Sunday, February 28, 2006
Trip Report and Photos
Catalina on the Sundiver - Open Boat

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

I was able to escape my personal drama of "home improvements" (?) on the last day of February for a dive day at Catalina. The Sundiver was offering an "open boat" to Catalina, and, I had my spot.

When I arrived, I saw many familiar faces, and, I made some new diving friends. It is great to show up somewhere and see so many people that you know on a Sunday morning - without having to sit through a sermon.

Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin

Some brought their family members with them.

Photo by Elaine JobinPhoto by Elaine Jobin

Some brought lots of toys.

Photo by Elaine Jobin

With everybody, and everything, on board, the Sundiver set off for the west end of Catalina Island.

Catalina frontside, west end, Photo by Elaine Jobin

The channel was smooth as glass for our crossing and some dolphins broke away from a feeding frenzy to do whatever it is that dolphins do in the bow wake. The water was so still and transparent it provided a great opportunity for dolphin viewing. My camera settings were a little off from a recent episode of night photography, but I managed to save a few images via photoshop.

Dolphins in the San Pedro channel, Photo by Elaine Jobin Dolphins in the San Pedro channel, Photo by Elaine Jobin Dolphins in the San Pedro channel, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Captain Ray dropped anchor at West End Reef. It isn't often that the western most point of Catalina Island offers good diving conditions but on this day - it was fantastic. The visibility was a Catalina average of 40 to 50 feet in shallow areas, but below 80 feet it opened up to awesome. Wide eyed I looked at the amazing scenery of the steeply sloping rocky reef. There were beautiful gorgonian decorations everywhere. It was California diving with a distinct tropical feel. I cruised down to the deep sandy bottom at about 130 feet, partly to check it out, and, partly just to say that I've been to the sand on the western tip of the island. It was still the morning sun, so the available light at depth was fine for looking around, but less than ideal for photography. The following photos were taken at the western most point on the frontside of Catalina at about 130 feet where the rocks meet the sand.

Western most point, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Gorgonian, western most point, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Rockfish, western most point, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin

On the way back up the reef I saw a nudibranch I have never seen before - I believe it is a Peltodoris species - maybe one of the nudibranch experts out there can verify this. I only had the wide angle lens, so these aren't the best photos for identification.

Peltodoris species. Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Peltodoris species and Garibaldi. Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin

I saw many of my boat mates in the shallower water.

Divers, Western most point of Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Divers, Western most point of Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Divers, Western most point of Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Divers, Western most point of Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Divers, Western most point of Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater, western most point of Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin

Some friends cruised by with their scooters. On this dive, Captain Ray may have established the first scooter parking lot on the west end of Catalina Island. In fifty years - maybe there will be parking meters.

Divers on scooters, underwater photograph western most point, Catalina Island, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater scooter parking, Photo by Elaine Jobin

During our first surface interval.......

Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine JobinPhoto by Elaine JobinPhoto by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin

we rounded the corner to the backside of the Catalina west end.

Photo by Elaine Jobin

Oh boy!!!! another shot at this dive site from a different angle. Capt. Ray suggested that I might want to head along the shore toward the backside. Uh un I thought. I want to go back where I was. The sun was higher and brighter. More/better photos of the point - a second opportunity"greed" run.

Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin Underwater at the West end of Catalina, Photo by Elaine Jobin

We did our last dive at Deadmans. Capt. Ray suited up for this dive and endured quite a photo shoot for the event. He gets in his wet suit and he moves too fast for good photos. Ray, slow down, pose for the cameras; the ocean, and the lobsters, will still be there in 5 minutes. Also, maybe Captain Ray needs to be added to the BBS Gallery of California Backpack Divers.

Sundiver Captain Ray Arntz at Catalina Island,Photo by Elaine Jobin Sundiver Captain Ray Arntz at Catalina Island,Photo by Elaine Jobin Sundiver Captain Ray Arntz at Catalina Island,Photo by Elaine Jobin Sundiver Captain Ray Arntz at Catalina Island,Photo by Elaine Jobin

I took the "little camera" this time. Visibility was still terrific and I was almost sorry not to have wide angle, but I saw plenty to keep my inner photographer happy. An angel shark, nudibranchs, sculpin, gorgonians etc. I also saw the largest Christmas tree worm I've ever seen here. Normally our California Christmas Tree worms are some of the smallest in the world. This one was several inches tall and wide - amazing sight.

Angel shark, Squatina californica,Photo by Elaine Jobin Christmas Tree Worm, Photo by Elaine Jobin Gorgonian and Zoanthid anemone, Parazoanthus lucificum, Photo by Elaine Jobin Gorgonian, Photo by Elaine Jobin Spanish Shawl, Flabellina iodinea,Photo by Elaine Jobin Navanax inermis, Navanax, Photo by Elaine Jobin Sculpin,Photo by Elaine Jobin

A dolphin escort arrived for part of our trip home.

Photo by Elaine Jobin Photo by Elaine Jobin

Back at the dock, Phil (Max Bottomtime) appeared out of nowhere, and, he helped me schlep my dive gear back to the car. He actually came to meet Susan and to give her the lobsters she had caught on a dive the previous day. Thanks Phil - and Susan for that matter. It was a perfect end to a perfect dive day.

Phil Garner,

Until next time.........


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