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Posted by Eric S on December 07, 2008 at 08:55:19:

In Reply to: Re: Fort Ross dive Report (reports & Pics- link) posted by Max Bottomtime on December 07, 2008 at 06:56:08:

I didn't realize you were originally from up here. Most people start down there and gravitate up here when they can't take the people, cars, and smog any more, not the other way around. Don't get me wrong, I love to visit, but I don't know how you guys do it day in and day out.

About the diving at Fort Ross:

I never gave this place a chance before. I always figured it was just a murky pit and the vis was always crappy. I'd been out to the wreck a few times, once on a kayak and once a surface swim both times scuba and the vis was braile. One time I went out freediving and just happened to run accross the wreck. I actually forgot where it was and was not trying to find it. The vis that day was 50+ feet and I could lay on the surface and see the whole wreck from end to end just about. I could see the drive shaft, the boilers, ribs, what was left of the plating, It's very encrusted and colorful. I could even see the pinnacle it ran into that was responsible for it's final demize. The sun light was trickling through and making everything sparkle underwater. It looked like an aquarium that day, very rare and almost tropical like conditions, except for the 46 degree water.

On yesterday's dive the conditions were nowhere close as far as vis on that freediving trip. It was in the 4 to 10 foot range depending on where you where in the cove. One guy reported 20 on the wreck, but I never made it out there. On our first dive we went out to the south side (the pic of the beach with the headland on the left). I had a speargun with me but didn't get anything. We saw a number of very large lingcod but they are closed right now. I ran across a very large Puget Sound King Crab, those are cool, I think Chris has a picture of one. I also found one of those spring loaded lobster bags half buried in the sand. I pulled it out and found three dead and rotten abalone in it. It must have dropped from someones float as they were coming back in during ab season.
I also scored a Cressi freediving mask and snorkel also in the sand.
South Fort Ross Cove has lot's of good structure as you get into the kelp line and into the rocks. Some of those rocks are pretty big forming pretty sizable pinnacles. Lot's of nudibranchs but only about 3 or 4 varieties that I saw. A keen eye I'm sure could pick out more. THe rocks that begin on each side of the sandy area in the center of the cove are loaded with very large abs. The rocks jut up out fo the sand from three to ten feet and all the abs arte lined up right down on the bases of them. On one rock there had to be 70 to 80 abs lined up all around the base and up from the sand about 2 to 3 feet. It was bizaar. Some of them were lunkers. These rocks were in 20 to 25 feet of water out in the center of the cove and to each side. It would be a challenge to find them freeding becase there are no indicators where they are. If you wanted to ab dive it you'd have to be a good freediver because you'd need good bottom time and you'd have to cover a lot of ground to find these. That's probably why
they were still loaded with big abs. One of these days I'm going to come up with an adjustable ab caliper and go around a see just how big some of these are instead of trying to measure them with my finger span. I swear yesterday I saw one better than 10".

I did manage to collect 3 nice fat urchins to see what the quality is like. When I busted them open they were so filled with bright yellow roe that I filled an entire soup bowl with the three. The roe was sweet and plump and not a hint of bitterness. Looks like the quality is back up from this summer's record kelp growth.

Hey Phil, you and Merry should come up for the North Coast Party in late July/ early August.

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