Wreck 'n' roll

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Frank O on July 14, 2007 at 15:03:57:

After diving off a small boat around Palos Verdes/Redondo for the past year I'd been to most of the major dive sites and wrecks, but there were a couple of less glamorous spots that I'd had a hard time talking buddies into visiting. Today we decided to do short recon dives on a couple of these sites in order to get these boxes checked.

We first headed out about a mile west of King Harbor in Redondo, where there is a barge that was intentionally sunk in about 80-85 feet of water as part of the Redondo Artificial Reef. Though the Weather Service had predicted 2-foot swell, there were medium-short-period rollers more in the 5+ range cascading in from the west. After anchoring we splashed into warm green water, with a sharp thermocline at 17 feet (which we were to reencounter throughout the day). Below it was colder, but the vis also opened up to a fuzzy 20 feet or more (see photo above). My Uwatec Aladin Tec claimed that the bottom temperature was 47.9 F (unlikely), whereas my Suunto Mosquito voted for 52 F (more plausible). The main marine life of note (in our non-macro assay) was a huge school of blacksmith. Our max depth here was 83 feet.

Next we headed south to Torrance Bay and located the LCM3 landing craft ( http://www.cawreckdivers.org/Wrecks/LCM3.htm ), sitting in about 55-60 feet of water. This turned out to be smaller and more beaten down than we'd imagined from seeing others' pictures -- not too much bigger, in fact, than the nearby sunken crane which we'd visited for the first time the previous month (see http://diver.net/bbs/posts002/71163.shtml ). As with the first dive, there was a sharp thermocline at 17 feet; my Uwatec stubbornly claimed a bottom temp of 45.7 F, but my Mosquito, more the realist, put it at 54 F. Here we found sand bass lurking inside what was left of the structure, a small ling and a lone garibaldi looking to set up a nest. Max depth was 57 feet.

Having checked the requisite boxes, we figured we'd head a bit farther south and anchor on the edge of the kelp at Haggerty's for a relaxing, shallow reef dive. We were encouraged when we saw an inflatable boat of freedivers pull up not far away while we were gearing up. Unfortunately, the visibility gods weren't interested in smiling on this site -- vis was probably in the realm of 6 feet throughout and at all depths we hit down to 41 feet. So this ended up as a short dive too. In all, what we visited today weren't the largest or most compelling wrecks around the area, but there was enough there that I'll be back.

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