|Trip Report and Photos: Clemente on the Sundiver 01-08-06|
Posted by Elaine on January 23, 2006 at 17:03:24:|
Trip Report and Photos
Sundiver Open Boat to San Clemente Island
January 8, 2006
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or in whole without advanced written permission.
The Christmas season can bring some severe cases of "dry gill" to Southern California divers. This year there were trip cancellations due to weather and many of our boats took a break for R&R and repairs. I was very excited to be on this Sundiver open boat to San Clemente Island - finally, with the holidays over, diving could get back to "business as usual". (The Sundiver was one of the few that didn't take much time off during the holidays - thank you for being there for us!)
Our scheduled departure was for Saturday night at midnight.
At the harbor there were some lingering Christmas lights to see.
And, it was a typical Saturday nights at the near by restaurants and bars.
The ocean was still experiencing windy conditions with some respect worthy swells, and Captain Ray gave us a 50/50 chance of making it to San Clemente Island. Our fall back destination would be Catalina.
Gina, in the yellow sweater, was excited to be on this trip. Recent knee surgery had kept her our of the water for several months. Still recovering, she gleefully hung her handicapped parking sticker on her scooter and looked forward to a day of underwater "physical therapy".
Frank Farmer, our past LAUPS president/wreck diver showed up with his trademark "dive bag".
I noticed when I stopped in the "powder room" on the Sundiver that it was time for Captain Ray to post an updated F&G reg sheet. It is definitely kept where you can't miss seeing it.
We settled into our bunks and as we rocked and rolled, bounced, and occasionally held on - we plowed our way to Clemente. We were one destination happy group of divers in the morning! When Captain Kevin stepped from the wheel house he received a short round of applause. The sight of San Clemente Island brought out some huge smiles!
Our first dive site was near Pyramid Cove at Nine Fathom Reef. I wasn't optimistic about the visibility so I took my Nikonos Close up gear for photos. Boy, did I make a mistake. Visibility was a fun 50 plus feet and anchor had dropped right at the entrance of the terrific swim though located at this site. I took a few photos with the Close up kit and then became totally frustrated feeling like I was missing all of the good wide angle shots. About half way through the dive I pulled off the lens attachment, went to a hand held strobe, set the aperture at a ridiculous f8 so I could get some depth of field with the 28mm lens. I had 50 speed Velvia film so I made like a tripod as best I could and went for some long exposure shots with the shutter speed set on "bulb". I guessed at how long to hold the shutter down and a few photos actually turned out - not very well - but good enough so that you can sort of see what this site looks like.
This dive really got the photogs jazzed.
Our next stop was not too far away and the terrific visibility continued. I went to wide angle and figured out that I had a strobe problem - these photos are "natural light"..
San Clemente Island was definitely the place to be for some good diving.
We moved down the island toward Little Flower. At our next stop, I guess I went a different direction than everyone else. I started noticing what looked like a lot of underwater litter. Then I started seeing bigger pieces of boat parts. I finally figured out that something must have sunk here not that long ago.
Remembering how much Frank likes brass, I looked around to find something to take him. I carried back the remnants of a ships light and watched him carefully for the response that my "gift" it would bring. Sure enough, Frank got right down to work taking the plastic off to salvage the brass. It was so simple, I just picked up some trash and it made Frank so happy!
Good visibility prevailed on into our last wonderful dive.
The ride home was a little smoother than our ride out had been. I haven't been able to help but to notice how popular Clive Cussler books seem to be with Southern California divers. On every trip, at least one person, is reading a Clive Cussler. I wonder if Clive has ever been a California diver? It would be so much fun if some day we could read about Dirk Pitt on a Channel Islands adventure.
I also noticed that some divers used the time on the trip home to complete their CPR certifications up in the wheel house
Special thanks to Captain Ray and Captain Kevin for giving us such a great post Christmas get away.
I hope that everyone had "Happy Holidays". Until next time.......
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