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West end Catalina & the wreck of the Midnight Hour

pacific starThe Midnight Hour was a fishing vessel until it sunk a few years back and now it is becoming another artificial reef. It can be a good dive when the conditions are on your side and this was one trip that they weren’t! We had a small group of twelve eager divers with scooters and doubles already but between the swell and the current (mainly the current) the dive was just not going to happen on this day and it wasn’t for not trying. We dropped a weight, float and line but the current was screaming and if it wasn’t we would have done a live drop on it but it just wasn’t meant to be so we headed around the corner to the front side to Albert’s Pinnacle.

lingcodPlan B worked out great after having some difficulty getting the anchor to grab. When I first went down, I got to the anchor and seeing it swaying in the water with no bottom to be seen I knew there was a problem so it was back up so the Pacific Star could reposition but by this time people were scattered and it proved to not be the easiest thing to re-anchor. Finally after a couple of attempts the anchor held and off we went. Albert’s Pinnacle is a series of 3 pinnacles with some large crevices and vertical walls with one that was 65’-110’ ft. deep. I spent all my dive on the wall inspecting the ledges and crevices for some cool photo subjects. As in usually Catalina fashion there were lots of sea fans growing out on the wall and lots of sea stars, nudibranches and some lingcod hanging out on the ledges. The top of the pinnacle was covered with lush kelp and schools of fish. It also looked like it could be a great lobster spot and I am not referring to taking pictures of them!

scallopBecause we took the time to see about making the 1st dive on the Midnight Hour and couldn’t it was now time for lunch just after the 1st dive. The Pacific Star then moved down to Eagle Reef were we could get out of the swell and current for our 2nd dive. Eagle Reef was nice and I spent my entire dive in the saddle between the two high points at about 40’-50’ deep taking pictures and trying out my new ULCS flip tray. The guys with the scooters were able to circle the entire Eagle Reef several times and it sounded as if they had a good time.

pacific starThe Pacific Star then pulled anchor for a short move to Ship Rock where we did a live drop as to not to waste any time trying to anchor. Ship Rock is always a good dive but I was surprised at how bad the Sargassum grass has taken over everything around Ship Rock this past year and it look as though it took its toll on the reef. After everyone was on board and roll call was conducted we headed back to the dock getting in about 6:15pm. All in all it turned out to be a very nice day!

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