Blue Cavern Dives 10-18
If you haven't heard of Catalina's Blue Caverns, it's because it ain't an easy place to get to. The site is one of California's most strictly protected reserves, where nothing can be taken (including rocks and shells) and even anchoring is prohibited. The current is always going, so divers either need to get their Michael Phelps on or do a drift dive.
Divers willing to make the effort to visit Blue Cavern Point enjoy a pristine dive environment, home to bold sheephead and calico bass. Down near the bottom are the titular caverns that are a rush to explore. Make sure that your lamp is charged up and ready to go! The Blue Cavern dive is certainly a rare one and will certainly make your dive buddies jealous, and for bragging rights you can tell them that you swim like a champ too.
The other dive sight is Eagle Reef, where divers have recently spotted Giant Sea Bass and Eagle rays.The last time I was there, I found myself underneath a massive braid of kelp, where I found hundreds of tiny fish hiding beside me. I was mesmerized by the sight, and my dive buddy had to come and snap me out of it. A wonderful dive.
Santa Barbara Sea Lion Rookery 10-19
What's better than having a sea lion visit you during a dive? Lots of sea lions, of course! Santa Barbara Island's rookery is a pinniped lover's paradise, a nursery for many female California Sea Lions and their pups. For those who haven't dived with sea lions, they are very playful and aren't shy about approaching divers. I've felt them buzz by overhead and zoom around to take a quick peek at you before ducking through a frond of kelp, only to reappear when you least expect it. Sea lions are very rarely aggressive towards humans, and make for great photo opportunities.
The dive sites on Santa Barbara islands are worth visiting in themselves, home to vast marine biodiversity and purple hydrocoral. The sandy bottomed Arch Point is the ideal spot to get some video of sea lions playing in the kelp. This dive leaves from San Pedro with the Pacific Star, making it an easy drive for those living in the Los Angeles area.
Be Sure to Check out our Events Page
There is a lot of information coming at you via e-mail, and we know it's tough to keep your calendar straight in our busy lives. If it ever gets confusing when that Scuba Shindig BBQ might be or where the dive clean up is, all the information can be found easily on our Events Page.
Anyone who has attended our events can tell you that it's not only a good way to meet other scuba fans (or maybe run into that cute dive photographer you dove with last weekend) but it's a fantastic way to expand your scuba knowledge, give back to the ocean community, and even win prizes and free boat tickets. It's always worth your while, so make sure to stop by the events page and see what you can make it out to.
The Weird World of Rebreathers
This past weekend I got to witness rebreather divers in action, so I thought I'd do some research on rebreather technology. Rebreather diving actually predates SCUBA diving by several decades, the first being the Fleuss Rebreather. Invented by Henry Fleuss in 1878, it composed of a breathing bag, a copper tank of oxygen, and a rope soaked in caustic potash that served as a crude carbon dioxide scrubber. This device became an important part of WWII naval operations, and is a milestone in underwater exploration.
Modern rebreathers operate on the same basic principle, though they now are controlled by computer and many divers use some variation of trimix to reach extreme depths. Rebreather diving has always been used by military and commercial divers, mainly because it does not release bubbles. Navy divers needed to be difficult to detect by enemy ships, and commercial divers needed approach fish without spooking them. Most of all, rebreathers can reach immense depths without running out of air.
It wasn't until the 90's when rebreathers became available for recreational divers, and even then the costs can be prohibitive. The unit alone costs around 10,000 dollars, and the peripheral equipment can run tens of thousands more. That said, the rebreather can get you places that open circuit diving cannot. One rebreather diver I spoke to this weekend explained to me that California has tons of exciting dive sites that all lie well below recreational dive limits. Sunken battleships, plane wrecks, hidden caves, and other adventures lie in wait of those divers with the commitment and the funds to become rebreather experts. by Jarrett Leong
Sharks are Friends
Here in Los Angeles, and even further away, we've had sharks on the brain recently. From the July 5 Manhattan Beach pier shark bite incident, to numerous August juvenile shark sightings-the most dramatic of which prompted temporary San Clemente beach closures-we can't seem to get these apex predators off our minds. Add to that Discovery Channel's recent airing of its 27th annual Shark Week, and the impending 40th anniversary of the movie Jaws, and you have a recipe for shark obsession.
Unfortunately, the overall-arching theme of this recent shark fixation is fear. Sharks are often depicted as gigantic, mindless eating machines lurking beneath the waters waiting for their next unsuspecting swimmer snack. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. According to Oceana: "Over the past five years (2006-2010), an average of 4.2 fatal shark attacks have taken place each year world-wide."
Compare that to the number of sharks killed by humans. New statistics from the most comprehensive study on illegal shark killing ever completed estimate that 100 million sharks are killed every year around the world. This number far exceeds what many shark populations need to recover. Ironically, the sharks should be afraid of us, not the other way around.
With 350 known species that range in size and shape from the great whale shark (40 feet long) to the dwarf shark (6 inches long), sharks are ancient creatures, and have been around longer than any other animal, probably as many as 400 million years. Sharks are beautiful, fascinating creatures for scuba divers to observe underwater. So to quote Bruce-the-shark from the movie Finding Nemo: "I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine." Sharks are friends. Let's protect them, not fear them.
by Time Yeo
More Than Just Penetration
After Thursday Night's classroom prep we were all reeled up and ready to dive "Wreck Alley". It's an area just off the coast of Mission Beach where sunken ships and other structures have turned into a reef where hundreds of sea creatures are thriving. Once Saturday afternoon finally arrived a group of 19 divers, including ten students and two Eco instructors, boarded the Marissa dive boat with deep sea penetration in mind. The first stop was the Yukon; a 366' Canadian destroyer sunk in the summer of 2000. After a quick history lesson and overview by the crew we were ready to get wet.
Two dives on the Yukon were still not enough to explore the entirety of the ship. At depths between 65'-100' and a large amount of deck space to cover, every dive is a different experience. Covered in metridiums, the Yukon is an exciting and eerie dive all in one.
The second and fourth dives were done at the Ruby E; a 165' former Coast Guard Cutter. Sunk back in 1989 the Ruby E. is now covered in strawberry anemones, nudibranchs and home to large schools of blacksmith and bass. After 3 great dives between the Yukon and the Ruby E. we were finally ready to penetrate! On our fourth dive we penetrated the Ruby E.'s wheel house. The big openings gave us easy access for our first time. We penetrated in buddy teams and boy was it exciting.
As if four dives with a great group of people wasn't enough we managed to fit in a little extra fun by going out in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter Saturday night and snorkeling with leopard sharks in La Jolla Shores on Sunday afternoon. Topside bonding over dinner and drinks really added to the whole experience of the weekend. And snorkeling with dozens of leopard sharks was the cherry on top of the whole Wreck Weekend.
By Rachel Hartung