Dive report; Yellow Banks, Santa Cruz Island

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on January 10, 2010 at 12:28:13:

All of the swell models predicted 10-17 feet swells at Ventura Harbor yesterday. When Captain John Bibb invited us to go along on a trip to Santa Cruz Island I thought we would pack up the boat, get to Malibu and turn around. There was high enough surf to make the throng of surfers happy, but beyond the surf zone was a calm enough sea to make the crossing at full speed with no bumps along the way.
We arrived at Yellow Banks on the southeast end of the island, still amazed at the lack of swell and wind. Our plan was to live-boat the site to avoid surface swims against the current to get back onboard.
Merry and I dived first while John worked the helm. The easterly surface current was pretty strong, so we dropped immediately and expected to ride the current to the wall. We reached the bottom to find calm water with only minor surge. We were surprised to find the during our short 39 minute bottom time the surface current was now westerly. John made his dive, then he and I each made a second dive at the same spot. A local lobster boat Captain was not thrilled to see a dive boat chasing after divers near his traps. He came by to let us know that. :)
One of the highlights for me was finding a large abalone. We don't find many in southern California any more. I gave him a kelp salad and told him to hide from poachers.
Merry loved the elkhorn kelp, especially the blacksmiths and blue rockfish drifting along with us. Just another great day to be on the ocean.

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