Coastal trip towards Santa Barbara 10/2/11
Santa Barbara Coastal dive report for Channel Islands Dive Adventures. Trip was on the Raptor on Oct. 11, 2011 and was for sure something different.
I was really looking forward to this trip because it was truly something different. There are no recreational dive boats that do coastal diving especially North of Ventura and the Raptor worked out great for this. The one thing that did concern me was that typical opening weekend weather for bug season is winds and high seas, not this year. The one thing I knew would be in our favor is that we would be in the lee of Santa Barbara. As it turned out we had excellent weather, calm seas and very little wind which made for a nice trip.
I did turn several people away from this trip because they were looking for a pretty day of diving like at Anacapa and I was sure that wasn’t going to happen and I was right. Going north up the coast is much different then going south down the coast like around the Deep Hole area. The area between the Rincon and Montecito is shallow low lying reefs and usually not the best vis. The reason to go is because you are looking for something different and explore. I sure wasn’t disappointed and I know most others agreed.
We had a full boat (a few didn’t make it due to sickness) and with some dive spots to check (thank you Jonathan) out we left at 7:30am, did 3 dives and were back about 4:00pm. We first checked out a couple of spots along the Rincon from the surface to get an idea of the conditions and then decided on starting the dive day at Horseshoe Reef. I was diving with my grandson (Louie) and because I headed the wrong way it was towards the end of our dive when we finally came to the reef, just wish we had more time on it. The vis was about 10’-15’ and water temp was about 62° on all the dives. Horseshoe Reef was about 50’ deep and made up of smaller boulders with lots of sea fans, some bigger fish and few bugs. Some of the divers did see lots of swell sharks here and one friend happened to grab 4 bugs here.
We then pulled anchor and checked out Carp Reef which was only about 10 minutes away. We found a spot around the outer center and only about 25’ deep. Louie and I headed west through a sand area with some kelp and small rocks and didn’t see anything of interest so we turned and went towards the shore. I a short time we came to an area with bull kelp that was only about 3’ tall. This turned out to be a great spot and fun. We discovered that if we cruised along the bottom under the top of the bull kelp you would come up to area’s were the bugs were out and gathered in a group so then all we had to do was grab the largest ones which were all just a little bigger then legal size. It wasn’t as easy as it sounded, but we did manage to bag 3. We did try an area with lots of kelp and big rocks, but didn’t see anything there so we went back to the bull kelp and had more fun.
Afterwards we went did a little exploring (must go back to a few spots) and then went to 3 Spot reef for the 3rd dive. 3 Spot reef was only about 25’-35’ deep and was a great dive. When I started to dive on the reef I thought that with all the big and little boulders this dive site looked like a submerged ancient beach and it turned out I wasn’t the only one who thought the same thing. I liked this spot with the big boulders and crevices everywhere there was plenty to explore. Again, lots of sea fans, bigger fish and some bugs (I got 1). This also turned out to be a much bigger reef then we first expected and would love to go back again.
Now with the diving over it was time to head home. It was a beautiful day out, calm seas and cruising back along the coast was awesome. Trips like this is what Channel Islands Dive Adventures is all about, unique dive trips to places most people will never have the chance to check out. Take a look at the Channel Islands Dive Adventures dive schedule for more exciting trips like this one!!!
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By Ken Kollwitz