who did not already have their limit of lobsters returned with at least one.

Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Trip Photo, Photo by Elaine Jobin

After everyone was tucked back on board, we made a run over to Santa Barbara Island.

Santa Barbara Island,Photo by Elaine Jobin Santa Barbara Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin

I haven't been to Santa Barbara Island for a while. The places that we stopped had little kelp, lots of brittle stars and invertebrate life, some schools of small fish, and an occasional sea lion. After the first dive I changed to macro and close-up because the wide angle just wasn't very pretty. A few divers really liked the first dive, but they must have gone in a different direction than I did.

Sunflower Star, Psenopodia helianthoides, Santa Barbara Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Gorgonians and Brittle Stars at Santa Barbara Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sunflower Star, Psenopodia helianthoides, Santa Barbara Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin

The water was cooler here than at Catalina. On a surface interval I momentarily thought that Sharon had an inflator valve, but, Skylor was just goofing off. The extra hose connects an "Aqua Heater" to a tank mounted battery pack. This device got a two thumbs up from Sharon for helping her to stay warm.

Sea Diver Sharon and her Aqua Heater, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Sharon and her Aqua Heater, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Diver Sharon and her Aqua Heater, Photo by Elaine Jobin

These are some of my Santa Barbara Island macro shots. I had to look past the carpets of brittle stars to find interesting photo subjects.

Tube Anemone, Pachycerianthus fimbriatus with Brittle Stars, Ophiothrix spiculata, Santa Barbara Isalnd, Photo by Elaine Jobin Blackeye Goby, Coryphopterus nicholsii, and Brittle Star, Ophiothrix spiculata, on Sunflower Star, Psenopodia helianthoides, Santa Barbara Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Brittle Stars, Ophiothrix spiculata, on Red Gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, Santa Barbara Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Brittle Star, Ophiothrix spiculata, on Sunflower Star, Santa Barbara Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Brittle Stars, Ophiothrix spiculata, on Orange Puggball Sponge, Tethya aurantia, Santa Barbara Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Snubnose Sculpin, Orthonopias triacis, Santa Barbara Isalnd, Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin

Crew member Steve joined in on the last dive. He brought up one 3 1/2 pound lobster

Crew Member Steve catches a Lobster, Great Escape Dive Boat, Photo by Elaine Jobin Crew Member Steve catches a Lobster, Great Escape Dive Boat, Photo by Elaine Jobin Crew Member Steve catches a Lobster, Great Escape Dive Boat, Photo by Elaine Jobin

On the return trip the group posed for photos with their amazing lobster catch.

Sea Divers with Lobsters, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers with Lobsters, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers with Lobsters, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers with Lobsters, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sea Divers with Lobsters, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Thanks to Captain Tim and the crew of the Great Escape for another trip well done.

Captain Tim and Captain Kevin, Great Escape Dive Boat, Photo by Elaine Jobin Shannon in the Great Escape Galley, Photo by Elaine Jobin Steve rests on the way home, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Remember to be good diving citizens. This diver posed for a photo in the game well at the end of the trip. It made the lobster hunters very nervous. If you hunt, know and follow the law. The ocean is a fragile ecosystem, just as fragile as the lobsters in the game well. The Fish and Game laws were enacted in part to help keep our resources sustainable.

Photo by Elaine Jobin

Until next time...........





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