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1st Annual CIDA San Nick (not) Bug Fest-10/31 & 11/1

I had been looking forward to this trip for quite some time. Diving for bugs is one of my favorite things to do and San Nick is the place to go for the larger bugs.  With less visitors that get to San Nick and less divers it equates to bigger bugs and more legal sized ones, most of the time.

When we arrived to the boat we found out that the departure time had been changed to 2:00am which meant we where not going to San Nick. It turned out that the military had closed the island so now Santa Barbara Island was our new destination.

We had an excellent weather window for the trip and the ride to Santa Barbara Island was very calm and smooth with only an occasional bump. Our 1st stop was Black Cavern and after that we moved to 5 other locations such as Shag rock and Webster point. We also had a night dive at the Anchorage for a total of 7 possible dives, but then there is no way you could do them all so you could pick and choose depending on what your computer and your body told you. Most everyone did an average of 5 dives, including myself.

The conditions were not the Santa Barbara Island norm with the visibility being between 15’-25’ and green water. The visibility did open to 40+ on the Black Caverns dive after you got below 65’ and that was the only time it got better with clear water. Even the water temp was colder then expected. The bug catching also wasn’t what we expected with a few being caught here and there. I was lucky enough to get 2 good sized bugs (4 and 6 lbs) and only 1 other legal and I was doing well and that was after covering lots of ground.

On Sunday evening we anchored up and had a wonderful roast pork dinner and then about 8 of us went for a night dive. At about 3:00am the Peace left and headed to the Yellowbanks area of Santa Cruz in hopes of some better diving conditions. This turned out to be a good call as the day turned out awesome. The sunrise was beautiful as it rose up and shined on the walls of Yellowbanks.  We ended up having sunshine, calm seas, clear water and much better visibility at Santa Cruz-who would think this would happen.

I ended up getting another 6 bugs on Monday for a total of 9 including a 4lb and 6lb bug; it was sure nothing to complain about. Like always, the food and crew were fantastic and with the excellent weather along with the smaller group (17) the trip couldn’t have been any better. I would have to say that the 1st annual Channel Islands Dive Adventures Bug Fest was a successful one!

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