|Trip Report and Photos - Pac. Star 10-10 Whalers Dive Club 2-18-06|
Posted by Elaine on March 05, 2006 at 22:18:03:|
Trip Report and Photos
Catalina 10AM 10PM on the Pacific Star
With the Whalers Dive Club
February 18, 2006
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission
When I arrived at the boat, the Pacific Star "Dive Valet Team" was waiting. They whisked my dive and photo gear out of my truck and onto the boat. It is a very painless way to start a dive trip. Thanks guys!
All I had to do was park the car, sign in, and socialize. It doesn't get any easier than that. This dive trip was a 10am to 10pm Whalers Dive Club charter to Catalina Island. The 10am to 10pm trips are one of my favorite itineraries. Day time diving and some night diving. The Whalers are one of my favorite dive groups. They are a terrific group of divers with some of the most reasonably priced dive trips out there. This 4 dive trip was only 95$ - a bargain.
I couldn't help but notice that the Pacific Star has new paint and a new look.
As we prepared to depart, we experienced a heavy rain storm, followed by a few flakes of snow and lots of hale. Yes, snow and hale in Redondo Harbor! One heck of a way to start a dive trip.
Captain Dave said he thought that the weather would improve as we moved away from the mainland, and he was right. We had a smooth crossing to Catalina with under some interesting dark skies and later we were treated to a rainbow.
Our first stop for diving was at Long Point.
Visibility here was at least 40 feet with conditions perfect for a nice easy dive.
I saw several hoop nets. Jamie (who was a DM on my first shark dive years ago, and, who is a treasure chest of information on Catalina dive sites) picked up a wayward kelp entangled hoop net - the abandoned/broken ones can be diver snatchers and brought it back to the boat. Jamie was also sort of an informal dive buddy for the day.
Our next dive site was at Italian Gardens. Visibility was excellent. I looked deep and I looked shallow for the Giant Black Sea Bass. It was a great dive, but, the Sea Bass haven't come back yet - as summer residents, they aren't officially expected for another month or two.
As always, surface intervals were relaxing
Our next stop for our twilight and night dive was at Rippers. To me, Rippers is the Catalina version of Redondo Canyon - a perfectly OK dive site in the day time, and a phenomenal dive site at night. Lots and lots of critters that you don't frequently see at Catalina come out here at night.
One diver did the "OOPS I forgot my fins" giant stride. It happens to all of us, at least once.
On the twilight dive I saw Garibaldi, Thornback rays - my first sighting, halibut, horn sharks, and a few lobsters.
On the night dive I saw lots of swimming crabs, lots of coonstripe shrimp, a torpedo ray hovering in my flashlight beam, more lobsters, and a Catalina Conger - my first sighting. On my return trip to the boat I even stumbled across a second Conger eel - for me, it was a very cool find. They swim about just over the sand, and when they figure out they are a photo subject, they back tail first into the sand.
Lobster hunters returned from this dive with lobsters - no huge ones, but legal.
The marine live excitement continued on the trip back to Redondo. A pod of several dolphins spent the better part of an hour at the bow.
Captain Dave and Crew did it again, another awesome 10 -10.
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