Sea Divers trip to santa Cruz - report/photos

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

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Posted by scottfiji on December 03, 2007 at 12:24:57:

The sea divers 2-day to san miguel turned into a 2-day to santa cruz. I uploaded a couple unedited photos as a sample, and wrote up a quick report. more photos later...

enjoy! scott

two divers, torpedo ray at night

playing in the eelgrass

hilton looking for food

dendronotus albus

moon jelly in the kelp

Stay away from my lobster!


I went out with 24 other divers to Santa Cruz this weekend on the peace, and had a good time.

Walt, Linda, Debbie K, Kalani, Roger C., and Robert (orangelion) joined me for the festivities and photography. About 60% of the boat were hunters. Original destination was san Miguel, but conditions were bad there. Crossing the channel Friday night was very rough, I fed the fishes at one point, as did others.

As we arrived at the 1st dive site, the main hose that comes from both compressors burst. We thought we might have to go back, but captain Kevin got one compressor working fairly quickly, and we did the entire trip no problem on one compressor.

Kevin and Steve were captains on the boat, and Peter and Josh were deckhands. Food was great, including a fantastic dinner, and service (fills, help gearing up, briefings, help on board, camera help) was excellent, practically flawless.

Given the high winds, Kevin did a great job finding us calm sites. Pretty good vis most places, no currents, no big swells at any of the sites. 53 degrees (brrr) everywhere. Most people dove nitrox (34%), to take advantage of longer bottom times at some deeper depths.

Dives, day #1: (santa cruz)

#1 - Bowen point – excellent site, 4 torpedo rays, including 2 hunting in the kelp forest, one was swimming above me, one below me. Very nice! nice kelp, structure, lots of rockfish, 69ft max depth

#2 - Blue banks – barren site, (might have been better deeper, I didn’t go there), except for the eelgrass, which was teeming with schools of fish, a harbor seal, cormorant chasing after the school of fish.. 37ft max depth

#3 - Pink ribbon – barren site, some kelp but not much life, found one huge black sea hare, Aplysia vaccaria, 3ft long, a giant. 48ft max depth.

#4 - Near yellowbanks – I skipped this dive, I heard I didn’t miss much

#5 - Night dive – near yellowbanks – nice night dive - a torpedo ray, lingcod, lots of rockfish out, a squid, horn shark, a few lobsters. Watching kalani and Robert trying to catch lobsters was funny. 46ft.

Dives, day #2 (santa cruz)

#6 - West cove – wow, macro & nudie heaven. Macro doesn’t get much better than this. Subjects everywhere. Nudies, sculpins, small kelpfish, baby rockfish, shrimp, baby cabezon. Saw a group of 4 harbor seals. 73ft. D. albus, Hiltons

#7 - West end pinnacles – more macro heaven. Nudies galore. 76ft. Hiltons. Mega-tritonia.

#8 - West of painted cave annex – great macro/nudies. A group of 40 sea lions swimming around in a big bunch, wow. Nice site. 88ft. Hiltons, polycera tricolor. Mega-tritonias.

#9 - Arch rock – moon jellies, nice structure, tall kelp, 5 harbor seals that kelp swimming past me quickly throughout the entire dive. 41ft

Nudibranch/opisthobranch species count for the trip: 18 species!
Torpedo ray count: 5
Harbor seal count: 9?
Sea lion count: 40?

From arch rock it was 3 hours to get home, we had delicious brownies and ice cream. (I have been on boats with bad brownies & ice cream, believe it or not). We got back to the dock at 7PM.

Some quotes and memories from the trip:

Eric, Brian - great meeting you guys, hope to see you next time you're down in this area.

“Pulling a Linda” means shooting a large animal with the 105mm lens.. I did it a couple times with a harbor seal!

“Put on the best lens to capture Mexican grunts” – this always made Debbie laugh. I made a few gentle jokes about some fish that Chris has id’ed as Mexican grunts last week, but most likely are a local fish.

“Your not going to sit the dive out, ARE YOU”? – or something like that – Brian changing my mind about sitting out the last dive of the trip.. he changed my mind at the last second, I switched lenses, and I’m glad I went in!

“Dude – no one’s going to buddy up with you any more!” – me joking around with a DIR-trained diver who enjoyed a short solo dive after his buddy surfaced.

Walt captured some fantastic Tritonia video footage – looking forward to seeing more of it.

“Aaaargh” – the underwater sound I made when I was about to take a nice photo of a large lobster crawling up kelp, when Robert’s hand lunged in front of my lens to grab the lobster. I wouldn’t have minded if he has actually caught the lobster, but it got away.

“I’m gonna do a lot of killing” – quote from a smiling hunter wearing a “Dr. Death” T-shirt.

“Sh*t” – the words I mumbled underwater when I realized I had my lens cap on. I resurfaced, opened the housing, removed the lens cap, and had one of the best photo dive. (west cove). Actually, another un-named diver also left his lens cap on, but simply handed his camera up and continued the dive. He later regretted his decision!

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