San Clemente/Catalina 2 day trip-August 3 & 4, 2013
If you ever get the chance to dive San Clemente Island (SCI)-do it! SCI has some of the best SoCal diving there is, from lush reefs to some excellent vertical walls and not to forget a few wrecks, SCI is a diver’s paradise. SCI also offers some great visibility and warmer waters especially from August to September.
The only problem with SCI is the military owns it and some really cool dive sites including some of the wrecks like the John C. Butler in Northwest Harbor seem to be off limits most of the year. Even though these areas get closed there is still plenty of good diving at SCI. Because it is a large long island the lee side of the island can keep you busy exploring for days and on the Southeast side of the island around Pyramid Cove if you look closely along the shore and hills you can see lots of debris from military bombing practice. Never heard of them hitting a dive boat so no worries! This does bring another item into the mix, if you see something that doesn’t look like it should be there maybe you shouldn’t touch especially if it has metal fins on it and it is long and tube like.
For our trip we departed from the dock around midnight on Friday and were ready to dive at our first spot about 8:00am. The 1st dive was at Pyramid Cove at the Southeast end of SCI and afterwards we moved to Pyramid Point. One of the guys (Joe K.) was free diving and got a 29lbs. Yellowtail on the 1st dive-job well done Joe! For our 3rd dive we did Window Pane and then anchored at Little Flower for the rest of the day and night. Little Flower is a spot that soup fin sharks have been hanging around at but I usually am the one that seems to always miss them or barely catch a glimpse of a tail out in the distance. During the day we seen some black sea bass along with betrays and lots of schooling fish. I did a night dive with 2 others at Little Flower and it was an excellent dive with good vis, lobsters out everywhere, soup fin sharks and some very large horn sharks.
On Sunday we started our dive diving Farnsworth Banks. We had some current and surge but nothing too bad and some great visibility. It was a nice way to start the morning. Afterwards with the swell we had we decided the best move would be around the west end of Catalina with our 2nd dive at Johnson Rock and then Black Rock for the 3rd and last dive of the day. Most of the trip the visibility ran from 20′-50′ and water temperature was from the high 50’s to mid 60’s and to top it off the seas were calm for most all of the trip. The trip turned out excellent with a boat load of friends and fun times!
Keep an eye on the CIDA trip schedule because in 2014 we plan to have a few trips out to SCI both single and 2 day trips and some the we will make sure not to visit any MPA’s for the hunters and free divers.