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Posted by tster on September 10, 2007 at 18:36:14:

In Reply to: Re: Midweek on the Spectre posted by Patrick on June 14, 2007 at 15:04:24:


Mike B. and I set sail saturday on the spectre, there were 35 divers on board. Still, it didn't seem as crowded as I had expected. Maybe because its quite a large boat.

We started off with a nice breakfast - egg, cheese and bacon sandwich, and some coffee. The ride over was fairly smooth.

We thought we were heading to anacapa, but we were in for a treat, potato rock at santa cruz island. hurray! Mike told me about all the nudies we would find there.. too bad I didn't bring a macro lens...Mike changed from WA to macro on his camera.

well, we got to potato rock, and the water was green. We then

circled the entire island, still green green green. we went

back to anacapa, looked around, and finally stopped at

fishbowl point. the water wasn't clear, but it was diveable. I

was getting hot in my drysuit! Mike changed lenses again, back

to wide angle.

dive #1 - fishbowl point, north side of anacapa

mike and I started off heading deep, it wasn't hard to get to 70ft. lots of pretty red and purple gorgonians, lot of brittle stars. we saw a bat ray go by at one point. vis wasn't great, maybe 20ft, lots of particles in the water, but it was still a good dive.

red gorgonian

3 types of gorgonians

tube anemones, brittle stars

After a while, I decided to head to shallow water to see what was in the kelp. I found a baby kelpfish, but the photo came out blurry.

schooling opaleye

I explored around, and in 15ft of water found a nice underwater swimthrough that let to a blue-water cavern-like area against the shoreline - very cool! looking at my watch, I had to get back to the boat, since we were doing 4 dives I didn't want to exceed a 60 minute dive time.

underwater island:

We went around to the south side of anacapa, and stopped at underwater island, a nice site. since we were doing 60 minute dives, Mike and I made sure we were 1st off the boat again. Ted had anchored right on the reef, and we started going around the reef counter-clockwise.


Blue rockfish. I saw this single rockfish immediately after dropping onto the reef.

After we made it half-way around the reef, I started seeing several large mammals... other divers! oh no. underwater island isn't that big, and we were about to run into the other 33 divers. I suggested we make the swim over to channels, the dive site along the shore. the swim was difficult due to a long surge and the drag from my drysuit, but we made it. Before leaving the dive site we saw the meloche memorial plaque.

Channels dive site:

black perch

The shallow areas of channels at 14ft depth were very surgy, with a long strong surge from the long-period south swell, and vis was reduced. still, the site was beautiful, named for the long sand channels that lie between the kelp. schools of sargo, black perch, white perch, and other small perch made this a fun area. soon a harbor seal found me, and kept coming by.

harbor seal

black perch and sargo

I went shallower than Mike had, he didn't get to see the seal. We swam back to the boat separately. when I got on board, mike said "did you see it, did you get the shot?". I said yep, I thought he meant the seal. no, he meant the black sea bass, he saw one at 41ft depth while swimming back to the boat. he reminded me the score - mike 1, scotty 0.

coral reef dive site:

we ate a delicious lunch, and then motored a short distance to coral reef. finally, I was able to get a 60 minute surface interval! we decided to swim east along the north side of the reef to the end, and then turn around and follow the south side back to the boat, against the current.

mike bartick and blacksmith

mike is attached by a huge comb jelly! it took both of us to fend off the beast.. it was ferocious!

olive rockfish

After we turned around and started coming back to the boat, I felt the drag of the current, and the cold water against my head. I really wanted to get back to the boat, Mikey was taking his time. So, being a good buddy, I just took off, kicking against the current, moving up to shallower water on top of the reef.

I had learned my lesson at san clemente. A soupfin shark had swam right by me, and my camera was not on "shark settings". so today I always had my camera on "sea bass" settings when I was swimming in-between photo subjects.

vis was pretty good, and while I was looking out, I saw a large black sea bass swim towards me. he came by fairly close quickly, and then went away, sensing I didn't have any fish. luckily I got a couple of shots off.

black sea bass

I was pretty excited. The score was evened! there were some pretty gorgonians and brittle stars on the reef, I started taking photos of them. 5 minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, what did I see? the sea bass again! it took a second to move away from the sea fan and look up.. hmmm, he was gone. well, if he made a 2nd pass, maybe he'll come by a third time. I hovered for 5 minutes, and sure enough, he made another quick pass.

black sea bass, 3rd pass

That was nice, I saw the sea bass 3 times. I swam towards the top of the reef where tall kelp was growing, passing under the boat.

top of coral reef

Again, I surfaced after 60 minutes, Mike was surfacing at the same time. I jubilantly reported my findings to him! the sad part about this dive was seeing a 6-8 inch treefish on the end of someone's spear gun. Mike tried to explain in a nice way to the small group of spearhunters on the boat they should try to be more selective, but they weren't too receptive to it.

cathedral cove:

The last dive was at cathedral cove. What a perfect ending to the day, sea lions!

I quickly made my way into shallow water, trying to find the sea-lion play area.

kelp bass in the eel grass

This scene was unbelieveable. I swam into 12 feet of water, into a large bed of eel grass. and what did I see, a large number of kelp bass, laying in the eel grass. they looked like they were sleeping, I had never seen that before. all of them were lying down. as I approached closer, they slowly rose up above the eel grass.

jelly for dinner

kelp bass, kelp rockfish, black perch, and 2 sea lions

lions through the kelp

Ok, now that I had seen some sea lions through the kelp, I swam out into the open sand, where they usually play. I spent the remaining 30 minutes just hanging out here, letting them swim by me, and approaching them when the young ones sat in the sand.

blowing bubbles

showing teeth

thinking "aren't I beautiful?"

"so you think you can dance"

"aren't I cute?"

up for air

Mike was taking nice photos of a large male sheephead while I was with the sea lions. After we boarded the boat, I enjoyed a quick dip in the hot tub, and a nice ride home.

dive stats:

fishbowl point: 69ft, 61min, 62 deg
underwater island/channels: 64ft, 59min, 61 deg
coral reef: 59ft, 62 min, 60 deg (felt colder)
cathedral cove: 39ft, 57min, 63 deg

It was a great day of diving. the spectre was great - ted was awesome looking for spots with clear water, food was great, fills were really fast, and the DM helpful.




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