|Diving with Ross O. - The Anchor Farm, the Octopus Ranch, and the Johanna Smith|
Posted by Elaine on November 12, 2006 at 13:03:23:|
Diving with Ross O.
November 5, 2006
The Anchor Farm, The Octopus Ranch,
and the Wreck of the Johanna Smith
Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission. Photo of me by Steve Lawson.
The Santa Anna winds where I live created beautiful conditions at the beach and in the ocean. Very calm seas. It was a fantastic day to be out. Los Angeles in November, sometimes it doesn't get any better than this. The diving water is starting to cool down just a bit, but topside there is easy warmth and comfort from the sun.
Ross O., Phil (Max Bottomtime) Garner, Beth O. Steve Lawson, and myself took off for another day of adventure on the Orion. I've come to regard the Orion as one of the coolest dive boats out there. There is enough space for a small group. It is informally comfortable - you can relax and not have to worry about destroying a museum perfect boat. The Orion is older and sometimes needy, but, every time Ross works on it he just keeps making it better and better. Ross definitely deserves 5 stars and 2 thumbs up for what he has done with the Orion.
Our first stop was at the gas station. Until there are hybrids or alternative fuel boats - the high gas bill is a fact of life.
Next we headed out to our to get into the water. Ross had a list of sites that he wanted to check out. Maybe they were rock piles, maybe they were wrecks, we didn't know what we would find until we were on the site.
A run over the first possible "target" was encouraging. The bottom scanner definitely indicated that something of interest might be down there. Ross anchored the boat. Phil and Steve were the first pair in the water. If it was worth diving Phil would send up a cup. If it was macro (low vis) the cup would be torn. An intact cup meant wide angle. A short time after Phil and Steve entered the water an intact cup hit the surface. Ross and I went in. What was down there? A huge anchor. Perhaps off of a cargo or cruise ship.
The conditions were so good with awesome visibility, at least at the surface, (Only 15 to 20 feet at the bottom) it was hard for me to skip the next mystery dive site but Ross and I sat it out. What was it? Another anchor. This area was an anchor farm.
The next mystery site still remains a mystery as to what it was. Instead of an anchor there were large chunks ocean junk. Among the assorted stuff were at least three octopi so I guess we were at an octopus ranch. These are photos of the octopi.
This is what the area looked like.
We wanted to make our last stop at a known wreck. We tried to dive the Gambler - but a tanker similar to this one was on it.
We went to the Johanna Smith instead. Wide angle would have been a good choice but I went for macro instead. The nudibranch population on the Johanna Smith isn't as large or as diverse as on some of the surrounding wrecks like the Loop, but and metridiums are numerous. I'm not entirely positive which type of nudibranch the last one is.
My day ended with the "post dive briefing" at Spiros. Patrick Smith turned me on to this inexpensive eatery on Pacific Blvd and now Ross and Beth like it too. I order my food "mild" because their normal and spicy are like fire.
Until next time.......
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