IT WAS A SQUID THING...
Redondo Canyon, Veterans Park
ã Walter Marti
walter @ diver . net
I went on my third squid adventure on December 7, 2001. My first was last February in Scripp’s Canyon, San Diego off of a Dive Boat. We were a couple of days late for the big squid finally. The second was just before Thanksgiving. I heard about it on www.diver.net/bbs, it’s SoCal Diving Message Board, a valuable local diving resource. The second adventure, I did on a Friday and Sunday evening, I saw eggs and small groups of squid, some even attempting to procreate.
Squid live only a year or two. Then they congregate in mass to procreate, lay eggs and die. They seem to do this at the shallow edges of underwater canyons. The timing is a mystery to me, but it is most likely in December and January. Their ‘runs’ have been light in recent years. Last year they came back with a vengeance. Only to be missed by me. I searched for a information and discovered the Diver.net internet message board. I read it all year. Someone mentioned a pre-Thanksgiving squid run. I was busy then, had things to do... Then I realized why I started following the BBS. I changed my plans, called some dive friends and went diving. Again, I saw a few eggs, some mating and small groups of squid. They were in greater numbers on the second dive. The subsequent posting on the BBS indicated that I dove too early. I went again, two days later, the results were less. Possibly just a lull. I talked to the fisherman at the pier. One was full of information and told us that the squid come every year December to January, and maybe the month prior and subsequent. This year they are early! Their runs are sporadic within that time.
Last weekend, December 7th, the Santana Winds were blowing and made it Lake Pacifico. I thought, that I should try it again. I called a few buddies that morning and found a buddy on short notice. Here is my first posting to the Diver.net BBS:
There back!!! Or, most likely they never left. Just came back from diving Redondo Canyon (Veterans Park). Lots of birds sitting on the water and boats with squid lights on. Hit the water at 8:30 pm. Swimming on the surface, just before the drop off, I notice strange shapes in the water (I like to swim out without light off, why burn batteries when I can enjoy the bioluminese), I turn on my video lights and see many small stingrays flying about. We descended to the bottom (60'), I saw huge, egg masses and lots of squid. At 65' there were thousands of squid. My video lights probably helped bring them in. I was kneeling on the bottom and never saw bottom, too many squid in the way. It was squid soup. I sat there for 30 minutes and let the camera roll. My buddy started getting cold and we slowly headed up the ledge. I kept my video lights on. A large group of squid followed us into 15' of water!
The Santana's are blowing, the water is flat and vis was good. A little stirred up by all the squid mating action. One strange happening, a boat above us must have drop a 'seal bomb' to spook the seals. At first I thought my buddy or, blew a high pressure hose. Which is odd at the middle of a dive. Eerie feeling when that went off overhead and all you can see in any direction is squid. You've gotta go and do it! It is happening now! For the price of gas and an airfill, you can't beat the experience. And, please tell me about it.
I was so hyped up about the experience I called a few other diver friends. And in the process, talked myself into doing it again that Saturday evening. This time I had a small group or five. When I arrived at the parking lot were lots divers, most from my BBS postings. This was a wonderful experience in itself, I can now put a face to the postings I read. The waves were less, the vis was down a little (maybe because of my big mouth on the BBS and all the resulting divers). The squid population down slightly. Still thousands!!
These dives move into my Top 10 dive experiences. The price was right, gas and an airfill. The vis was no worse than diving on the dive boat to Scripp’s Canyon. Remember, when the Santana Winds blow in December or January, make the time and try for the squid.
Redondo Canyon: Just south of King Harbor. It’s at the end Pearl St. and by Veterans Park. Metered Parking, bring quarters. Take the stairway down, pass the bathrooms and go straight out to the birds. 100 yards out you'll be at the edge of the drop-off.