Dive Trip Report 2/23/19 – by Megumi Itoh
Location: Anacapa Island
Charter Master: Thomas Templar, staff: Megumi Itoh and Tony Hong
Boat: Peace (Capt. Steven; DM Steve, Cody, Ryan; Galley Bree), Ventura Harbor
Most people boarded the night before, and few came in the morning. The boat departed the harbor at 7am and returned before 5pm. It was sunny, but chilly day - water temperature was around 54F. Choice of dive sites was limited due to the recent rainstorm (low visibility from water run-off) and current.
Dive #1 at Goldfish Bowl - Marine Protected Area (lobster taking is allowed during lobster season).
Double anchored – 15ft at stern anchor, 35-37ft under the boat; sandy bottom under the boat, rocky reef with giant kelp beds starting about halfway between the boat and the island. Visibility was relatively low – about 15ft. There were clearly noticeable amount of sargassum patches, but not quite displacing all the giant kelp. We saw a few lobsters and a variety of fish including sheephead, calico bass, garibaldi, blacksmiths, opal eyes and senoritas. The sheepheads and calico bass were very large. There were many sea cucumbers and sea urchins. Some divers saw abalones and blue banded gobies. A young sea lion was swimming around the anchor area. The photographers were out looking for nudibranchs, but only a few were observed.
Dive #2 at Rat Rock - Marine Protected Area (lobster taking is allowed during lobster season)
Double anchored – 20ft at stern anchor, 56ft under the boat; wind blowing east to west, causing some surface current. Similar to first dive site – sandy bottom under the boat, kelp beds starting midway between the boat and island. Slightly better visibility – about 20ft. Sargassum patches were also noticeable at this site. We did not see any nudibranchs, but there were other marine life to observe - abalones, blue banded gobies, kellet’s whelk, Norris topsnail, painted greenling, island kelpfish, garibaldi, etc. The sheepheads and calico bass at this site were also large.
Dive #3 at Cathedral Cove - Marine Protected Area (taking of lobsters also not allowed)
Double anchored – 26ft at stern anchor, 56ft under the boat. About the same visibility as second dive – about 20ft. A young sea lion seems to have followed us (or it was another sea lion since this one was more playful and swam closer to divers). Finally saw many Spanish shawls at this dive site. Some were mating/laying eggs. What was most noticeable at this site was the especially large size of calico bass, male and female sheepheads, and lobsters. We saw a gigantic lobster surrounded by large lobsters in one hole, and some of the sheepheads were as large as the ones we have seen at Begg Rock. The garibaldi at this site was also very large. Most divers agreed that this was the best dive site of the day.
On the way back to the harbor, we were visited by a pod of common dolphins. We could see them swimming toward the boat and they played in the bow wake for a very long time.