|Dive Report - Before the Storm - 03/24/12|
Posted by Patrick on March 27, 2012 at 16:31:44:|
It was a dark and stormy night…
Our plan was to meet the Moby Kate at the Cabrillo launch ramp at 07:30. The boat crew call came at 07:00: We hit something on the freeway. Bent a rim and have a flat on the boat trailer.
Momma Crab with an apron full of eggs
In some places along the pipe hubs there would be up to a dozen crustacean lovers doing the deed for the future crab population.
Looking for Mr. or Miss RightCrab
Not just Cancer crabs had the urge
Another Momma with an apron full of eggs
Apparently there was something in the water, because there were numerous Daddy cabazon, nest-sitting on and along the pipe as well. Amongst the crabs, cabazon, shrimp, octopus and the kelp, Corynactis and other inverts on the structure, there were subjects enough to keep the photogs busy for much longer that the two dives we did there.
Piasters group grope on the pipe
With conditions so good on the typically murky Hyperion Pipe, it was decided to run north and do a final dive of the day on my favorite Santa Monica Bay wreck, the Star of Scotland.
Star of Scotland off Santa Monica - 1941
We grappled up on the Star and prepared to dive. Bill whose batteries had died for his UW electric heater vest declined to make the jump, and it was his loss. The Star lived up to her name! Again we found 49° water (Ice cream headache!) but with visibility in the 40-50 foot range with the long stringy sea snot globs marring the otherwise beautiful visibility. Not the best I’ve ever seen it, but the best I’ve seen it in a long time.
From where our grapple hooked, port side, midships, we swam forward happily killing pixels and taking in the magnificent expanse of this amazing artificial reef.
With the exceptional vis, it was easy to see recent, large areas of collapse. The section above the engine has fallen free and lays on top of the triple-expansion steam engine cylinders. Large roving packs of huge barred sand bass roamed the edges and across the wreck, some of them big enough to be mistaken for small Black Sea Bass.
Sand Bass taking a rest on the Star
The water clarity provided the ambient light that caused the Corynactis-carpeted wreck to just glow with their vibrant colors.
Toward the bow, there was more damage – probably caused by poor anchoring – that dragged a large section of steel plate clear up on to the aft section of the bow. I hate to see this kind of damage, obviously caused by inept or unthinking skippers. The wreck is showing her years and certainly doesn’t need any additional damage from these yahoo captains.
Steel plate ripped up and dragged to the aft end of the forecastle
After shooting the bow, we continued on a grand tour of the Star, moving aft down the starboard side. Just forward of midships we found a base-line laid with a tag showing the owner as something called Los Angeles Underwater Explorers. Anybody know who these folks are and what the line is for?
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