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Posted by Patrick on June 12, 2006 at 10:45:03:

A 06:30 departure from Santa Monica found the 405 with light traffic, the only significant event on the trip being a phalanx of highway patrol cars, fire engines and ambulances surrounding an overturned SUV on the center divider.

Something like that can ruin your day…

Though the parking at Cabrillo was pretty full, the launch ramp was blessedly clear. The biggest crown seemed to be a bunch of people laying on the dock out toward the end, poking at floating strands of kelp. As we launched, I saw the local raccoon stroll across the ramp and disappear into the jetty below the lifeguard station. The feral cats who had apparently been in the area decamped for the end of the jetty. – Life at the launch ramp.

Initial plan was to ground-truth the numbers on a wreck the Navy had sunk as a target, but on clearing Angel’s Gate and finding wind and sea conditions that were less than optimal, plans were changed. It was decided to take a look at some “new” numbers we had for structures off the harbor.

The Horseshoe Kelp was a traffic jam with over thirty commercial sportfishing boats and myriad private boats scattered across the area. One of the new locations was somewhat clear of the mob, and we dropped a Diver Down float and flag on the numbers. As we were gearing up, a Go-fast Cigarette boat pulling a water skier cam flying by at about 50. They cleared the float by 75-100 feet. It was going to be an interesting day

Vis. On the bottom at 109 fsw was a very nice 35+ feet. The site itself was undistinguished – a relatively barren bedrock spine rising some 8-10 feet proud of the bottom with scattered melon-to-Volkswagen-sized rocks around it and a few strands of ribbon kelp. Surprisingly few fish and hardly and invertebrates were to be found. Really the only thing of interest was a couple of snow-white nudies that were huge. I couldn’t believe the size of these dudes, so I measured them against my knife blade – 6.5 inches! The only other aspect of the dive worth mentioning was the periodic assault on my ears by the detonation of seal bombs by the sport boats. I stopped counting after 20 explosions – decidedly unpleasant even though they were some distance away.

Next jump was on Johanna Smith – we chose poorly – Visibility on the descent was 25-30 feet. At 10-feet off the bottom, the vis went to a dark muddy 2-3 feet, plus my descent took me down around the structure that is wrapped with net. I cleared the are and finger-walked the bottom for a while then gave up the dive as a bad job.


Last dive of the day we headed west toward what we hoped would be clearer water and fewer fishing boats; we lucked out and found it. This jump was on yet another rock structure, but what a difference. This structure was heavily encrusted with corynactis and loaded with fish – Sargo, huge Rubberlip perch, cabezon, sculpin, BIG ling cod, calico and sand bass, schools of senorita and chromis. This was really a spectacular dive and a nice way to end the day. When I came up this last dive the sun had come out and heated the solar shower to a very comfortable temperature. A very nice end to a great day of southern California diving.

Stay wet...



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