Explorer Cabin Sketch by Erica Yeung
Dive Blog May 4, 2014 Anacapa Island
Today’s dive trip to Anacapa Island on the Explorer included new personal records, challenging sites, rescue practice, and as usual, a wonderful experience with divers, crew, and dive-sites alike!
The first dive of the day holds my current deepest dive! 115 feet! At first, I was nervous about the depth, on top of the low visibility and current. But when I found myself comfortable at 85 feet, my anxiety subsided. I was excited to see the plane wreck; unfortunately, the anchor was placed too far to safely reach the wreck. Even though I was a little disappointed, I was still thrilled to have dove so deep without any complications. The excitement didn’t end there; I practiced important rescue skills after.
When we got to the next site, Fish Camp, Luis helped refine our rescue towing skills. It was a nice chance to do some surface swimming and practice my kicks. I noticed that my kicks were too small and frequent, so I ended up wasting energy that I could have used to tow my buddy back to the boat. After successfully saving our victims, we had time to practice our pike dives.
The group didn’t seem to have a problem going under. One person (Ian) was even able to get sand from 25 feet deep. I on the other hand, could barely break the surface. I felt like a Margikarp helplessly splashing around. Thankfully, Luis told me that I needed to bend my top half of my body straight down , lift my legs, then kick. I was able to go down, but still had trouble going deeper than 5 feet. Again, Luis helped my techniques. Since we had to return to the boat after, I didn’t get the chance to practice again. However, I was able to practice another skill during the next dive.
At the same site, we enjoyed the vibrant environment while looking for a shallow area to practice our E.S.A. (Emergency Swimming Ascent). This skill was rather easy to carry out; however, I was shocked to have forgotten how to put on my weight belt while in the water! A basic skill that I seldom used needed to be refreshed.
For our last dive, our group faced the most challenging conditions of the day: surge, current, and low visibility. Also, we briefly discussed how to pull unconscious people out of the water. I need to work on my control because I kept hitting/crashing into other divers or rock formations. I also need to build up my stamina because the current pushed us back and our group had to swim for a long time until we returned to the boat.
Overall, this trip showed me that even though I felt okay with my diving, I have lots of room for improvement. I had lots of fun talking, eating, diving, and sleeping. I am looking forward to more fun diving and skill refining in the near future! Happy diving!
Written by Kristiana Rendon
Illustration by Erica Yeung
I had a great dive trip on the Cee Ray today! Captain Mike, the crew members, and the deckhand were all friendly people to talk with, which made the boat ride very pleasant and stress-free. The Cee Ray comfortably accommodated roughly 30 divers with delicious food and beautiful dive sites. These sites included Farnsworth Bank, Cave of Cortez, Iron Bound, and Black Rock. Diving at Farnsworth Bank was especially exciting since we haven’t been able to make it to that site in a few years. Out of all the four stunning dive sites, I found Farnsworth Bank to be the most exciting and diverse.
Right when I jumped in, I saw the vivid life of Farnsworth Bank with a visibility reaching up to 80 feet. Abundant colonies of purple hydro coral were visible at all angles and lingcods of different sizes were camouflaged on rocks with sea fans. Even sea lions and a sting ray were casually swimming around. Additionally, large schools of blacksmiths and señoritas surrounded divers. It was like I was in an underwater level of a video game! I felt so fortunate to have had this chance to go diving. Above is a short clip from Farnsworth Bank taken by the magnificent Andy Rios, and edited by the superb Thomas Templar! Enjoy!
Not too long after we boarded the Cee Ray, we saw a pod of whales less than half a mile away! I had never seen whales this close before, so this was a nice experience. Then, we ate a satisfying breakfast, had a great time socializing, and munched on sweet fruit while we waited to reach Backside Catalina Island.
At the Cave of Cortez, I swam with friendly garibaldis, shy lobsters, tall large kelp forests, and red foot moon snails clinging onto kelp leaves. Schools of fish swarmed in circles, and on the floor, were scattered horned sharks peacefully lounging about. At Iron Bound, there were huge sheepheads and calicos! Some divers saw a black sea bass; however, I didn’t. I hope to see one soon! At Black Rock, I flew through large kelp forests and saw eel grass, kelp fish, and red foot moon snails. It was a very nice last dive of the day.
Between dives, executive Chef Kim prepared delicious meals including salad, authentic Chinese Bihun (also known as rice vermicelli), and chicken wings. She even served ice cream and brownies after our last dive! I’m just thinking about those moist brownies. Yummm.
On the way back to the harbor, some divers chatted, while others slept (like me, haha). Dolphins even accompanied the Cee Ray for a while. Reflecting back on this trip, with old and new marine life to enjoy, refining skills, eating great food, and being surrounded by awesome people, I continue to understand why I love diving. So, I hope I was able to share a memorable dive trip with you and hope to see you underwater soon! Until next time! :)
Written by Kristiana Rendón
Video taken by Andy Rios
Video edited by Thomas Templar