|Trip Report and Photos: The Avalon, Whites Point Pipe, and a Mystery Site May 21, 2006|
Posted by Elaine on May 29, 2006 at 12:46:41:|
Trip Report and Photos
Diving with Ross O. May 21, 2006
The Wreck of the Avalon, The Whites Point Outflow Pipe, and the Mystery Blip
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission
I enjoyed the Saturday Sea Diver trip on the Great Escape so much, that I talked Ross and Beth into returning to the Wreck of the Avalon on Sunday. I specifically wanted to get some wide angle photographs of the Avalon. I have never been to this site on a good visibility day, and yesterday had been as good as I've ever seen it.
I warned Ross that on the way down the anchor line he was going to think I was nuts. We would cut through a thick layer of dark green, 5 foot visibility, plankton bloom. Once we passed 50 feet it would start to clear up and turn into a decent dive. Fortunately conditions had not changed much since the previous day and that is pretty much what happened. On the site I had my very first good tour of the wreckage. I've seen the bow section, but never the rest of the semi intact debris.
One of the first things that caught my eye was a Giant Black Sea Bass who stayed just out of photo range. It is the end of May, so it makes sense that the Giant Black Sea Bass are back. Next I noticed several large lingcod.
A school of Sargo near the crane section were stunning. The top of the crane was just about in the plankton level so it was difficult for me to get good shots of the Sargo.
This is Ross doing some wreck photography and a link to the trip report that he was kind enough to post.
Captain Beth drove us to our next site. Ross wanted to check out the Whites Point "outflow" AKA sewer pipe. He chose a depth of 60 feet for our dive. The pipe extends to a depth of 160 feet. As we traveled to the pipe we wondered what we would see. Would it be a visible concrete conduit surrounded by rocks? What kind of sea life - would there be three headed genetically damaged fish? Would there be leaks with floating turds?
The pipe looked somewhat as I expected - just like the ones that they install in underground in residential areas. We could only see some of the concrete top because it was heavily supported and surrounded by rocks. Every so often there was a large joint where two pipe pieces fit together. I looked closely for signs of leaks but didn't see any. There was not a heavy fish population but I did see some rockfish, some sculpin, and some gobies - none of them deformed. A small abalone was sitting right on top.
Nudibranchs were prevalent. Unfortunately I didn't have my "nudibranch" camera setup. There was a lot of nudibranch mating activity going on.
Our last stop of the day was at a site Ross had picked up on the sonar near Pt. Fermin. We were short of" no deco" time and I only had about a half tank of air left from my dive at the Avalon. We planned a quick trip down, a brief look around, and a slow return to the surface up the anchor line. We had a tight schedule on limited resources so we left our cameras on the boat. The first deviation from our itinerary occurred at a depth of about 10 feet when a squadron of four Molas swam by. It was an awesome thing to see. We stopped to watch them pass and then resumed our descent. At the bottom, visibility was limited, and it was very dark, but whatever the structure was it was covered with bright anemonies and sea life. With only 1,000 psi left in my tank, I stayed near the anchor line and began my slow ascent shortly after we arrived. Ross followed closely behind, creating a plan in his mind for future exploration of the site.
So ended another fun day of diving with Ross and Beth O on the Orion.
Until next time.
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