Wishing upon a Star

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

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Posted by Frank O on September 09, 2007 at 16:31:25:

With Andy S.'s admonition yesterday to "Go north, young man," we figured that this would be a good day to do some recon a little farther afield than my usual Palos Verdes/Torrance Bay stomping grounds. So this morning we headed out from King Harbor for the 14-mile run up to the Star of Scotland wreck, which lies in 75 feet of water a mile and a half off Santa Monica. This would be my first visit to this wreck. Weather was sunny, and just as stated in the report from yesterday, the swell seemed to flatten the farther north we traveled.

When we arrived, a boat was on the spot where we had intended to drop -- it looked as though they were drifting back and forth across the wreck as they fished. With a little boat-to-boat consultation, they agreed we wouldn't be too much in their way if we dropped anchor. Soon we were descending. The water looked brownish with a lot of particulate, but it cleared as we approached the wreck. Overall we put the vis at up to 20 feet, but fuzzy. There was a significant current running right down at the wreck, though interestingly, it disappeared completely when we ascended and were doing our stops. We were paid a visit by what we're told is the resident giant sea bass. As for temperatures, my Uwatec put it at 52 F at depth and 70 F at the surface. My backup Suunto Mosquito, though, claimed 57 F at depth and 66 F at the surface. I'm more inclined to go with the Mosquito.

When we surfaced, the fishing boat was in the process of leaving. But a fairly large black inflatable with a boatload of divers, meanwhile, had pulled up. Is there a shop or club that runs a boat of this type? It looked like more of an operation than someone's personal boat.

We then cranked the Whaler up to 30 knots for a run down to Torrance Bay. Along the way, Jon noticed a boil at the surface off LAX, and said he saw what looked like yellowtail chasing baitfish when we diverted to check it out. Further on, we ran across the Great Escape and a private boat both at the Palawan. I later learned that the G.E. had an open boat "Wreck Dive Special" today. As we passed it looked at though they were just departing, heading off in the direction of what we suspected might be the Avalon.

Picking a spot off Haggerty's in about 50 feet of water, we jumped in for another dive. Here the vis was worse than at the Star of Scotland -- maybe around 12 feet. My Uwatec claimed 49 F at depth (say what?) and 57 F at the surface, whereas the Mosquito stuck with the same temps it showed on the first dive -- 57 F at depth and 66 F at the surface. I suspect the truth was somewhere in between -- the second dive felt like it might be around 54 or 55 F at depth.

With that, we pulled anchor and headed back to port. In all, nice diving and an enjoyable departure from the norm.

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