Trip Report and Photos
Wrecks and Reefs on the Sundiver
The African Queen,Avalon Rocks,LCM3
and Photos ©
Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced
On Friday November 5th,
2004 I went on the Sundiver Open
Boat. Captain Ray, pictured below, welcomed us on board.
A pleasant surprise for me was that
Harold Buchanan was one of the passengers. Harold was one of the original crew
members/DM’s on the Pacific Dream, and prior to that on the Atlantis (Remember
those dive boats?). For anyone who may remember Harold, this is what he looks
We spent our day diving in the vicinity
of Palos Verdes. All dive sites were ones that I have never done before. Everyone
on board was an advanced diver, so our stops were picked accordingly.
Our first dive of the day was at
one of Captain Ray’s secret wreck spots. Captain Ray thinks that this is the
wreck of a 54 foot, steel hulled, fishing boat that sank in 1980, named the
African Queen. This wreck has not yet been positively identified, however.
To make the dive a down line, with
a float on one end and a 50 lb weight on the other, was dropped next to the
wreck. Captain Ray explained that this helps to avoid anchor entanglements.
The dive was then done by live drop off and pick up. These are photos of our
Visibility at this site was a little
challenging for wreck viewing - somewhere between 4 and 8 feet. When visibility
is better, I bet that this is a beautiful wreck. It is covered with anemones
and loaded with sea life. I saw rockfish, lingcod, sculpin, several kinds of
crabs, and many more things that I can’t even begin to list. I wanted to bring
up some great photos of this wreck. During the dive, I found that I didn’t have
functioning strobes. All of the photos below were taken with natural light and
occasionally, with the little bit of help that my flashlight could offer. Remember,
it was dark and visibility was very limited. You might have to squint to see
I hope that someday I get to go back
and do this dive again. I think that strobes would really make this wreck come
Next we moved to a place called Tyrone’s
Reef. We went down the anchor line and exactly at a depth of 62 feet visibility
went from 30 - 40 feet down to about 6 inches. Somewhere around 70 feet my fins
hit bottom - but I couldn’t see it. I went back up to 60 feet and found that
everyone else was up there too. We checked to see if we could find a nearby
area with better visibility, but, there was no break in the muck. We finally
gave up and aborted the dive.
The next surprise from this site
was that the anchor wouldn’t budge. Captain Ray suited up and made the dive
to go and free it. I tagged along as Captain Ray’s "dive buddy". This time I
just about ran face first into a patch of striking hot pink anemones. Clearly,
the reef that Captain Ray had chosen must be an absolutely beautiful one - just
not on this day. These are some of the photos that I took of Ray making his
“bow entry” and of his brief dive.
The Sundiver then set out in search
of underwater visibility. Our next stop was at a site called Avalon Rocks, not
far from the wreck of the Avalon. As the name implies, this area was very rocky,
and, kelp was sparse. There were many schools of fish here and some Giant Sea
Bass. There was some debate as to weather the Bass were black ones or white
ones. These are some of the photos from this dive, what do you think?
Our last dive site of the day was
at the wreck of the LCM3, a landing craft. Visibility here was about 30 feet.
This wreck is not as marine life rich as others, but, the remaining structure
does have a lot of character.
On the way home we watched the underwater video of the UB-88.
Capt. Ray did some narration, but still gave no clues as to the location of
this Submarine. Clearly this submarine is Captain Ray’s baby. He reminded us
that he had looked for it for 20 years. I carefully watched the video, later
did some homework, and, with some assistance from Chris Grossman determined:
I didn’t see any garibaldi - Maximum
range 95 feet
I saw three treefish - Maximum range 150 feet
There is an Island Kelp Fish - Maximum range 162 feet
There are honeycombed rockfish - Minimum range 90 feet
I don’t know exactly how tall a submarine
is, but, based on the fish life present would guess that the a UB-88
lies somewhere between 110 - 165 feet. Am I right Captain Ray?
(He will never tell).
So ended a fantastic day of diving
Until next time: