Heading back to Anacapa


 

Urchins

After the previous days Whale watching trip I was a little worried that the ocean conditions would be less then ideal for diving. The weather was warm and sunny but there was still enough wind that the waves were choppy crossing the channel. Several people were looking rather green by the time the dive boat found a suitable sheltered spot to anchor. Everyone manged to stay in good spirits though and the diving was a lot of fun. I was enjoying the warm temps(57F that’s approx. 13C) since its considerably warmer then Monterey or salt point were the last time I dove those water temps were 51 to 52F. Some people said they were cold anyway but I presume they were used to tropical waters.

Garibaldi

We were greeted with the usual critters, Garibaldi, sea hares, anemones, urchins various rock fish and numerous fish darting in and out of the kelp. Due to the conditions we stayed anchored in relatively shallow waters so I didn’t see any of the large sheepshead fish and groupers I’ve spotted on other trips.

chiton and purple urchins

Fish amongst the kelp

Sand dab

Sadly there appears to be a lot more of the Invasive species that are preventing the normal kelp forests from growing as abundantly as it usually does and which hides the rocky bottom where so many interesting critters live. I also noticed a lot more brittle stars then I have in previous years.

sea hare

 

brittle stars

After the first couple of dives we enjoyed a delicious lunch back on the boat and a short rest before the final dive of the day. this time I spotted some tube anemones and had to stop and take pictures.

Tube anemones

 

All to soon it was time to head back after a final stop to say bye to the dolphins jumping in the channel. We arrived back to Ventura where I loaded the motorcycle up for the ride home.

Thar She blows!


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When the local Bakersfield Scuba club was kind enough to schedule an outing during my Spring break from classes I felt I just had to go. After I had signed up I mentioned to a co-worker I’d head down after work Friday and spend the night on the boat, she pointed out the office would be closed for good Friday. I decided to head to Ventura early and signed up for a whale watching trip with IslandPackers the company that  also provides trips out to the Channel Islands. After a leisurely start I headed out Friday morning and spotted these California poppies growing way up on this hillside while stopped for gas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I still made in to Ventura well before lunch time and my 1PM departure time so I stopped and got some lunch then wandered around the shops in the harbor and took a few pictures of the sea lions that were playing amidst the boat docks, also a few sea birds and the pelicans diving into the harbor img_5492-l  kept me entertained.

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It wasn’t long till it was time to board the Island Explorer and head off in search of whales.

Turned out the seas were a little choppy and folks who opted to stand out along the bow rail got wet as we crossed the deep part of the channel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We slowed for awhile when a Fin whale was reported to be off the port side but I never spotted it. We then continued around Anacapa Island and along the more sheltered side we spotted several grey whales. First sighting I had for the day was a big tail fluke sticking straight out of the water:)

img_5681-x2 It wasn’t long though till we also saw the spouts of water being blown in the air from several other whales coming up to the surface.

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All to soon it was time to head back to port. We got to pause and admire the numerous dolphins that swim near the islands on our way though.

img_5663-xl They really do seem to enjoy seeing who can ‘surf’ the waves coming of the boats the furthest as we go by.

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Arriving back in port I still had a couple of hours to kill till the Spectre was due to be at the dock so I decided to wander down to the little dive shop in the harbor and then go get some dinner. At the shop I was lucky enough to run into some folks who had come down from Bakersfield for the trip and we all decided to head over to Brophy Bro’s seafood restaurant for dinner. It being a holiday weekend and a Friday night there was a long wait for a table or even a spot at the bar but we weren’t in any rush and I’m sure the food tasted even better after our wait. After a very enjoyable dinner we wandered over to the dock found the boat waiting for us and a few divers already aboard. A couple of us stayed up on deck late telling sea tales and then it was time to hit the rack and rest up for diving, but I’ll leave that part for my next post.

End of Summer


Upper Twin Lake

Upper Twin Lake

Well I guess it’s official, summer has once more come and gone. I’m back in school juggling classes and work so no adventurous outings for awhile.

As I previously posted though I did have a final trip this Labor Day weekend. I once more loaded the backpack/tent and all my caving gear onto the motorcycle and headed up to the Kaiser wilderness.

Near Kaiser pass

Near Kaiser pass

I stopped at the Ranger station near Huntington Lake and learning there were limited permits available I signed up for a fifteen person permit. I tried calling Ron to let him know that I had a permit but there was no signal, so I headed to the trail head and after stashing my food in one of the bear boxes there I backtracked to Shaver lake so I could call and let Ron know I had a permit. Back at the trail head I set up camp and called it a night. I got up early the next morning and after making coffee on my camp stove hiked up a nearby hill to enjoy the view. I spent the rest of the day hiking along the trail and talking to some other hikers I spotted entering the wilderness. Since they were exiting the next day though they wouldn’t effect our permit. I returned to the trail head and once more set up camp.While cooking dinner I noted cows wandering nearby and my curiosity got the better of me so I investigated where they were heading and found a nearby spring that had a fixed pipe coming out of it. This makes it a convenient place to fill up water before heading out on the trail but definitely requires   filtering /treatment.

That night people began rolling in but since I was warm in my sleeping bag and tent I didn’t bother to investigate how many had arrived till the next morning. After a leisurely breakfast I packed up my gear and wandered over to where others were beginning to gather. Turned out we had 31 people! The person who had said they’d pick up a wilderness permit didn’t show so we were short. Fortunately two or three people had hiked over from the eastern Sierras so they would continue on their on wilderness permit, one person had picked up a permit for himself and the rest agreed to hike for the day and then return to Sample Meadow Campground so it worked out ok.

30 people (I'm not in there, someone had to take the picture)

30 people (I’m not in there, someone had to take the picture)

We split up into three groups roughly based on who was interested in visiting what caves, hiking speed and or whether they would be camping in the wilderness and off we went.

wildflowers

wildflowers

more wildflowers

more wildflowers

and still more wildflowers

and still more wildflowers

In spite it being so late in a very dry summer at this altitude there was still plenty of wildflowers and while I did notice the first stream we reached was dry most had at least some water in them.

The day war,ed up quickly and the trail got a bit steep but fortunately it wasn’t a long hike and soon enough it was time to put down our packs and check out some caves.

Limestone, wonder if there's a cave nearby?

Limestone, wonder if there’s a cave nearby?

This hole goes somewhere...

This hole goes somewhere…

Stephen in the cave.

Stephen in the cave.

Amanda

Amanda

Emerging from one of the caves we got our first view of a Marmot on this trip as one was sunning itself on the rocks overlooking the cave.

Marmoset

Marmoset

After visiting a couple of caves those of us who were camping overnight made our way over by the lake where we found a good spot to set up our tents. We then had a good time gathered in the center of our  ‘camp’ preparing dinner and chit catting about a wide variety of subjects. It got cold pretty quickly after dark though so most of us headed for our tents fairly soon after the sun went down.

Getting up the next morning I was admiring the warm sun rising above the trees when Jessica asked if I’d seen the lake yet this morning? I hurried over and admired it’s beautiful mirror like surface before taking a few pictures.

mirror smooth lake

mirror smooth lake

Then after breakfast it was back to caving.

Thin rock proves translucent

Thin rock proves translucent

Pink Marble

Pink Marble

Happy cavers

Happy cavers

Caving

Caving

As a special treat we spotted a cave cricket on the way out so I stopped to photograph it.

Cave cricket

Cave cricket

All to soon it was time to start packing things up and beginning the hike back to civilization.

I hated to leave but after four days of camping a hot shower and my own bed sounded pretty good.

Goodbye Marmot, See you next year.

Goodbye Marmot, See you next year.

Weekend BBQ at Cave City


Coulterville

Coulterville

I wouldn’t normally drive nearly 300 miles for a BBQ but when the opportunity includes a chance to catch up with some caving friends I haven’t seen in a while and do some sightseeing well why not?

I loaded the motorcycle and headed north. I took the scenic route, winding my way through the foothills. I finally stopped at Coulterville for a break and a cold drink. I walked around the Historic Hotel Jefferey took a look at the old steam train and various gold rush era things on display. Finally I told the Duke at the Emporium farewell and headed on to lake Camanche to set up camp for the night. It was a busy summer weekend and this is a popular spot so I was not alone but at least I’d be back on the road before the big crowds arrived.

mining equipment

mining equipment

Emporium

Emporium

Camp for the night

Camp for the night

Lake Camanche, water levels looking pretty low.

Lake Camanche, water levels looking pretty low.

I awoke in the morning and turned on my cell phone, figured I’d check my messages before heading back into the hills where I wouldn’t have signal. Just then my phone rang! It was Ric checking to see if I was coming to the BBQ. I told him I’d see him up there in a couple of hours and after a stop at Valley Springs for coffee and supplies I made my leisurely way on through San Andreas and on to Cave City.  Ric arrived a little after I did and it turned out we were the only ones to arrive early. That was OK though as we had plenty of time to catch up and see that the cave tours were doing plenty of business. We wandered over to the gift shop and reminisced about how we’d watched it being built and slowly transformed over the years. They now have a video viewing area and a full bear skeleton on display. We also spotted a couple of deer behind the gift shop.

gathering for the BBQ

gathering for the BBQ

It wasn’t long before others began arriving and slowly we started organizing the lighting of the grills so that dinner could begin.

Matt was doing some last minute prep on his pitch for the Convention in Ely next year and showed us a new promo video he put together which really looked great. I’m looking forward to attending.

Matt making last minute edits

Matt making last minute edits

Deer behind the gift shop

Deer behind the gift shop

Climbing practice

Climbing practice

After dinner in addition to Matt’s video, Dave gave a great slide show on some of his recent cave trips including the Bonne Terre lead mine in Missouri which is on my list of place I’d like to dive someday. After his great slide show there were some enterprising folks who made a squeeze box/obstacle course out of Rons ladder.

Hold your beer or lose your pants, decisions, decisions.

Hold your beer or lose your pants, decisions, decisions.

All to soon it was over. After a good nights sleep in my tent it was back on the road for the long drive home.

Another great weekend in the MotherLode