March 12, 2004
Trip Report and Photos
Catalina Island on the Great Escape

Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.

Lobster season has officially ended. I realize that many bug divers may experience symptoms of withdrawal over the coming days, weeks, and months. To help ease the irritability, lethargy, and mood swings that this time of year brings I'm posting the dive report from the Friday night, March 12, 2004, an all night Catalina bug fest experienced on the Great Escape. Remember, in only six short months, you can get back out there and do it again.

On this trip, it was sort of clear that the "end of season" frenzy was on.

The first dive was at Torqua Springs. An easy trip down the anchor line, then down the rocky vertical landscape, leveled off to a sandy bottom at 90 feet. Here the kelp was laying flat in a deflated kind of mode, and, some lobsters were located simply by pulling up the kelp leaves. A torpedo ray was also sighted by some divers. Sheep crabs, horn sharks, treefish and Navanax sea slugs kept me busy with my Nikonos close up kit.

Back on board the boat, the lobster well began to fill, divers compared notes on successful hunting techniques, and, events of this entire lobster season were recounted.
The good haul of lobsters on this dive kept most people pretty jazzed during the surface interval, a few tried to grab some zzzzzzzzzzz.

The next stop was at Yellowtail Point. Visibility here must have been at least 40-50 feet. Divers dispersed to all corners of the dive site, and, light beams from bug hunters were everywhere. Now days those new HID lights made the night dive look a little like a special effects scene from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Leary of space ships, I followed the anchor chain across the sand and became amazed at how many critters populated it in just a short period of time - kelp bass, cone snails, a sole, and several whelks - just to name a few.

On the return to the boat I noticed some very small crabs well hidden in a patch of red algae. I didn't think that they were real obvious but many other divers noticed them also. Some divers had spent part of the dive watching these little guys, um, you know, doing it. I was not exactly sure what kind of crabs they were.

Back on board something like a total of 56 lobsters were counted as the total take.

This trip reminded me of just how much I like night diving. There is a different kind of energy in the ocean life at night. The next time I see a trip that "dives all night", I'm signing up. For the dedicated lobster divers - don't forget to save this seasons memories and keep dreaming of this coming September.

Elaine