|Trip Report and Photos: Sundiver to Catalina, Sunday 2-28-06|
Posted by Elaine on March 10, 2006 at 16:08:08:|
Trip Report and Photos
Catalina on the Sundiver - Open Boat
Sunday, February 28, 2006
Story and Photos, © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.
I was able to escape my personal drama of "home improvements" (?) on the last day of February for a dive day at Catalina. The Sundiver was offering an "open boat" to Catalina, and, I had my spot.
When I arrived, I saw many familiar faces, and, I made some new diving friends. It is great to show up somewhere and see so many people that you know on a Sunday morning - without having to sit through a sermon.
Some brought their family members with them.
Some brought lots of toys.
With everybody, and everything, on board, the Sundiver set off for the west end of Catalina Island.
The channel was smooth as glass for our crossing and some dolphins broke away from a feeding frenzy to do whatever it is that dolphins do in the bow wake. The water was so still and transparent it provided a great opportunity for dolphin viewing. My camera settings were a little off from a recent episode of night photography, but I managed to save a few images via photoshop.
Captain Ray dropped anchor at West End Reef. It isn't often that the western most point of Catalina Island offers good diving conditions but on this day - it was fantastic. The visibility was a Catalina average of 40 to 50 feet in shallow areas, but below 80 feet it opened up to awesome. Wide eyed I looked at the amazing scenery of the steeply sloping rocky reef. There were beautiful gorgonian decorations everywhere. It was California diving with a distinct tropical feel. I cruised down to the deep sandy bottom at about 130 feet, partly to check it out, and, partly just to say that I've been to the sand on the western tip of the island. It was still the morning sun, so the available light at depth was fine for looking around, but less than ideal for photography. The following photos were taken at the western most point on the frontside of Catalina at about 130 feet where the rocks meet the sand.
On the way back up the reef I saw a nudibranch I have never seen before - I believe it is a Peltodoris species - maybe one of the nudibranch experts out there can verify this. I only had the wide angle lens, so these aren't the best photos for identification.
I saw many of my boat mates in the shallower water.
Some friends cruised by with their scooters. On this dive, Captain Ray may have established the first scooter parking lot on the west end of Catalina Island. In fifty years - maybe there will be parking meters.
During our first surface interval.......
we rounded the corner to the backside of the Catalina west end.
Oh boy!!!! another shot at this dive site from a different angle. Capt. Ray suggested that I might want to head along the shore toward the backside. Uh un I thought. I want to go back where I was. The sun was higher and brighter. More/better photos of the point - a second opportunity"greed" run.
We did our last dive at Deadmans. Capt. Ray suited up for this dive and endured quite a photo shoot for the event. He gets in his wet suit and he moves too fast for good photos. Ray, slow down, pose for the cameras; the ocean, and the lobsters, will still be there in 5 minutes. Also, maybe Captain Ray needs to be added to the BBS Gallery of California Backpack Divers.
I took the "little camera" this time. Visibility was still terrific and I was almost sorry not to have wide angle, but I saw plenty to keep my inner photographer happy. An angel shark, nudibranchs, sculpin, gorgonians etc. I also saw the largest Christmas tree worm I've ever seen here. Normally our California Christmas Tree worms are some of the smallest in the world. This one was several inches tall and wide - amazing sight.
A dolphin escort arrived for part of our trip home.
Back at the dock, Phil (Max Bottomtime) appeared out of nowhere, and, he helped me schlep my dive gear back to the car. He actually came to meet Susan and to give her the lobsters she had caught on a dive the previous day. Thanks Phil - and Susan for that matter. It was a perfect end to a perfect dive day.
Until next time.........
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