Bug Fest October 12 & 13, 2013
Santa Barbara Island Lobster dive trip report for Channel Islands Dive Adventures. Trip was on the Pacific Star on Oct. 12 & 13, 2013 and was one of the best!
The Bug Fest is always a fun trip and what isn’t fun about lobster diving anyways! Even the non-hunters enjoy this trip because lobsters like to hang out at dive sites that are fun for everyone and the more non-hunters there are the better it is for us hunters.
This trip was originally planned for San Nick & Santa Barbara Islands but when the charter price went up another $500.00 in the beginning of the year so the only choice CIDA had was to change the trip to Santa Barbara & Catalina Islands. It worked out because only a few really cared if we went to san Nick or not.
Everyone arrived on time for the briefing before we left and there was some concern & rumors about if we would be able to dive at all at SBI because of the federal government shutdown and SBI being a national park. I called my friend Bob who works on the Spectre and he said as long as we stay out of the MPA’s and say we are hunting we should be good. We never did have anyone come up and ask but it is always better to be prepared just in case we were boarded.
We left on time at 2:00 am and arrived at SBI about 7:30 just in time for the 1st dive at 8:00. Like always the hunters couldn’t get their gear on fast enough and it was a race to clear the gate, just like a horse race! Our 1st dive was at Arch Rock and once in we realized we were going to be treated to some nice diving conditions. water was warm, about 62° and the vis was excellent and probably at least 40′-50′. There were a few bugs taken here and then off to 3 Sisters. This area is shallow and looked very exciting but it wasn’t that good for bugs but it was an excellent dive site with lots of Bat Ray sightings.
Our 3rd dive we were thinking of Black Cave but the current was too strong so we motored around for a while till we decided on a spot outside of Castle Rock. This turned out to be a GREAT dive for me because I not only got 3 nice bugs but I was also lucky enough to spend part of the dive with 4 juvenile black sea bass which seemed to hardly notice me. Once back on the boat it seemed others had just as much fun as I did. The black sea bass are really making a comeback and nowadays you can see the BSB on lots of dives. For our 4th dive we went to Dexter’s which wasn’t far from Arch Rock. Here the structure reminded me of mini atolls and was very interesting but no bugs were to be seen. We than moved to the Anchorage and while there decided to make the move to Catalina for the night dive and eat dinner on the way over.
The trip over to Catalina went great. It was very smooth the whole way over, we ate dinner and watched an excellent movie and as we got closer us brave night divers (there was about 12) got ready to have some fun. We anchored at Black Rock and most everyone came back with bugs. The best place was at the point at about 40′-55′ deep. After I got my 2 to finish my limit I checked out the shallow area and only seen a few short ones so the point was the best. We stayed here for the night and then made our 1st day dive here. Not great for bugs here in the day because the rocks are too large with BIG holes for the little buggers to hide in. We than went to Eagle Reef where a few others got more bugs and the non-hunters had a great dive with more BSB sightings. Our 3rd dive was at Isthmus reef which is a beautiful reef and only a short distance out from Two Harbors. I sat this one out but heard it was great with some more bugs caught here.
Overall the bug count wasn’t as high as we would have liked but it sure seemed like everyone still had fun. Like I always say it is the people on the trip that REALLY make a trip fun and the diving is just a bonus along with getting any lobsters. The most lobsters taken was 7 with a few of us doing just that. This trip is getting popular and the next one is already scheduled for the 2nd week of October 2014.
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By Ken Kollwitz