Trip Report and Photos
The Palawan and the Star of Scotland
on the Great
and Photos ©
Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced
The seas had been calm
all week. Except for overcast skies with a little drizzle, it looked
like it could be a day of great diving conditions at the Palawan and
the Star of Scotland.
The Palawan was our first
stop. This ship was intentionally sunk in 1977 to function as an artificial
reef. It is approximately 440 feet long and sits in somewhere around
130 feet of water not far from Redondo Beach. Several large Purple
Jellyfish were out and about for viewing on the way down the anchor
line. At about 70 feet, the visibility opened up to about 30 - not
bad for an offshore wreck. Captain Tim had put the anchor line right
at “the pointy end” of the Palawan, so all you had to do was hop off
and start exploring.
After the dive, it became
clear that the anchor of the Great Escape just didn’t want to budge.
DM Terry, armed with the lift bag and a Styrofoam cup, went to resolve
the problem. Five minutes into Terry’s dive there was still no Styrofoam
cup seen at the surface. Captain Tim began to worry “this is taking
too long” he said. At six minutes there was still no Styrofoam cup.
Captain Tim worried quietly aloud again “this is taking too long“.
Finally, somewhere into minute seven the Styrofoam cup appeared and
the anchor was drawn. As the anchor was secured strange looking long
tan fibers were seen along the chain. When Terry reboarded the Great
Escape we noticed that Terry was wearing some of the same unusual
looking long tan fibers. What obstruction had proven stronger than
the wench and the crew of the Great Escape? A sisal rope that someone
had used as a guide line had become unwound, ensnarled the anchor,
and ,secured it to the wreck below. In looking at my photos from the
dive, I noticed that I had captured a ball of sisal in one of the
frames. Could this neat, small, still packaged, environmentally friendly
twine be what became the anchor nemesis?
We next went to the Star
of Scotland for two dives. The Star of Scotland is a 300+ foot fishing
barge located about a mile from the Santa Monica Pier. The water here
looked a little greener than at the Palawan, and the visibility at
depth was probably closer to 15 to 20 feet. This wreck is a little
less intact than the Palawan and sits a little shallower in 80 or
so feet of water. It has more sediment covering the sea life growing
on the hull, but it is still quite a beautiful site to dive. Several
black sea bass were spotted here. Another striking feature was the
abundance and variety of nudibranchs. Some of these nudibranchs were
so large they were almost appropriate subjects for wide angle photography.
It is always very amazing
to me that people collect brass, china, and other things from shipwrecks.
There didn’t seem to be any artifact collectors in our group. I looked
around the Great Escape to see what would probably become a collectors
item if the Great Escape were ever to become a “dive site” I photographed
some of the things that I thought might be of interest. I showed Captain
Tim the photos, and he just laughed and said “they are all 99 cent
items“. Put them underwater and they become “treasure” - go figure.
Until next time: