Santa Cruz Island (AKA-SBI)-May 5, 2018
By Ken Kollwitz
Saturday we had an excellent day at Santa Cruz Island diving Gull Island, Bowen Point and Flame Reef aboard the Peace. We were scheduled for Santa Barbara Island but after talking it over with Eric I think we made the best decision.
The expected weather made us on the edge of do we go or not. If we do we will probably have a boat load of sick people before we even get to SBI. This is not good especially when you are too sick to dive and still have a not so nice ride home. If we don’t go we probably will not have the sea lions and maybe not as good of vis but then no sick people who can enjoy the day of diving. My VOTE is Santa Cruz.
Honesty we didn’t have lots of hope for the vis as it hasn’t been very good most everywhere lately but we were all VERY pleasantly surprised having about 35′ plus on all dives. Water temp was around mid 50’s and cool for the wetsuit divers (good thing for the hot tub) but then this isn’t the time of year to expect it to be warm. SoCal diving has lots to offer but when you are cold nothing is fun and I have been there done that and that is why I now use my drysuit almost all the time.
So we started out on the south side of Gull Island with lots of kelp, cool structure and some of the friendliest sheephead I have seen in some time. It was getting very windy topside so we picked up anchor and moved to Bowen Point where it was calm and nice out. Another good dive with some of the best vis I have had at this location in a while. Nice thing here is Craig Hoover and I did our good deed for the day by freeing about 5 lobsters out of a cage and making it so nothing would get trapped in it again. Sad thing was there was this one big lobster crouched down in the corner not moving and when we pulled it out no wonder because it was missing all but 2 legs that might have been food for the others to stay alive.
Our last dive was to be Drop Off Reef but the Vision was on it so we went to Flame Reef which was by far the BEST choice. Flame Reef was on fire with all kinds of life including some nudibranchs that some of us never have seen. Could have easily spent the entire 3 dives just at this one site.
As divers we need to remember that weather plays an important role in where we end up and what conditions will be at any given minute, hour or day and my best advice is to go on a trip thinking you will get some diving in and anything else is a bonus.