Albion report

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Posted by Eric S on August 03, 2009 at 09:07:07:

Great great time with a great group of people.
Got there thursday and set up camp which is a chore considering how much stuff needs to be unloaded and set up. We don't mess around. We had a commercial size barbecue, two 3 burner campchef stoves. another 2 burner campchef for a total of 8 burners. Everyone brought enough food to feed an army. You could say that it was a regular food orgy every day in that camp. We cooked up all kinds of fish, tri tips, steaks, grilled veggies, scallops, lobsters, chicken, breakfast stuff. It never ended. If someone went hungry it was their fault.
Great local beers and wines.
The diving was spectacular. Friday I took Jon, Ross, and Tao out to Colby reef which is about a mile offshore and about 2 miles up from Albion. Everything is in very close proximity to Albion Bay.
The vis was superb at over 40 feet. Colby reef is a series of very dramatic pinnacles with many verticle drops from 35 feet plunging straight down to 130 feet. We decsended down to the base to find it somewhat barren, but then we began working our way up a verticle wall with lots of undercuts and found forests of metridiums, all knids of other fiter life, scallops, nudis, and all the rest of the life. Towards the end of the dive I found one of the swim throughs I remembered and led people through. When we were through Jon pointed out a huge lingcod which I took. We needed fresh fish for the dinner I had planned.
There were actually three boats out there. I had Jim and another guy (Mike) follow me out to Colby and we rafted up. So total there was 8 of us diving on the reef. Some said they saw a giant pacific octopus, and Brian, another friend of mine that was on Jims boat scored the biggest scallop I've ever seen come off the north coast. I'm sure pics will surface somewhere soon.

Saturday I took a boatload of freedivers 7 miles south to an area called Elk. The water was magical. We freedove around for at least 2 hours. Dylan, Jon's son who is 12 years old, worked his way up to diving in the 15 to 20 foot range and managed to pull a limit of nice abs. Congrats!!!
Everybody was pulling nice abs in the 9" range
Jim took his boat with a load of divers and we rafted up in a nice secluded cove that was out of the range of shore divers.
The ride uphill back to Albion was a hair bumpy, but the fog rolled in again and killed the bigger wind chop.

That same day after a break back at camp, I took Ross, Peter and Tao back out for a scuba dive. I wasn't planning to dive , but I took a steel 72 on my rig out just in case, and boy am I glad I did.
I took them to Bull Rock, which is another offshore ridgeline that's about a mile offshore but south out of Albion only a mile or so.
I got everyone in the water and was kicking back when I decided to look over the boat just to see what the vis might be. I water was blueing out and I could see bubble streams coming up from very deep. I decided to throw on my freediving gear since I still had my freediving suit on. I put the long fins on, jumped in , breathed up and took a cruise. The vis, I kid you not, was easily 60 to 70 foot. It had improved another 20 to 30 feet since the day before. I saw Tao below me pretty deep, so I decided to breath up and and go down and pay him a visit. It was a little deeper than I though. I could see him clear as day but I had a long ways to go to get down to him, something I'm not used to. It took me a few tries and some relaxing but I finally got down to him and shook his fin. He spun around to see who it was and I waved to him then headed to the surface to breath. I jumped back on the boat and threw my rig on and got right back in. I just scuba dove in my freediving gear with long fins. The vis was absolutely amazing. I only went to about 65 feet becase the suit was compressing and I was getting cold. I also don't want to ruin my nice freediving suit. The water was 49 degrees.
When we all got back on the boat Ross said that vis below 80 -90 feet went up to about 80 feet at least!
I have never seen vis like this in my life up here. Hopefully this is a progressing trend and not just freak conditions.

I didn't dive Sunday, I was wiped. By the time the camp was torn down it was time to split.
After I got home I managed to get my truck unloaded, all the dive gear cleaned, the food put away, the game cleaned, and the boat put away. I drank a beer then crashed and slept 9 hours.

I sure would like to see more people from other areas try and make this annual event



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