|Dive Report - 07/08/06 - Play in the Bay|
Posted by Patrick on July 10, 2006 at 14:40:34:|
Saturday we decided to do a quickie trip in Santa Monica Bay since the spots off San Pedro & Long Beach would be on the track of the LB to Catalina water-ski race making that are somewhat problematic, and the captain & crew had some other tasks to handle later in the day.
The trip was not just a dive junket, but a chance to test the boat after some engine work which had been completed on Friday. The launch ramp at the Marina was mercifully un-crowded, and the trip out was uneventful. The boat Kate ran well, and we were at our first dive spot – one of the MdR artificial reefs – in just six minutes from the tip of the breakwater.
Viz was a hazy 20 feet and the usual critters were to be seen. There was a very noticeable thermocline below which the viz was somewhat poorer than in the warmer water above it. I cut away some lines on an abandoned hoop net and found a 1st stage to 2nd stage low pressure hose that had been discarded on the site. Good to get wet – 69-feet 25 minutes.
On the captain’s dive just a short distance away, he found much poorer viz and claimed a Santa Rosana with an exceptional siphon as a high point for the dive.
Next jump was on the venerable “Star”. Though I have something over 200 dives on this site, I still find it fascinating and will jump it when ever I can. Saturday it was not as bad as it could be and with 5-10 feet of viz, perfectly adequate for poking and prying around. The down-line weight had landed nearly precisely mid-ships, adjacent to the engine-room access. I wasn’t setup for penetration and in the limited viz had no real desire to tour the area, but I did want to at least lean in and see if the Basses were at home. There are at least two black sea bass that call the wreck home, and I have seen as many as four on the site. More often than not, they’ll be found in or around the mid-ships / engine-room area as this is relatively intact structure-wise and allows them access to more secure area deeper in the wreck. Shining my light around, I discovered one of the locals at home, I believe taking a nap. This was the smaller of the two regulars – a fish of an estimated 200 to 250-pounds. When first illuminated, the napping black was, curiously, a flat white color with it’s large dark spots prominent. In a moment, it shuddered slightly, and it’s body turned a pale silvery color, and a moment later with a barely perceptible movement of its tail, it move deeper into the wreck and disappeared. The other resident BSB is considerably larger, and on several occasions I have seen just his/her tennis-ball sized eye gazing at me through a crack or hole in the Star’s rusty hide. – Very cool! 78-feet 27 minutes.
Captain Andy elected to jump a deeper reef up the coast that we had previously metered But not yet dived. He found better viz (15-20) in the warmer water higher on the reef, and invited a few rock scallops home for dinner.
For my last dive of the day, I elected to do a jump on the Long Wharf. Since it had been about four months since I had seen it last, and I had just given a presentation on the site at SCUBA 2006, I wanted to check it out and see if conditions had improved since the last visit. They hadn’t. The sedimentation was the greatest I‘ve ever seen. Areas where previously the piling stubs had emerged 12 – 14 inches proud of the bottom were either completely covered or precisely flush with the bottom. Visibility was an acceptable 6 or 7-feet and the water was a comfy 59 degrees. Finger-walking across the bottom, I was spooking out juvenile flatfish of all kinds and startling the occasional sand bass resting in the surge troughs. I hade learned what I needed to know, so wrapped up the dive early. 41-feet 21 minutes.
The captain completed his trifecta of dives on yet another deeper reef where he found best viz of the day (20-25-feet) and enough scallops to make a limit for the day.
An excellent day of local diving.
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