Santa Barbara Island-Peace-May 7, 2016
We had a nice trip to Santa Barbara Island (SBI) this past Saturday, May 7, 2016 with PCH Scuba aboard the Peace. The weather was excellent and with the calm seas and cool looking stormy clouds over the mountains on the main land it really made for a very nice day, especially because the ride out to SBI is about 5 hours.
The dive conditions were good with 25′-35′ visibility and mid 50’s water temp. I heard it was only about 10′-15′ visibility at Anacapa/Santa Cruz while we were at SBI so it looks like we went to the best spot possible. Good thing it was nice and calm because we had a number of newer divers on the trip. The dive sites we visited were good for the newer divers with some of them being easier sites for newer divers. We started out at a spot that I just can’t remember its name but I do know it was in a marine protected area (MPA). The second dive was at Elephant Cove, the third at Arch Rock and last dive at the sea lion rookery.
It wasn’t the best time to go out if you wanted to see the sea lions because it wasn’t the time of year for them to be at SBI. We did still see a couple of smaller groups of sea lions while on our dives. One thing my buddy and I did see that was strange was that one sea lion came down to the bottom in front of us and picked up a small sea hare. It then started playing with it like a cat does to a mouse before eating it. It played with it all the way to the surface and then another sea loin joined it with them bouncing it between each other. I never did see the end so don’t know what happened to the poor little sea hare. Of course we seen lots of small dog sized lobsters in the MPA and nice kelp forest still growing with little sargassum grass which was very nice to see. The sargassum grass has taken over many sites around some of the islands especially the front side of Catalina and this has really made a big impact on the dive sites worth diving. Luckily it looks like the outer islands like SBI are still doing well with very little grass growing at them.
After our dive day was done we had a nice calm 5 hour ride back to the harbor talking to others and learning more about each other. It is always nice having FUN people on trips and this was no exception!
By Ken Kollwitz