Report and Photos
Diving with Ross O.
A Run to Catalina Island
March 8, 2009
and Photos © Elaine Jobin, or Ross Overstreet,
may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.
Ross called early on in the week and mentioned something about doing a run out to Catalina on Sunday. He wasn't certain he could go diving at all on Sunday, and, he definitely wasn't certain the weather would permit a run across the channel - but he brought it all up. Saturday night I got a call "is your stuff packed". OK, that meant we were going diving.
Sunday morning we hauled our stuff to the boat. We were both kind of tired and neither of us were talking too much. We pulled out of the dock, and out of the breakwall, and since the ocean was flat - Ross just kept on going straight instead of doing the usual hook to the right or to the left. Cool, we were going to Catalina.
Ross didn't talk a whole lot but he said he hoped we would see a whale. The water was glass smooth so it was easy to spot one if there were any out there. Shortly thereafter, a whale appeared. We approached the whale slowly and stopped to watch for a while. No dramatic breaching, no approaching the boat to check us out, no sights of a whale tale - just a big old whale cruising slowly, looking for breakfast.
The whale passed by and we continued our trip to Catalina. First stop, Bird Rock. Ross had a favorite spot on the rock he wanted to check out. Fondly remembering the time he had gone there with a gang of underwater scooter enthusiasts and circled the entire landmark - at least once.
To me, Bird Rock is Bird Rock. It does have a slightly different landscape on every side so at least it offers some variety. We anchored island side and went to the right as you face the rock. The first thing we saw as we headed toward the wall side were lots of old little round traps of some kind. Clearly they had been there for a long time.
Ross brought his camera today too. I haven't seen him with a camera in so long - it was different!
He quickly found an old pipe with an octopus in it and got into "macro mode"
. This is Ross taking the picture and this is the picture that he took.
We swam around until we were cold and low on air. It was a noticable change from diving near the coast - having visibility that must have been at least 40 to 50 feet in some places. Besices the better visibility, couldn't help noticing how much more light there was here off Catalina than at an equivalent depth on a sunny day off the coast.
We ate our sandwiches after the dive and I eyed the Bottomscratcher - part of me was wanting to go ask them for lunch, the other part wanted to see if Captain Greg would give me an airfill - I only had two tanks - one air, one nitrox - I'd just used my air and didn't want to have to break into my nitrox stash if I didn't have to.. I talked Ross into trying for an air fill. Asking to bum lunch would have been a little, well...........but shucks - you know how good dive boat food is....Yum.....
I couldn't help thinking about it.
We slowly pulled closer to the Bottomscratcher and as soon as we got ther attention, they waved us in. There were only two divers in the water and they were at the other end of the boat. I mustered all my courage and asked for an air fill. The hopsitality was incredible. Captain Greg jumped in his dingy, came and got my tank, took it back for a fill, and in what seemed like seconds, brought it back out to us. Our boat Captains are the BEST! I've got pictures to prove it.
A HUGE THANK YOU CAPT. GREG!!!!
You saved my dive day!!
Our boat captains rarely get the credit that they deserve. They not only assume responsibility for thier divers, but, they go above and beyond keeping an eye out, as best they can, for everybody else in the ocean too.
Next we made a short run over to the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber to say hi to Karl.
Fortunately, just a social visit. But, they would have been there with lots of "hospitality" - at things called "Table 5" and "Table 6a" ,too.....if we had needed them. Reminder - Chamber Day is only two months away.
After our visit we headed out to Ship Rock for another dive. Armed with my super 3K air fill from Capt. Gregg and the Bottomscratcher I was ready. Only, the water was cold 54, and topside it was warm and sunny so we fed the gulls and had naptime before we got back into the water.
Uh...I knew I was getting older, but maybe Ross is too...Nap Time on a dive day????? Unheard of 5 years ago.
We did another hour or so long dive around Ship Rock. I was amazed at the amount of the invasive sea weed "Sargassum" that is in the shallows around Ship Rock. In some areas it is very thick. Not really displayed well in these photos - there is a litte, but not one of the thick patches. The weed is so dense it blocks a huge amount of light and when photographed it needs extra strobe power becuase it absorbs so much light.
Ross found some lingcod eggs.
I took more photos of Ross.
Had to grab some Ross in the kelp shots with clear blue water while conditions permitted.
Ross took some photos of me.
We would have made it back across the channel in less than one hour, but, we stopped to look at some bottom topography along the way. It was an awesome dive day.