Braving the Weather: Fantastic Day on the Spectre

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Posted by Walt on March 12, 2006 at 10:18:55:

March 11, 2006. From all weather reports only a fool would have ventured out yesterday … forecast of rain, thundershowers, huge swells … well, call us fools, but we’re fools who had a great day of diving! As Captain Ted often remarks, “weather reports are for entertainment” … you never know what lies before you until you venture out to sea.

The channel crossing was smooth and as we neared our destination of Anacapa the cloudy skies gave way to sun. The boat was loaded with quite a few classes, but by luck or whatever, the seasoned divers congregated in the stations near the gates (guess we learn to arrive on the boat early) and we avoided the accompanying disarray of newbies.

First dive was at East Channel and for those who cared for a little swim, Underwater Island. Water temp was a chilly 51 F. We discovered a 3 inch deep red colored shrimp in a crevice; unfortunately no camera. Surfacing we were warmed by the sun, but the air temp was in the low 40’s. After some hot cocoa and relocation, we dove Surveyor Rock where our dive was monitored by a friendly little grey harbor seal. About midway through the dive we came across a 2 foot horn shark – something we don’t see as much as we used to, so it was nice to be able to stay and observe it as it rested alongside a reef.

For lunch we feasted on Ted’s famous barbecue chicken and tri-tip, which was served just before a squall descended on the boat – in the distance we saw ominous dark clouds and lightning over Santa Cruz. As we completed our meal, the rain gave way to a cloudless blue sky and sunshine.

Next stop was Fault Line and its band of playful sea lions. These animals must be getting used to divers as they played with us throughout our entire dive. I’d estimate a group of about 30 of them who delighted as we did twirls and somersaults with them- quite a workout, but it did make the chilly water seem warmer. Divinotter gave her snorkel to one of them and the sea lion darted off with it in its mouth, mimicking a diver! A group of 3 or 4 others then started a game of ‘keep away’ when one would grab the snorkel away from another, than another… After a few minutes one of the lions came at me, snorkel in mouth, I reached up and retrieved the snorkel! I handed it back to Divinotter and the sea lion who had just lost it sat motionless on the sea floor looking at her with its big eyes as if to beg for another chance to play with it. It was one of those dives that you say to yourself – ‘no one will believe this’. Trust me, believe!

Final dive was at West Channel and the surge and current started to pick up a bit. I dove solo while Divinotter did her final dive in the hot tub. However, I saw more large anemones than she did!

After de-gearing I too took the hot tub plunge and stayed there for most of the trip back across the channel. Just before we got to Ventura Harbor Ted alerted us to a grey whale calf ‘spying’, looking for its mom. The youngster came nearly completely out of the water about 10 times, delighting all aboard.

Thanks to Ted and the crew of the Spectre for a great winter day of diving Southern California!

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