With all the traveling I just can’t seem to find time to go diving anymore. So by chance a spot on the Spectre opened up and I jumped on it. Since I didn’t feel like taking my big camera on this time, I decided that it would be a good time to check that dry suit of mine. Well, it’s still dry and works just fine, though it took me some time to get re-accustomed to it. Good thing, too. Winter is coming and the water temps are about to go cold. That does not mean that I went completely camera-free, though. My little pocket point-and-shot did it’s job of capturing the wildlife. Not much to report, other than some really beautiful jellies. Btw, they make for a great buoyancy control exercise.
So, this was a first. I got bitten by a sea lion. On the head! Three times!! Stupid sea lion!!!
Well not so much bitten as nibbled on. Do I look like a sea lion squeaky toy!? Well, I guess I did squeak and am rubbery on the outside in my dive suit… Damit! So, the full story. I am going up the anchor line and am finishing my safety stop when I feel something on my head. At first I thought I hit the anchor line. When the ‘sensation’ got a bit more intense, I next thought somebody above is kicking me. So I turn around and stare into an open sea lion mouth 5″ in front of my mask. I try to push it away and it tries to bite my hand. So I start screaming through my regulator at this thing and it does go away. However, on to come around from the back and start nibbeling on my head again. This time I pick up my camera and start shooting. So, some funny pictures and my dive buddy, Barbara, could hardly keep her regulator in for laughing. Hey, thanks for helping there buddy!
Other than this pesty sea lion, we had tons and tons of salp floating around. Difficult to capture on camera, but most beautiful to watch. Add to that some 50ft viz., a couple bat rays and a harbor seal and we have a phenomenal dive day!
I am finally getting some quality time under water. Went to Anacapa Isl., but a big south swell made the island mostly undivable. Still got a dive in at Cathedral Cove, which is known to have some friendly and courious sea lions. And they never disappoint. After that we went to Santa Cruz and found some better dive conditions. Although I couldn’t get a lot of photos, the local bat rays seemed to have their convention there today. I saw 7 bat rays, 5 on one dive and a group of 2 swimming along. Otherwise ‘standard’ creatures, so I got to play with the macro lens again.
Some impressions from Anacapa Island
And some from Santa Cruz Island
The day didn’t start all that well. Went to Eureka only to find an epic current ripping through the rig. Viz was nice, but no good if you can only spend a minute or two on the rig before getting washed out to the wide open ocean. So we went to Catalina and again the current tore our boat from the anchor point. So we moved again and finally the gods smiled upon us. Great viz and the current dropped to nothing. As a bonus, I got a bat ray. The second dive was then rewarded with a very cooperative octopus. Thus encouraged we decided to give the oil rigs yet a final try and we were lucky. Current was down, but so was the viz. An oil rig is an oil rig and is awsome even in ok viz (we had about 40 ft). So all in all a good day.
There are some more photos on Flickr.
This was California pea soup diving at its very best. Water had finally warmed up a bit since the last time out to San Miguel, but viz had gone to nil. Not quite, but 3-5 ft was about it. But who cares what’s more than 3 ft out with a macro lens anyway? Lots and lots of nudis, including 2 I have never seen before. And to round it off, I swam into (and almost stepped onto) a Wolf eel.
Some of my favorite photos are here and the rest is on my Flickr page.
Just had four awesome dives on the Peace boat at San Miguel. Those were some of the colder dives I’ve made here with water temps in the upper 40’s. Though a bit on the painful side (Note to self: fix that dry suit), San Miguel delivered as usual. Never saw that many Lion’s Mane nudibranchs in one spot.
Those Lion’s Mane are pretty awesome not so little nudibranchs. First, they swim. None of the others really do that. But what really sets them apart it they way they eat. They have this huge head bulb that they can expand and use like a fishing net to filter the water for food. I have captured a video of this.
The rest of the photos is on Flickr.
I finally got to do some diving around the Channel Islands again. This year has been a bit flat in that respect. The viz was not very good and we had some decent swells coming through. Still, a dive is a dive and we got some nice critters. Most interestingly, the sheep crabs are back. Haven’t seen many of them in the last 5-6 years. Now, there everywhere again as it used to be.
Some more photos are on Flickr.
This was another day of SoCal diving at its best. The Wreck of the Olympic was a bit green as usual, but the oil rig Eureka was phenomenal. Great visibility, warm water and only a slight surge. To top things off we had a couple of sea lions and a Mola-Mola to play with.
The full complement of photos is on Flickr. Go check it out.
Summer is upon SoCal and the water is getting to a balmy mid-60s. Well, balmy for us here anyway. Managed to jump on the Spectre on short notice and enjoyed a couple great dives on Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. Anacapa is mostly protect these days with some areas being a MPA since the 80’s. That means lots of critters. Cathedral Cove is extra special in the morning with all the sea lions coming out to play.
Here are a couple visions from Anacapa
And some from Santa Cruz
The rest of the photos is on Flickr as ususal.
Diving Anacapa once more. While the sites are always the same, this time was absolutely special. I have never seen water this clear on the Channel Islands. We had at least 80 ft visibility. This might not sound like a great deal to the warm water folks, it is unheard of in our waters. So I focused on getting wide angle shots of the reefs since those are usually impossible to get. Along the way, I was able to find some nice critters as well. All in all a very memorable day.
Go over to my Flickr site for more photos.
Spend another day diving at Anacapa Isl. This time with a purpose, though. I was looking for tube worms since I needed a couple more photos for the 4th edition of my book. Along the way, I noticed that the anemones seem take come in new colors. At least I didn’t notice that before, so I spend a bit of time taking inventory of the 2012 spring fashion catalog. More photos and impressions on Flickr.