|Trip Report and Photos: Catalina 10-10 on the Pacific Star, 11-19-05|
Posted by Elaine on November 24, 2005 at 15:41:49:|
Trip Report and Photos
Pacific Star 10-10
Open Boat to Catalina
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission
Saturday I slept later than usual then took off for Redondo and the Pacific Star 10am -10pm Catalina Trip. I love these twelve hour trips because of the late departure and the night dives. Last year on a 10 - 10 I had my Catalina sea turtle sighting..
It has been a few months since I was last on the Pacific Star. Most things were the same.
There was a new cook, and, Captain Dave Harvey's daughter Emily has gotten much bigger and can say a few words now.
There were only 15 divers on this trip, which meant lots of leg room.
After everyone was aboard, we had our boat briefing and departed Redondo Harbor.
Our trip to Catalina was smooth as glass. There was no sea sickness but a few did show signs of lobster fever.
Our first dive was at Bird Rock. We anchored on the east side. On this side there is a steep vertical wall that goes down to the sand at about 140 feet. Visibility was excellent past 80 feet. It would have been a terrific dive for wide angle, but I had chosen to take the Nikonos Close-up kit. There were some nice gorgonians along the wall, but I was a little disappointed that I didn't see more fish. I took a brief deep dip then started a swim around bird rock (not recommended unless you are very comfortable here as the boat crew will loose all ability to get a visual on you when your are on the far side). The tour was easy until I ran into a fairly stiff current on the shallow west shore. I did the underwater treadmill for a while and then decided to give up and ride the current back around to the boat. A fun photo I missed on the shallow west side was one with lots of bird feet hanging in the water.
The second dive was at the Rock Quarry. I wanted to try for a glimpse of the Scythe Butterflyfish that live here, and, I was not disappointed. They seem to have become a little camera shy since I first met them about 2 years ago. I couldn't get very close for photos. Every time they saw me coming they would dip into the rocks. I patiently waited for their reappearance and was rewarded with brief sightings about three times. The blacksmith schools were much more willing photo subjects.
After the dive at the Rock Quarry, the sun dipped behind the island and darkness started to approach. More divers were showing symptoms of lobster fever.
Captain Dave knew of a productive lobster site near Rippers but a strong current prevented diving there. We settled for a more sheltered area close by.
I saw so many cool things on the evening and night dives. An angel shark was laying near the anchor line.
Horn sharks and sculpin were abundant near the eel grass.
Sole, sculpin, snails and shrimp were out over the sand. I am not sure what kind of sculpin the orange ones are, and, I haven't yet found the snails. Any guesses?
One of my favorite night time encounters was with several small Round Stingrays. At the time I thought that they might be baby torpedo rays because I had never seen Round Stingrays before. The youngsters were only about 5 inches or less wide, and they had so much character in their eyes they reminded me of old souls in young playful bodies. The rays were exceptionally willing photo subjects.
On the last dive of the day my light beam struck a large lobster walking across the sand - right under the boat. I looked for a lobster hunter to signal my find. No one was in sight. I swam closer and the lobster sat patiently for a brief photo session. He was so cooperative, I couldn't help but think how easy it would be for a hunter to catch him. I don't have a license to fish, hunt, or take lobsters. This lobster was sitting right under me and the desire to see if he would let me put my hand on him was irresistible. I slowly lowered my hand until it was less than an inch from his body. The lobster continued to sit there and look at me. I couldn't help thinking "man, lobster hunting is so easy, what is the big deal? If I can get this close, anybody can.". Maybe the lobster knew I didn't have a license - who knows. I lowered my hand the last inch and my fingers barely fit across the top of his body. Suddenly he started a powerful vibration. I screamed and let go. He must have figured out that I'm a lobster sissy because he only backed off about 5 feet and sat for another photo. I swam away with the knowledge that if I wanted to be a lobster hunter I could do it - I would just have to learn to not scream and let go. Having bigger hands would probably be helpful too. Maybe next year I'll get a license just to see if I can hold on to one or not. Trying to pick up a lobster is enough fun for me. I'd probably be the only catch and release lobster hunter in Southern California.
Some lobsters did take the starlight cruise back to Redondo.
We had a great dinner on the way home - yes, this new guy can cook.
I can't wait for my next night dive trip to Catalina! A whole different world comes out at night and it is so much fun see new things.
Until next time.............
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