West Santa Cruz-Peace-June 9, 2018
By Ken Kollwitz
Went out on the Peace Saturday, June 9, 2018 for a trip to the backside of Santa Cruz. Originally CIDA had only half the boat but luckily I was able to sell the entire boat with a trip to Gull Island and Flame Reef in hopes for the photographers to get there fill of nudi’s and other cool underwater creatures.
The week before had an ugly wind forecast and I had about 6 people check with me to see if we were still going and of course that was a BIG YES! We started out at 3 am with a little bit of a bumpy ride but not much different then the usual and as we cruised around the side of the island it smoothed out to flat seas and beautiful sunny weather. The only problem is the forecast was increased to a gale warning starting at 3 pm so Captain Steven decided the best thing would be to make it a 3 dive day so we could cross channel before it became a REAL problem.
We tried to get to Gull Island but the wind would not have us so instead our first dive was at Bowen Point which turned out great. We had water temps of around 60 and about 30′ vis but the water was somewhat stirred up making it not the best clarity but still nice. After Bowen, Steven made an excellent choice to skip Drop Off reef which was planned for the second dive and go straight to Flame Reef.
Flame Reef turned out to be GORGEOUS and was so nice we did 2 dives there. Personally I could spend the whole day in this area without moving much at all (maybe next year). We had blue, clear, 60 degree water and about 40′ plus vis. Standing on the boat deck and looking down was about as magical as it was underwater seeing the kelp laying at the surface with lots of fish just under the surface.
Everyone was happy especially the photographers! Afterwards we ate lunch quickly as once we started to cross the channel that is when mother nature was not so nice to us. The trip back was one of those trips that you better wedge yourself in someplace, be happy and keep your mind off it till you get to the dock. It did somewhat get better and it seemed like everyone had an awesome day diving-I know I did!