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Dive Report: San Miguel Island with the Sea Divers


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Posted by Chris on May 08, 2009 at 17:30:59:

Last Friday and Saturday the Sea Divers went to San Miguel Island aboard the Peace.

It was a bit bumpy when we left Ventura Harbor just after midnight early Friday morning so the boat headed across for the passage between Anacapa and Santa Cruz. Once we made it to the passage and up the back side of Santa Cruz the ride was smooth until area between Rosa and Cruz and had a very bumpy ride. It calmed down a bit on the back side of Rosa but was never smooth again.

At about 7AM Eric dropped anchor at our first dive site on the back side of San Miguel Island, Crook Point. He anchored on the edge of a shelf and wall with a top of about 45-50 feet, and bottom about 70 feet. I went in and swam out a across the sand at 70 feet and came to another drop off and reef that went down to 100 feet. The visibility was about 50 feet, and the water was a toasty 48°F. The most unusual creature I encountered that dive was a Gumboot Chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri).

Cryptochiton stelleri (Gumboot chiton)
Cryptochiton stelleri (Gumboot Chiton)

Our next dive was at Shark Park (a.k.a. Point Bennett). Here the water a a beautiful blue color with almost 80+ foot visibility and again a toasty 48°F water temperature. The most impressive part of the dive was the large school of Blue Rockfish ( Sebastes mystinus (Blue Rockfish)).

Cryptochiton Sebastes mystinus (Blue Rockfish)
Blue Rockfish ( Sebastes mystinus (Blue Rockfish))


The third dive of the day was at Wycoff Ledge. The dive started off with the blue water and 50+ foot visibility, but changed to green with only about 10 foot visibility at the end of the dive. Again the water was 48°F.
The most impressive part of this dive was the many jellies and salps.

Pelagia noctiluca with commensal crabs
Pelagia noctiluca with commensal crabs


Hormiphora cucumis
Hormiphora cucumis


Apolemia sp.
Apolemia sp.


Mitrocoma cellularia
Mitrocoma cellularia


Cyclosalpa bakeri
Cyclosalpa bakeri


Aurelia labiata (Moon Jelly)
Aurelia labiata (Moon Jelly)

For our fourth dive we moved East to a place called the bluffs. I concentrated on macro subjects and got mice pictures of several Calliostoma annulatum (purple-ring topsnail, blue-ring topsnail, jewelled topsnail). The water here was also 48°F.

Calliostoma annulatum (purple-ring topsnail, blue-ring topsnail, jewelled topsnail)
Calliostoma annulatum (purple-ring topsnail, blue-ring topsnail, jewelled topsnail)


Idotea wosnesenskii (Kelp Isopod, Vosnesensky's Isopod)
Idotea wosnesenskii (Kelp Isopod, Vosnesensky’s Isopod)


The fifth dive of the day was a place called The Canyons. I chose to hunt this dive and fund several large scallops. I also encountered a large Wolf Eel. The started to howl during the dive, it was very a lot of surge in the shallow areas, the visibility was only about 10-30 ft, and it was still 48°F. However because of the challenging conditions I thought is was one of the best dives of the day.


Our first dive of day two was at Boomerang Bank. The water was a bit green on the surface, but it opened up below 60 ft. Again it was 48°F. At his site I saw quite a few Flabellina trilineata nudibranchs.

Flabellina trilineata
Flabellina trilineata


Flabellina trilineata
Flabellina trilineata


Crassedoma giganteum (Rock Scallop) with Salmacina tribranchiata (Fragile Tube Worm) below
Crassedoma giganteum (Rock Scallop) with Salmacina tribranchiata (Fragile Tube Worm) below.


The second dive on day two was at Skyscraper. The water was green on the surface, but below 40 ft there was over 150 ft. visibility. On this dive I saw my first Raja stellulata (Starry Skate). Unfortunately I had a macro set-up, so I did not get a god picture. But I did get some good shots of the nudibranchs and coral.

Cadlina luteomarginata
Cadlina luteomarginata


Raja stellulata (Starry Skate)
Raja stellulata (Starry Skate)


Flabellina iodinea (Spanish Shawl)
Flabellina iodinea (Spanish Shawl)


Heptacarpus kincaidi (Kincaid's Shrimp) on Stylaster californicus (California Hydrocoral)
Heptacarpus kincaidi (Kincaid's Shrimp) on Stylaster californicus (California Hydrocoral)


Flabellina trilineata laying eggs
Flabellina trilineata laying eggs

After leaving Skyscraper we headed for Egg Rock. We saw the Vision at Prince Island. When we got to Egg Rock the current was screaming, so we moved on to Little Wilson. Here there was still current, and a bit to strong for some, but most made the dive. This time the water was 51°F.
During the dive a large (45”) Lingcod swam up to me, circled me, and then sat on a rock in front of me. I hade a macro lens so got a few pictures of the parasites on his face before he swam away.

Peltodoris nobilis
Peltodoris nobilis


Ophiodon elongatus (Lingcod)
Ophiodon elongatus (Lingcod)


This was yet another great Sea Divers trip aboard the Peace.

I am still working on the IDs, but you can see all of the pictures from the May 1-2, 2009 Sea Divers trip to San Miguel Island here.

©2009 Chris Grossman, diver.net


The Sea Divers would love to have you join our next adventure to Tanner Bank, Cortes Bank, and San Clemente Island aboard the Horizon on May 30-31, 2009. Sign up online here or email Skylor or call him at (714) 377-8044.



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