Dive Report: Reef, Wreck, and Rig off the Giant Stride, Saturday, December 29th, 2018

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Posted by Jeff J Reeb on January 02, 2019 at 01:27:19:


With the end of the year approaching I wanted to squeeze in one more 2018 dive off the Giant Stride. So six divers, two crew and Capt. Jim met at the dock in Ports O Call this past Saturday, to head out on San Pedro Bay. Upon our arrival Jim explained that he had already talked with one of the oil rigs and they were reporting whitecap surface conditions. Based on the weather pattern the day before, we predicted that the winds might abate a bit after sunrise so we decided to make the first dive off PV. The near shore reefs would be sheltered from the strong winds and after the dive we could recheck conditions with the rigs.

Dive One was at Whites Point in 50' of water over scattered, low reef structure. There were lobster traps aplenty nearby so the bug outlook was dim. Conditions were fair, viz 10-12' with a South current. Going down the anchor line I decided to move all the way to the end of the anchor chain to the anchor itself, then take a due East course, with a due West return, hoping this would bring us back to the anchor chain as the current pushed us South to some degree. I forgot to measure the depth at the anchor, which would have been helpful. When we returned to where I expected to find the anchor chain and found none, we switched to plan B and shot a SMB. The current grabbed it right away and I thought "Uh Oh, we are gonna miss the boat", but as luck would have it we were dead on the boat and drifted right onto the anchor line to complete our safety stop.

By now the sun was up and the bay looked calm as could be. Jim thought the rigs were doable and after seeing his reports over the last few weeks of mind boggling viz we were all anxious to get out there. I was thinking to myself if the rigs have great viz, couldn't the Olympic wreck have great viz too? The group was up for the look so we dropped anchor on the Olympic for Dive Two. From the surface the water had a green tint, but I watched the anchor descend from the bow of the boat and I could see it drop at least 40' through the water column, a good sign. Often the water above the Olympic is not as clear as the water on the Olympic, so if viz above is 40', it will likely be even better down on the wreck.

I was somewhat in the middle of the pack when I landed on the wreck and was just amazed by the sight of an entire school of dark blue colored perch intertwined in the wreck structure of the bow. The bow ribs and joints were covered with anemones that splashed with color when struck by my dive light. It was just fish city everywhere, I have never seen them clustered so tightly on the wreck itself. Absolutely beautiful. I stayed near the bow section for my entire dive, there was no reason to move. Viz was 50-60'.

With that dive completed it left just one more destination so we pulled anchor and headed for the rigs. As we arrived the wind was starting to pickup slightly so Jim cautioned us that the live boat drop-offs and pickups could get challenging so we listened carefully to his instructions. The surface was getting choppy too so as soon as we linked up under the rig we descended quickly into good conditions. Viz was 70+', a little hazy. From the middle of the rig you could see all four corners, from the surface I could see at least 10' below the first cross members at 55'. The tri-color anemones were just popping, lots and lots of scallops as always, and schooling Blacksmiths. It was a great dive.

Jeff "J." Reeb

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