Dive report Avalon wreck and Redondo barge 6-22-08

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Posted by Frank O on June 22, 2008 at 15:42:11:

Due to a one-two punch of work commitments and, after that, an out-of-sorts outboard engine, my boat has been sitting in the slip for eight weeks. With the outboard seemingly put in order, Jon and I arranged to take it out this morning for a sea trial.

It was already definitely warm at 7 a.m. as we loaded up at King Harbor and got underway. The water was near-flat with virtually no wind and minimal swell. As we arrived at the Avalon wreck we heard radio traffic from boats returning from Catalina in the fog. Sure enough, when we looked south we could see the island enshrouded in mist, though it was bright where we were.

As we descended to the Avalon's stern the green water at the surface turned yellow, with lots of schmutz. Happily, though, right as we hit the bottom we seemed to get under it. Vis on the wreck was maybe 15-20, with bottom temperature ~54 F. (This was to be my first wetsuit dive of the season after spending winter and spring in my drysuit.) In all we did the length of the ship and back. We saw something like 6 or 8 lingcods, the usual schools of rubber-lipped perch, and a bellicose sheepcrab (waving its arms at us as we hovered a few feet overhead, as if to say, "You want a piece of me?"). In some places we ran across patches with inverts the length of a pencil eraser squirming around in the water.

Heading north, we crossed paths with dolphins en route to the Hermosa Artificial Reef. We metered around for a bit, but before long noticed a lot of bees landing on the boat. Last time we were here it was a swarm of ladybugs. There's a prevailing wind that blows them 3/4 mile offshore? We decided to divert to the Redondo barge. Here the vis was not so good, maybe 10-12, with bottom temp a degree or two colder than at the Avalon. Apart from some foraging senoritas, it struck me as pretty devoid of life today.

Back on the surface, a significant wind had come up, bringing with it lots of chop. As we unloaded at the dock, wisps of what looked like remnants of fog were wafting in. I'm happy to report that the boat performed like a champ throughout the day. A nice morning out!

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