Trip Report and Photos
Catalina Island on the Pacific Star
and Photos ©
Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced
On Saturday October 16th
the Pacific Star departed from Redondo Beach on a 10am to 10pm "open
boat" trip to Catalina Island. I like these trips because they include
4 dives, two meals, extra sleep in the morning, and some night diving.
During the first two dives I had some great critter encounters that
made this day extra special.
The first dive of the day was at
Johnsonís Rock. It started out as a normal Catalina dive. There were rockfish
resting in the kelp, and, some nice gorgonians. I followed the reef to the deeper
sand to see what I could find there. Mostly it was large schools of blacksmith.
Not finding much else suitable for
wide angle photos, I turned around to start a very slow assent up the reef back
to the boat. As I looked ahead to try and pick an interesting path, something
unusual REALLY caught my eye. Not more than 10 feet away was a sea turtle. Wait
a minute....A SEA TURTLE....I definitely needed to get some photos of this.
Almost the second that I saw him, he saw me, and he started to flee. A short
chase ensued. I swam as fast as I could go in my dry suit and split fins. These
are the photos that I was able to grab before the turtle won the race.
Iím not certain what kind of sea
turtle it was, maybe a green one.
For the next dive we moved around
the corner to the "back side" of Catalina. Captain Scotty checked out Eagle
Rock as a possible stop, the visibility here was terrific, but the current was
not so terrific.
We passed on a dive at "the rock"
and headed further around the bend to West End Cove.
At West End Cove I swam over the
reef and headed for the sand. Some large schools of Mackerel and Blacksmith
kept me entertained with photo opportunities.
This time, as I started back to the
boat a large fish tail caught my eye. I headed in its direction and saw that
it was attached to a giant black sea bass. Next I noticed that he had some buddies
with him, I started counting, and ended up with a total of nine giant black
sea bass. Wow, Iíve never seen a group of nine giant black sea bass before.
I took some photos trying to get all of them in, but these guys just werenít
interested in lining up for a group photograph.
I followed the group of sea bass
until I noticed that I was in a pretty strong current.
I checked my dive tracker and found
that I was behind the boat and off to the right.. Darn, I try never to let that
happen in a strong current. I couldnít make any headway, and, I had to start
getting shallow to stay out of deco. Once again, it was kelp to the rescue.
I grabbed a plant and started my ascent, traveling up and cross current until
I could grab the next plant. After about 15 minutes of "kelp hopping" I was
finally getting some rest on a safety stop under the swim step.
The last afternoon dive and the night
dive were near Arrow Point. Once again there were huge schools of fish.
My favorite photo from the night
dive was of this little crab.
It was on this dive that almost everyone
brought back some lobsters
Gregg also showed off his glove that
had taken a bite from an eel, fortunately, the small puncture marks didnít break
After the night dive it was a quiet
and restful "Miller Time" as we headed back to Redondo.
Everyone thanks Michael for the great
food. Several people wondered aloud if the Pac Star was a dive boat or a restaurant.
Really nice job.
Usually the late trip home is a breeze
- no traffic. Tonight there was a sig alert on the 605, no one moved for an
hour. I was thankful that I had lots of gas, didnít need a port-a-potty, and
wasnít part of the cause.
Until next time