Back at the Ventura harbor we located our next ride out to the Islands, the dive boat Spectre.
There was no one aboard when we arrived but we spotted someone dropping off some supplies who assured us it was OK to go aboard and pick out our bunks for the night. We met two other divers that were coming aboard to spend the night, Casey and his daughter Elise. Then we walked over to a nearby Greek restaurant for dinner. The next morning there was breakfast served on the boat and while we cruised out to Anacapa Island we had plenty of time to set up our dive gear. There were a fair number of divers, but it wasn’t a crowded boat. The diver stations on the Spectre are very convenient with plenty of room for tanks and gear. Tank fills are done in place at your station which is nice. I got my gear in place. The Spectre itself is a large steel hulled boat that used to service the oil platforms. A good boat for rough water but we didn’t experience any of that. It was nice and calm and fairly warm despite being very overcast. It was nice after the hot, blazing sunlight of the valley. I initially had trouble with my buoyancy as I had borrowed a weight belt from Dave and underestimated the lead I’d need by a couple of pounds, but the dive master on board quickly remedied that by clipping a soft weight to me. Quickly enough we were headed down toward the bottom. There were 3 dive sites that we visited, Landing cove, Cathedral cove and The Goldfish Bowl. It was a wonderful day of diving, the water was about 59 degrees, we saw lots of sheepshead, and Garibaldi, various small fish, sea hares, and the rocks are covered with colorful algae, various sea cucumbers, and anemones – a great assortment of invertebrates. We even saw some spanish shawl nudibranchs and a good specimen of California’s biggest spider crab, Loxorhynchus grandis, commonly called a sheep crab. That evening we ate dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant and were joined by Donovan and Laura two of the divers that had been aboard the Spectre with us. Donovan was originally from New Zealand and they had some great stories about traveling around doing filming and recording in interesting parts of the world as well as their home in France. After dinner we met up with Casey and Elise again who would also be joining us the next day onboard the Peace for another trip out to Anacapa.
Our second day of diving was just as good as the first though I was pleased to find that the food on the Peace was even better then the great food we had on the Spectre. The diving was similar to the previous day’s at nearly the same locations, though this time we spotted a couple of large jellyfish which I had fun photographing and we visited swim through rock, a small sea cave or arch that
is completely underwater, here I got to video a sea lion come flying through the opening and go flying past me.
During the last dive of the day Casey spotted a lobster and pointed it out so I got some pics and video of that as well. We all enjoyed a dessert of apple cobbler with ice cream on the ride back to Ventura.
After getting back to shore Dave and I headed up the coast to San Luis Obispo where we checked into a motel for the night and enjoyed a surprisingly good cajun dinner with a live jazz band. The next day we took our time driving up the coast on highway 1, we stopped to watch the elephant seals near San Simeon, and walked around point Lobos to check out the diving conditions there. All too soon though, we were back in the valley enjoying the blazing sun again. I can’t wait to visit the sea caves of the Channel Islands again and I think I may try hiking at Pinnacles again in the spring when it’s cooler.