2nd Annual Bug Fest-10/15 & 16/11
Going to San Nick is always a hit or miss situation and then half the battle is getting there and the other half is not having the military closing it down.
The week before I talked to a friend who had just been on a 3 day San Nick. They made it there, but it was rough, people were getting sick and the diving conditions sucked so they decided to leave and finish the last 2 days off at Catalina.
I watched the weather report the week before and they expected a mixed swell with wind, it didn’t look bad but I can tell you our trip wasn’t anything like the report said.
Now to the trip, like always there was traffic and I had hoped to get to the boat earlier then we did because I had a large Rubbermaid cart I was donating to the Pacific Star that I had disassembled in our car and I still needed to put it together so it could be used and not to mention I had the bunk assignments. When we arrived a crew member came out to our car and immediately put their new cart to use. I also like to get to the CIDA boat trips early so I can greet everyone as they show up.
After the boat briefing at 10:30pm most everyone went to bed for the trip out to San Nick. I couldn’t sleep and heard the boat start moving away from the dock. As we continued I kept hearing the boats transmission go into neutral and then forward again. I thought we were still in the harbor with problems so I went up to see what was wrong and it was then that I realized we were quite a few miles out of the harbor and the ocean was so calm that you couldn’t even tell the boat was moving. I also found out the problem was the crew was just adjusting the line on the skiff. With the ocean as calm as it was I could tell we were in for a treat!
We arrived to San Nick about 7:30am and it was just about calm enough to go water skiing. After breakfast the diving began with short moves, I should have asked for us to move a bit further each time-next year. The first couple of moves didn’t seem all that good and as we moved further west the structure got bigger and more lobsters were seen the only problem was that they were in the holes a bit to far to grab. The diving conditions were good especially because the week before was terrible. We had 10’-20’ of vis and the water temperature was in the low 60’s and very little surge.
The bug yield was OK, you really had to look for them and the best bug catching was in the shallow areas. I dove with a friend (Kristine) and most all our dives were between 10’-40’ deep. I was able to get a 7-8 pounder and another guy (Jimmy) caught a huge bug, over 10lbs. After dinner quite a few of us did the night dive which really was productive for most of us. Two people caught bugs that were easily over 10lbs. What would have been best would have been the chance for another night dive which I am going to work on for the 3rd Annual CIDA Bug Fest. After all the pictures and excitement it was time for bed and the trip over to Santa Barbara Island.
We left San Nick about 2:00am for Santa Barbara and I didn’t even know we were there until I heard the anchor drop, now that is a calm ride. After breakfast we moved to an outer reef in an area we did very well a few years back. We ended not being able to get on the spot we wanted and tried another spot close by. It was a pretty spot with lots of purple hydrocoral, but no bugs. We then moved to another spot with lots of playful seals and did find some bugs in the shallow area along some wash rocks along with lots of urchins. Vis was great at Santa Barbara running about 40’ and again with excellent dive conditions. The only problem was that timing for the day didn’t work out well and we only were able to make 2 dives. Next year I will have to get with the captain to make sure we can at least get 3 dives in on the last day.
Other than that, the trip was excellent and of course what made it so good was the people on the trip. My total take for bugs was 5 with a few others getting twice that and the total take for the trip was around 40. There were also 3 that were bigger then 12 lbs each and personally if I caught one that big I would take a picture of it and release it under water so it could return to its family and make many more lobsters for the coming years.