3 dives in Palos Verdes, report and photos

Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by scottfiji on November 19, 2006 at 17:07:09:

12 Intrepid souls boarded the sea bass for a day of diving off the coast of Palos Verdes. Most rolled in at about 6:15 to garner a spot and get tanks filled.

there was Penny and I, Team nudie (jen,kim,tom,mark), TechTeam (Nick, gina, peter), Chris G. of the Sea Divers, and Team Mantis (marianne and Dan)

A heavy fog mean that travel to PV was slowed considerably.

Time went faster for some than others on the way to the 1st dive site

I had recently purchased some GIS software and downloaded some bathymetric data, and I used it to choose 2 dives sites I've never been to, plus marineland and a quick look at the platform.

1st dive site, point vincente

very few people dive this dive site, especially during the day. Well I thought it was outstanding. Large towering pinnacles, vis up to 40ft in the shallower areas, and large numbers of fish put this near the top of my list of favorite dive sites.

The boat anchored at the GPS spot I gave, which was at 80ft where the reef met the sand. When Penny and I descended we were literally within 10ft of a clearly demarcated line between the reef and the sand, at 80ft. Nice!

Unfortunately, the auto/manual button on my strobe must have slipped, so my strobe wasn't going off this dive, oh well.

fish at the reef

Penny and I swam north and spent some time on top of a couple large pinnacles at 25ft, just enjoying the view, 40-50ft vis, and all the fish. we surfaced well north of the boat and had a 5 minute swim back.

This was a portion of a large school of black Croakers that we swam through a few times. This is a snapshot from a video clip.

A view of some fish, another still from a video clip

Dive #2, Buchanan's reef

After filling tanks, we made a small move over to buchanan's reef, between Point vincente and Marineland. buchanan's reef is quite long, and I thought I'd have the captain drop us off at the deep end of the reef, and that we'd swim NE and meet the boat in shallow water. I reviewed the dive map with everyone that I printed out, then we all jumped out in about 70ft of water.

And descended down into sand, and a moderate current. We swam 20 degrees east of north for several minutes, not exactly with the current either, but still no reef. I then realized that the reef at this depth is very narrow, and the boat must have drifted off it as we were jumping off the boat. I guessed the reef was west and luckily I was correct.

Octopus with a large cache of shells

Large sheephead

gopher rockfish

Halfmoon checking us out. Looks like his tail is damaged.


Fish in the kelp

Another view into the kelp

(more photos below, keep scrolling down)

Most of our time on this reef was spent between 30 and 60ft. The vis cleared up considerable in the shallows, and we were circled by a large school of barracuda for over 20 minutes, it was very nice.

I was really hoping the other divers found the reef. It turns out team Nudie found the reef fairly quicky, but TechTeam called the dive after swimming in the sand for a while. Team Mantis found the reef near the end of their dive, but found several Mantis Shrimp in the sand. Team Nudie again found several exciting nudies.

I felt pretty bad, since I had wanted everyone to have a good time on their dives, and in retrospect I felt like I should have had the boat anchor in the middle of the reef. I might have been overconfident due to the sucess of the 1st dive, because a lineup with the shore would have told us we drifted east a little. Lessons learned.

After all divers were on board, a fishing boat sped past right where the divers were surfacing. Ouch. some niceities were yelled.

Dive #3 - Marineland

After getting fills and having a delicious lunch, we made a very small move over to marineland. we had time for just 1 more dive, and the platform was ruled out. We parked on the edge of the reef off the point, and everyone jumped in. There was a ripping current going east, and the captain warned us not to surface east of the boat, or we'd be carried off to baha.

penny and I stayed in 50-60ft for a while, seeing what kinds of fish and nudies we could find. We found some nice stuff.

Lemon Nudibranch, Gills out

zooanthid anemone

san Diego Dorid

Rosy Rockfish

Vermillion rockfish

3 Lemon Nudies

2 treefish, one on the top, one on the bottom

Swell shark egg

Cadlina Luteomarginata

Acanthadoris Lutea

After a while we went up to 40ft, and swam east with the current for a little bit.

Lingcod, he was sitting on a shelf halfway up a pinnacle. He let me take a few shots before darting off.

Nervous about the current, we decided to finish the dive swimming west at 35-40ft so we would surface west of the boat. We passed some nice structure, the vis cleared up, and we saw lots of fish.

THe underwater arch at marineland

School of blacksmith

even though we surfaced a little far from the boat, the current brought us there in a couple of minutes. boy, it was strong! no way to swim against it..

well everyone found the reef, and we quickly motored home. A great day of diving, and a great job by the sea bass crew.

I wanted to take some top-side photos but my camera battery was dead, hopefully Jen and Chris will put theirs up.

Marianne's Photos

Jen's Photos

dive stats:
dive #1 - 53 min, 85ft max depth, 60 degrees
dive #2 - 52min, 72ft max depth, 60 degrees
dive #3 - 60min, 60ft max depth, 60 degrees

nudie stats:
team nudie - 12 species! way to go (plus one Monterey dorid from Marianne makes 13 species)

chris, we're looking forward to seeing your photos


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