4-2-17 Dive Report By Tom Penn

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Posted by J. Reeb on April 03, 2017 at 19:25:44:

"Went diving today with J Reeb and Moe of Dark 30 divers on the Giant Stride with Captain Jim. We had a great day with a variety of surprises. Conditions were perfect as we headed out of Long Beach harbor toward the wreck of the Olympic. Visibility was sketchy as we descended to the wreck, but it opened up as we got to the sand and followed the anchor chain to the bow. There were large groups of fish that we passed through on the way down. The anchor was parked safely in the sand on the other side of the wreck. We slowly moved from the bow to near stern and back. The anchor of another dive boat lay at the stern end. The wreck has many interesting features, the bow section is large and colorful, and there are many identifiable parts all along the length of the ship. Visibility was up to 30 feet, we could easily see the distance of the beam of the ship, which made exploring fun and safe. Near the stern there are four large vertical beams, looking like brontosaurus ribs reaching toward the surface. It was cold for all of us, but we all enjoyed the dive so much we stayed to the deco limits of our nitrox. On our ascent we saw a huge group of ~6 inch fish, so dense it almost looked like a bait ball.

Topside was sunny, warm and calm. The anchor did not cooperate, however, and it snagged on the wreck. Just as we were about to commit to dive #2 on the same site, the other dive boat cruised by and offered to dive for the anchor. Who was that masked man? I wanted to thank him (we did).

Once freed we got clearance and headed to the shipping lane to dive the African Queen, a smaller wreck which is harder get access to because of the location, and known as a lair for wolf eels. We dropped down the anchor line, anticipating decent vis, and we were met with “arms-length” visibility, depending on the length of your arms. It was jarring to get on the wreck and not be able to orient at all. After a few minutes getting used to the situation, we adopted the old saying “when life gives you bad vis, look at stuff that’s close to you”. Soon after hitting the wreck I found a round pipe-like opening, and sure enough there was a small wolf eel inside (a first for me). The wreck is covered with invertebrate life, including large metridium and huge strawberry anenomes. I also say several nudis, including a very large Spanish shawl and a small one near a Hermissenda crassicornis. We picked our way slowly fore and aft maybe 10 yards each, then headed back up the line. It seemed like a short dive but we were near our limits. On the way up we saw….nothing. Despite the terrible vis we all enjoyed the dive. Jim did a great job with the boat and food and support.

A great day with a great group of divers!

Tom Penn"

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