|Trip Report and Photos - Rosa and Cruz with the Sea Sons on the Peace|
Posted by Elaine on February 13, 2006 at 23:50:03:|
Trip Report and Photos
Sea Sons Dive Club on the Peace
Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands
January 21 -22, 2006
Story and Photos (With the exception of Captain Kangaroo - I can't find a credit for him, and, Jeff Shaw's assistance with the last photo of Captain Eric) © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or in whole without advanced written permission.
January was not the best weather month for diving. The swells created some rough boat rides and the ocean conditions decreased underwater visibility in many locations. This trip with the Sea Sons on the Peace began with a determined overnight run to Santa Rosa Island. It was a little bouncy, and I'm not sure who was driving - Captain Eric or Captain Kangaroo, but, hallaluah - we made it!
The Sea Sons held up well to the strenuous boating conditions. This dive club was founded in 1955, and, is now into their 51st year. With roots to the original San Bernardino county Search and Rescue Dive Team, this is perhaps our oldest local dive club. Long time members are hardy and well seasoned to the variety of boating/diving conditions that the Channel Islands can throw at them. They are mainly a hunting group, but their hunting sites are perfectly good for photography too.
Part time Peace Crew and Captain, Fidel Luna, is a member of this club.
And....Some of the Sea Sons brought Sons of the Sea Sons.
Once we arrived at Santa Rosa Island, it was a little windy topside, but, underwater the visibility was very good. We started our dive day at the West end of the Island and moved toward the East end on each successive dive. I concentrated on macro and a large population of typical Santa Rosa Nudibranchs were out on display.
I even found a crab taking cover behind a cluster of nudibranch eggs.
Our captain, had brought us to some terrific Southern California winter diving.
On one of the late morning dives, I saw a critter that I had never seen before. I was in the kelp on a safety stop when I noticed a skinny, foot long, swimming with an S shaped wiggle, unknown thing swim by. I took off after it and was able to get a few photos. He was much bigger than my 1:2 extension tube so I concentrated on trying to photograph the head. He let me know I was initially at the wrong end by going to the bathroom in my camera lens. On the second try I got it right.
Back at home, Chris Grossman helped me to send the photos to Leslie Harris, a worm expert at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. She can't be certain without actually seeing the worm, but, she believes that this may be an Ophioglycera which is in the worm family Goniadidae. She said that this worm is officially unreported as being a resident of our local waters, partly because they are uncommon, and, partly because they are normally reclusive, living in the rocks and the sediment. One of the things that makes diving so exciting for me is that every time I leave the boat, I never know exactly what I'm going to see, and every now an then, a plain old recreational diver like myself can maybe do a very little bit to expand the body of marine science knowledge.
Back at Santa Rosa, Captain Eric announced that the sea conditions at the outer islands were turning from bad to worse so we would make an early run to Santa Cruz Island for the night dive.
We bounced and rolled over to Santa Cruz and tucked into a nice quiet cove for our night dive. It wasn't the most productive photo dive for me due to the fact that I left some needed equipment on the boat. However, many of the lobster hunters came back with more than excuses.
After a beautiful sunrise, day two continued at Santa Cruz Island. The lobster hunters had some terrific luck at some of the deeper sites that we dove.
I opted to sleep through the first dive, but I was wide eyed and bushy tailed on the second one when I found a large nest of white eggs. I wasn't certain what kind of eggs they were until a lingcod kept coming to pose for photos and seemed to get a little upset when I was photographing the eggs. This was the first lingcod nest that I have ever seen. In reading up on the find, male lingcod guard the nests similar to the male Garibaldi. Fortunately, this Lingcod was a small one and he wasn't as aggressive as some of our little orange friends. Lingcod have big teeth.
Visibility at Santa Cruz was good and there were lots of photo subjects. These are a few of my other photos from Cruz.
Our return ride to Ventura was bumpy etc. It was one of those trips where whatever wasn't on the deck - fell to the deck. Some weathered the trip in their bunks, and others preferred riding it out in the hot tub.
I grabbed a beer from my cooler, well, maybe 2 beers, and ended up "pole dancing" in the galley. Standing up was fine, as long as you were holding on to something. I've gotten used to some of the heavier sea conditions, and, the Peace is one fantastic tough dive mobile.
I hate to admit it but I actually thought boat rides were fun. I don't really think of Captain Eric as Captain Kangaroo. He does such a great job of getting us to the good diving, well.....he is more like Captain Marvel.
Once again, the Peace crew was first rate and the food the best.
Until next time.....
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