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Posted by tleemay on January 30, 2006 at 20:39:05:

In Reply to: Re: What is the best time of year to visit Santa Barbra Isl. ? posted by Jeff on January 27, 2006 at 06:53:51:

Mr. Williams et al,

When was the last time you attempted a trip to SBI on the GE?

The last trip scheduled to SBI was on Dec 14th 2005 and they made
it. The scheduled SBI trip before that was a Sport Chalet trip
and they made it. They made it once during the early weeks of bug
season that was scheduled. Prior to that they made it numerous
scheduled times that Spring and Summer as Walt has testified (hey Tori!).

In reviewing last year's schedule, I would hazard to guess the GE
made it about 75%+ when scheduled to SBI...

... and that's because sometimes weather or wind conditions just
won't allow you to get to the island. If you try and get blown
out, you are in for a long ride home with no diving. This is
particularly true with SBI. That's because when the conditions go
to crap there is almost nowhere to duck when the wind blows down
the island at just the right compass heading. I've been on a
couple of boats other than the GE that have had to abort the
entire dive day because of conditions.

I know of at least two other boats in CA who have bragged about
making their intended outer island destinations 100% of the
time. What they don't tell you is that they were only scheduled
to go to those outer islands 3-4 times a year, usually in the
dead of Summer when the chances of success are the greatest. The
water might be dirty and the wind is howling maintaining a nasty powerful surface wind current once there, but hey - it's where
you wanted to go, right? What they don't want you to know though
is that the Captain has heard on the radio that the conditions
at Catalina are stellar right now. Sorry, but it happens.

It's the experience of the captain that is in play when he/she
decides to not attempt a scheduled outer island like SBI for a
marginal possible chance of diving when the conditions at
Catalina or San Clemente are just as bad or slightly better, and
where there are more places to duck into to get out of the
nastiness.

People who dive on boats regularly - like two to three times a
month - know from experience that you cannot always make your
intended destination. People who dive on charter boats say once a
month or less are going to run into that problem of not possibly
making the scheduled destination since they have relegated
themselves to limited exposure in achieving success of reaching
the SBI target goal.

I agree with what the infamous John P. Delaney and Chris Grossman
use as their guideline for selecting their yearly local dive
schedules; that is to always book the outer island and off-shore
reef intended destinations no matter what boat it is. You will
have a much better chance of actually making the destinations and
if you end up at Catalina or somewhere else, at least you can
honestly look yourself in the mirror and say you gave it your
best in planning and effort.

Remember, a boat the size of the GE can make ANY destination in
seas the typical diver should never expect to experience. Getting
there is easy for the boat and crew, it's diving in bad water and
weather conditions after that stomach lurching crossing that turns people off from the experience when forced. Even the most
seasoned divers have been know to sit out the dive day because
of a rough crossing. I'm not going to name names but you would be
easily suprised which locally well known seasoned divers can't
handle rough crossings even after 40 years of diving these waters
on boats like the Rio Rita and Seaview back in the day. Now THOSE
were some rough crossings I'm told.

The captains, crews and charters who have the boats want to get
divers to the best possible conditions available in the time
allowed. To do otherwise is counter productive to all involved
in the equation.

All of the above is my opinion. It is also my opinion that Second
Fiddle can't read nautical charts ;-).



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