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San Miguel (Santa Cruz) 2 day trip on August 27 & 28, 2010

Getting to San Miguel can be difficult at times and this trip was one of those times. The weather had been good up until a few days before and then the winds and swell started to build preventing us from going to San Miguel. Now plan B kicked into gear, based on the weather the only good option was to dive the front side of Santa Cruz.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised because we dove places I have never been to before and Captain’s Eric, Kevin and the crew(Steve, Paul and Joe) did there best to make sure everyone had a fun trip. They did tell everyone right from the start that the summer weather (the whole year for that matter) hasn’t been normal, the water has been green and the diving conditions haven’t been all that great. With that said we had about 20’-30’ vis and mid to high 50’s water temp on all dives. Of course, that actually wasn’t to bad compared with other dive reports I had heard of.

Now that Miguel was out of the question we left at 4:00am for Santa Cruz with a much calmer ride to Santa Cruz then I had expected. There were 23 divers on the trip which gave everyone plenty of room. Our 1st dive spot was at Diablo. For the most part all the dives where up against the island and were not deep. My buddy Hilary and I never went deeper then 60’ for the entire trip. That worked fine for me because I was using my new used camera for the first time and had plenty of other things to think about.

Our 2nd dive on Friday was West Grotto. Most all the dive sites where within 30 minutes of each other and the gate times for all dives where 20-30 minutes long. After West Grotto we moved to Ruby’s Rock. I really liked this dive site, about half of Ruby’s Rock is underwater and it is steep which made it more like diving a wall with plenty to photograph and then there was the playful harbor seal playing with my fins. I have to admit, I like harbor seals much better then sea lions.

Dive #4 was at Quail Rock and afterwards we moved to Pelicans for the night where we would have dinner and a night dive. Dinner was delicious, Steve did an excellent job BBQing the tri-tip and Joe did an excellent job with the rest of dinner. Actually Joe did an outstanding job on all the meals and is definitely an asset to the Peace; the scale told me so when I got back. I guess I just didn’t dive enough or maybe I had too much desert.

Saturday morning the Peace moved up to Painted Cave and went inside-that was way cool. Painted Cave is the largest sea cave in the world. Afterwards we went to Chunky’s for the 1st dive of the day. The 2nd dive again was a short move to Ladies. The sun came out and the seas where calm and the day was turning out to be very beautiful. The second day of a trip is always good because it’s when everyone seems to open up a bit more and to make it even better it was a really good group of divers on board. As always I made the rounds talking to everyone. I find it very interesting how diverse divers are. It seemed like everyone was having a good time and I know I will see some of them back on other CIDA trips.

For the 3rd dive we moved to the Fern Grotto-this was a cool dive with plenty to see under all the kelp that was covering the rocks. One of the divers (Jonathan) got a big lingcod on this dive, probably about 12lbs.plus. How he got it is a whole other story. For the last dive we moved to East Diablo and probably half the group sat this dive out. I also sat it out thinking it would be nice to have some time in calm water to get in the hot tub, cleaned up and to be able to put some things away. It was also time to break out the treat I brought along. I brought a case of different bottled beers and the crew was kind enough to put them on ice in an ice chest for everyone to help themselves. The ice cold beer went over well and I think that it may become a norm for some other CIDA multi-day trips.

All in the entire Santa Cruz trip turned out awesome and I know some others are looking forward to other CIDA trips. If you haven’t been on a Channel Islands Dive Adventures trip-then you have been missing out and should try one. A CIDA trip is a much better alternative then any open boat. Come join the next adventure?

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