2 day Coastal trip-November 15 & 16, 2014
By Ken Kollwitz
This is a trip I had been planning and waiting for with much anticipation and enthusiasm. Why you might ask? Because this is the first time ever CIDA was able to get a 2 day trip going down the coast diving spots that not even the Peace had ever been to. I have dived most of the spots we planned for Sunday but Saturday our first day out was all totally new. We did have a plan and I talked to lots of people before but this was really what an adventure trip is all about.
We started at Topanga reef which we will NEVER do again but at least all the diving got extremely better after that. Maybe we were at the wrong spot at Topanga but after metering for quite a bit we did a dive and with only about 12” of visibility at the bottom and very little structure most of us ended our dive way before we had to including myself. I can say that all the dives got MUCH better after this!
Our next stop was Big Rock which turned out to be a very nice dive having about 25’ of visibility making this MUCH better then Topanga. There were some very large rocks, lots of crevices, a few small walls along the other area and LOTS of sea fans and the most horn sharks I have ever seen in one dive. The one problem here is the deepest part is about 25’ and it is a small reef so after a while we found ourselves going in circles to make the dive last more than 30 minutes.
Our next stop was an area just a little north/west of Malibu Pt. which is near the Malibu Lagoon area. There are lots of places to dive along this part of the coast that I call the Malibu Bluffs with the reefs being smaller spot reefs with clean white sand between them and lots of kelp growing from each reef. Some of the shallower ones in 20′ of water where some of the biggest with the reefs getting smaller the deeper we went. Vis here was at least 30’ or better and it was lots of fun.
We then moved to Latigo Canyon reef which was just totally awesome. We had an AMAZING dive here with the bluest water I have seen in a long time and excellent reef structure. This will be our starting point for next year’s trip on November 14 & 15, 2015. This was a very large reef running from about 25’-40’ deep and lots of rocks spaced all over with some sand between and lots of kelp growing all the way up. The rocks had lots of bugs, none large but some that were legal but with the water as blue as it was all I could think about is “I wish I had my camera setup”. After the dive was over you could tell everyone who did it thought the same thing-what an excellent dive!
Our next and last day dive was outer Little Dume which is another must do. There were tons of lobster traps and buoys here and I was able to see why during the dive. Lots of structure here and a very large extensive reef. We set the anchor in about 35’ but the reef around us went from 30’-50’ with it getting even deeper out on the outer areas. This area was also just outside the Pt. Dume State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) making it an excellent spot for hunting. Even if you were not a hunter this spot would please everyone with lots of kelp, sea fans, invertebrates and more. I even found some old bottles.
This was our last day dive and our plan was to move inshore closer to Paradise Cove but with the main part of the reef in the SMCA Captain Eric decided to move back down to Latigo for dinner and the night dive. Before dinner we discussed our options for Sunday because of all things a strong east wind event was scheduled to come up during the night and in a boat along the coast is not a place to be when something like this happens. At dinner we let everyone know the plan and as decided we would leave for Santa Cruz Island right after the night dive. The few of us making the night dive had a good time and one thing we seen that no one remembers seeing before were very large shrimp that were about 4”-6” long. They were swimming along the sandy bottom and were very cool to watch.
After the last person got back on board from the dive the crew pulled anchor and off we were for a bumpy ride all the way up to Santa Cruz. We stopped someplace out of the wind for a few hours while we slept and then in the morning we continued west past Painted Cave. I feel for Eric having to run the boat so far and all the fuel he had to use to make our trip as best as possible. That is one reason why the Peace is probably the best boat around!
On Sunday we dived Painted Cave annex, Del Mar Caves, Hazards area and went into Painted cave. It was fun and good thing Santa Cruz always has somewhere you can get out of the wind and current. Our bug count was not bad either but I really missed the diving along the coast because the spots we planned to dive on Sunday were some of the best there are. Part of being a diver is to know that plans always can be changed and you must be able to go with the flow. If you can’t than diving just is not for you, at least here in good ole SoCal!