Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.
The day began at 9am when we left the dock for two holiday dives - the first at the wreck of the Olympic and the second at Old Marineland. On our harbor exit we went past the fireworks barges that would carry the display for the Queen Mary/Long Beach show,
We went under the Vincent Thomas Bridge,
and into a blanket of fog. The fog slowed our journey to the Olympic.
Everyone back on board, it was time for lunch and to move to our next dive site - Old Marineland.
This time it wasn't fog, it was the anchor that delayed our journey. It was trapped on the Olympic. Divemaster Steve, Capt. Tom, and Chef/Capt. Rod all had a lift bag dive to retrieve the tangled anchor.
With the crew and the anchor back on board we made our way to Old Marineland. Over the past year significant work has been completed on the new resort. The complex is much more enormous than I had envisioned. The adjacent underwater environment seems relatively untouched by the construction. Will it stay so pristine when all the people move in? I'm worried.
Will there be overfishing and marine life pilfering? Will the divers who come appreciate the wonderful ecosystem that exists here enough to respect it and contribute to protecting it? Will the nudibranchs survive as nubies play with them and fling them into the air for photographs? I'm really worried. This resort is so huge, I find it hard to imagine that high human traffic, inhabitancy, and usage won't degrade this wonderful marine life location..
As usual,. the water at Old Marineland was colder than our previous dive and the visibility not as good. However, the creatures and critters that live in this area make it one of the most spectacular areas to dive in Southern California. I practiced with my little housed Canon SD870 IS point and shoot - I'm still leaning its strengths and weaknesses, but, I've decided that it is a terrific digital entry level camera. All of these photos were taken with only the internal flash.
The dive at Old Marineland was uneventful except for a large lingcod that boldly approached myself and several other divers. He was aggressive actually. Perhaps he had a nest near by.
Our two dives over, we headed back to Queens Wharf.
Captain Gregg of the Bottomscratcher gave us a big "welcome back".
Divers not staying for the Fireworks/Dinner cruise disembarked and new passengers arrived. Captain Tim fired up the grill and preparations for the 4th of July feast began. Oh Goody - my second favorite part of the day. The food and the fireworks.
Family members of the crew got involved in the preparations too.
At 7pm we moved around to to pick out our parking spot for the Long Beach/Queen Mary fireworks display. What we saw as we waited was unbelievable. Speed boats came whipping through the harbor between the anchored boats - at top speed. It was dangerous and reckless. Calls from parked boaters began coming in over channel 16 requesting that the Coast Guard take action to stop the speeding boats. I didn't see enforcement occur. Finally, a call came over channel 16 that one of the speed boats had hit an anchored vessel. Those who were hit sounded dazed and confused. Evidently the nitwits in the speedboat left the scene after the collision. The picture below is not one of the big offending speed boats, but even he didn't have sense enough to slow down in the crowded harbor.
After the reported collision, things quieted down a bit and the terrific fireworks show began. My favorite was one that exploded into a happy face - I wasn't fast enough to get a picture.
When the display was over, we headed back to Queens Wharf and home. It had been another fantastic 4th of July on the Great Escape.