Diving at Cortes Bank can offer spectacular sights like this, but you need to be comfortable with handling rough conditions, which may include cold water, wind, current, and swell. Then there is the location to consider. It is located about 100 miles from both San Pedro and San Diego, California. Since it is an open water seamount and there is nothing to shelter you from the elements, the conditions have to be right for the dive boat to make it out there. This year, Ocean Safari is planning two multi-day trips to Cortes Bank in June and October. Check our website for our local trip schedule!
California sea lions are very curious and they often follow divers throughout the dive. The young pups are usually more curious and playful. It’s not unusual for them to swim up to us, stop just out of reach, and look at you with those big round eyes just like a playful puppy would. It is amazing how quickly they can turn and zoom by us. It is something many divers look forward to seeing when diving around the Channel Islands.
It took me 6 shots to get the sun in the right spot and angle with these crescent-tail bigeye (Priacanthus hamrur). After each shot the flash from my strobe made the scatter, but after about a minute of waiting quietly they would gather again. I saw some of them change color to more silvery color then back to red. I wondered if stress causes them to change color so I looked it up later. I found out they have ability to rapidly intensify or fade color and markings.