San Miguel-Peace-Nov. 10 & 11, 2018
This past weekend in my local area of Ventura County it was crazy with all the fires that were burning and the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks. With all the death and destruction around us I almost felt guilty going diving over the weekend and having one of the best trips EVER.
With both Hwy 101 and Hwy 1 closed the only way to Ventura from the south was Hwy 118 through Simi Valley and luckily that was easy going with everyone making it to the boat with no problems. Just a little longer drive but less traffic. Even the people from the north had to deal with lots of smoke from the deadly Paradise fire but the roads were open and once at the boat all the things that were happening left our minds with Mother Ocean working her charm.
This trip was scheduled to Begg Rock and San Nick and I had been watching the weather all week with a nice little window showing itself for the weekend. When it was time to make a decision and after talking to Captain Eric the plan changed due to several reasons making our new plan to dive the pinnacles off San Miguel. This was probably one of the BEST changes EVER and with all the wonderful diving we had I would bet everyone thought the same thing. Some of the sites we visited I haven’t been to for years and in my opinion they are some of the best the northern Channel Islands have to offer.
The weekend was beautiful topside as well as underwater with flat clam seas and just about zero wind or swell. Even the 5-6 hour ride out seemed like we were doing circles in the harbor. Our first stop on Saturday was Boomerang starting around 7:30 and finishing late in the day with Castle Rock. In between we did the foul area close to Wilson’s Rock, Canyons and drop off and for the night dive the group did Cuyler Anchorage in the MPA. For a Nov. weekend the anchorage was quite full making it not possible for us to anchor the night outside the MPA so those that wanted lobsters could only look at them.
On Sunday we started bright and early at 7:00 am with the first dive at Skyscraper and finishing the day with 2 more dives at the foul area. The Foul areas are named that on charts and for a GOOD reason. These areas are ones a boat WANTS to stay away from under normal circumstance that is if they want to keep floating. When calm like it was for us these areas are probably the best dives you will find anywhere and they are a lot like what the terrain is along the Big Sur coast.
They have lots of large crevices, walls from small to large, pinnacles, large vertical rocks, small caves and caverns and then top it off with many different types of fish and invertebrate life that covers every inch of rock and I think you get the picture. These sites you can never plan on it the only way to see them is to keep going on trips to Miguel and hope one day you will get to experience them.
Too top all this off the water temperature was in the mid to high 50’s which is not usual and vise was probably a good 40′-60′ and better in some areas and with little surge. I am certain this was one trip everyone will be dreaming about for some time!