|Trip Report and Photos: Oil Rigs Elly, Ellen with the Whalers Nov. 13, 2005|
Posted by Elaine on November 17, 2005 at 18:51:49:|
Trip Report and Photos
Oil Rigs Eureka and Ellen with the Whalers Dive Club
On the Sea Bass
November 13, 2005
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.
Last Saturday I made another trip to the Southern California Oil Rigs with the Whalers Dive Club on the Sea Bass. When I went on the Whalers Oil Rig charter last year, it was Sunny, Calm, and visibility was over 100 feet.
This year, we were entertained by loud fog horns as we boarded the boat. Sunrise lifted some of the fog in the harbor. During our departure boat briefing it started to look like it was going to be a nice day.
Near the breakwall, the fog thickened again.
Our trip to the rigs was slower than normal. We hit patches of good surface visibility and then we would be back in the clouds. Our captain stressed in our dive briefing the importance of staying within the rig structure at all times and reminded us several times to surface as quickly as possible if we lost underwater visual contact with the rig pilings.
Earlier this year, the Oil Platforms Elly and Ellen were being sand blasted and painted so we were limited to diving the Eureka. Now the Eureka is being sand blasted and painted so we could only dive the Elly/Ellen complex. Our first dive was on Elly. Visibility was moderate by Oil Rig standards at between 40 to 60 feet. The water was "chunky" - lots of large particulate matter and green. The overcast sky also made our first dive a dark one. I dove with some macro setups and stayed very close to the underwater columns and cross beams. Moderate surge down to about 60 feet also made the dive a bumpy one.
We had an hour surface interval.
During which we moved the short distance over to the Oil Rig Ellen. Even though the Elly and the Ellen are joined by a causeway, and they sit right next to each other, the sea life seems to be a little different on each rig. I like diving Ellen better than a dive on Elly. I found more things to photograph there. I still think that the Eureka is the best, but Ellen is definitely my second choice.
On the first dive on the Ellen I found nudibranchs, rockfish, sheephead, cabizon, more scallops than you could ever count, anemones, metridiums, brittle stars, barnacles, schools of fish and sea lions. I stuck with macro photography because the visibility was still less than premium. These are a few of my photos from this dive.
Back on the boat Rusty began telling his story of being molested by a Cabezon. He said that it globbed onto him at the first crossbeam level and followed him all of the way down to the second cross beam level. Sometimes when he exhaled his could see his bubbles coming out of the gills of the Cabezon. Shipmate and photographer Steve Patchis was with Rusty at the time of the encounter and caught some of it on film. Steve was kind enough to share a few of his photos for this trip report.
Yea, I know, some people just aren't impressed by anything.
After lunch, a little fog began rolling back into the Oil Platform area.
We did our last dive of the day at the Ellen - it was everyone's favorite.
We had a slower than usual return to the dock due to recurrent patches of fog. No one seemed to mind though - we just ate cookies and fruit, drank sodas, and relaxed. It had been another super day of diving the rigs. To the crew that swore that I don't look a day over 29 - kisses, kisses, and more kisses with a hug thrown in. That was the best anyone has made me feel since my last birthday.
Back at the dock I learned a very important lesson - if possible, don't park under the telephone wires. Everyone who did received free auto decoration complements of the birds.
At least I though it was the birds. Jeff Shaw sent me the photo he caught of the real culprits.
Until next time...........
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