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Santa Cruz - Report and Photos (on the Peace)


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Posted by scottfiji on March 16, 2006 at 11:30:43:


Walt, Christine, Marta, and I loaded up Walt's truck around 10:30PM tuesday night, prepared for an overnight boat ride to Santa Rosa. We didn't make it to Santa rosa, but we had 4 great dives on the Peace to Santa Cruz.

Lobsters

Most people on board were hunters, and male. I don't think people got too many lobsters though. The few lobsters I saw were safe with me. My dive buddy Walt brought a lobster bag, but always came back empty. I saw some Sheephead that met their maker.

Sheep Crab

I saw three large sheep crabs on the dives, all of them were quite combative and had a personal vendetta against my camera.

Bat Stars

There were lots of beautiful starfish on the dive sites. I saw numerous large sunflower stars, always on the prowl.

Unknown Invertebrate

What is this guy? All dive sites were good for interesting invertebrates (translation - Macro photography!). Here is another unidentfied invertebrate, anyone know what it is? (debbie, chris?) http://gallery.scubapost.net/v/scottfiji/Cruz20060315/Cruz+179.jpg

Rockfish looking through the Kelp

The dive sites had plenty of thick kelp. On the last 2 dives you had to swim under lots of kelp to get back to the boat, surface swims were not an option. Sometimes the kelp made the dive sites quite dark!

Santa Cruz Island

We did 4 dives that day. In order (and going west to east), Willow's anchorage, Bowen Point, Pink something Boilers, and Sandstone point. All were on the south side of the island. Vis was 30-60ft on the 1st 3 dives, with lots of kelp, fish, and structure. The last dive site had nothing worthwhile for hunters or photographers.

Me on the Peace

I spent surface intervals in the hot tub elevating my core temperature. I was diving wet, water was 51 degrees. I was ok with my new 5mil gloves, 7/5 bare wetsuit, 2mil shorty, and 3 mil hooded vest. all my dives were about 50 minutes. Walt and I were always the last ones on board for some reason, I guess hunters like short dives.

Sunset on the way home

The Peace was great, the food wonderful, and the staff very professional and helpful. Lots of room on the boat, and I never felt rushed to get in or out of the water. The boat returned around 6:05PM.

Flatworm on a lightbulb tunicate

I didn't see the flatworm until I looked at the photo.

Blue rockfish

My favorite part of santa cruz island is all the blue rockfish who love to follow me around. They are hard to photograph straight on though.

Hot tub party (me, Christine, and Marta behind us)

Marta and Christine saw a bat ray on one dive, and a leopard shark on the last dive. Marta was shooting film so I'm sure we'll see her photos in a few weeks. Christine's toes almost froze off!

Walter

Walt will be an LA instructor soon. He dropped a dive light (retrieved), lost a retractor, had his air-integrated dive computer stop working, and got sucked underwater by the kelp unable to find his regulator. But he still had great dives and probably great photos.

Copper or Gopher Rockfish

Santa Cruz island is loaded with interesting Rockfish, who I happen to love photographing. They usually sit still for you.

Unknown Rockfish (Kelp Rockfish???)

In addition to Rockfish, there were numerous Halfmoon, Opaleye, Kelp Perch, Sargo, Rupperlip Perch, Garibaldi, Blacksmith, and Rainbow SeaPerch on the first 3 dive sites. The schools of halfmoon were beautiful, and the Rainbow Perch were so colorful I felt like I was in the tropics when I saw them, they were dazzling. I saw 2 very elusive lingcod also.

San Diego Dorid

On each dive I saw a couple san diego dorids, and numerous Sea Lemons, some of which were the largest ones I've ever seen, including one almost the size of my dive light. It was a giant!

well, I hope you enjoyed the report. All photos were taken with my Fuji-F10, no strobe. I have about 50 more photos (underwater and topside) in my gallery from the dive, feel free to check them out. A direct link is below, or you can copy this into your browser:
http://gallery.scubapost.net/v/scottfiji/Cruz20060315

Scott



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