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February 5, 2005
Trip Report and Photos
San Clemente Island with the Sea Divers on the Great Escape

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

Photo by Elaine Jobin

Twenty seven Sea Divers boarded the Great Escape on the evening of Friday February 4th, 2005 for a one day trip to San Clemente Island.

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Because the weather has been so stormy we werenít sure if we would make our planned destination - the backside of San Clemente Island. Making matters more complicated, the entire front side of San Clemente Island was on Naval closure. Our captains charted a fairly smooth overnight course around the backside of Catalina and woke us up to a beautiful sunrise right where we were hoping to go. The Sea Divers have an awesome record of making their destinations and thanks to Capts. Tim and Kim, this trip was to be no exception.

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The visibility at our first dive site was an incredible 80+ feet. The water temperature was in the high 50ís. I donít know why, but when visibility is good no one complains of being cold. The kelp and the rocky terrain were beautiful. Many small schools of fish made the dive site picture perfect. The visibility on the backside of San Clemente Island can be legendary and I think that we were treated to the best of it. These are some of my photos from this dive.

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Surface intervals were filled with comments on the terrific visibility, quick naps, and a great snack buffet.

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Our second stop was a shallower kelp covered rocky reef. Once again the visibility was terrific. While searching the nooks and crannies for photo subjects I found some of the smallest lobsters that I have ever seen. Some divers had bat ray and abalone sightings.

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During this dive I watched Joe do a photo session with a "stone fish". The fish was in a perfect photographic pose on the top of a rock. When Joe was finished, the fish was still sitting there, so I fired off a few shots of my own. Actually a line formed to photograph this fish. These are two of my photos.

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Our third and fourth dives were done at a set of pinnacles a short distance away. I thought that the gorgonians and invertebrate life made this the most beautiful dive site of the day. The photo of the bottom of the Great Escape was taken from 90 feet.

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I could only do a quick dip on the last dive because I was just about out of bottom time. I wanted to get some photos of the beautiful purple hydrocoral. There was a lot of it at this site.

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The first two hours of the trip home were an adventure in rock and roll but after that it was pretty smooth sailing. We enjoyed a great lunch, followed by naps, some wine and beer, and relaxed socializing - Sea Diver style.

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It was another successful Sea Diver trip. Special thanks to Capt. Kim, DM Steve, deckhand Kendall, and our beloved Mikey in the galley. Oh, and of course, special thanks to Captain Tim, who once again put all of the "behind the scene" details together without a flaw.

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This was our great sunset on the trip home

Photo by Elaine Jobin

...... Elaine