Sunday, February 24, 2008

After a couple of days of research, I was pretty sure I ran into a basking shark in Breakwater last time. It's was a rare treat nevertheless.

On president day weekend, I went down to Ventura for a couple of days diving on the Anacapa island. Weather has been up and down and the weekend looks promising and turns out to be quite nice. A long 4+ hrs drive to Santa Barabara, made my usual stop and dine at the Brothy Bros at the pier before finish the last 40 minutes drive to the Ventura harbor. We went with the Spectre Boat, this was a good sized boat but you know, I never really care the bunk bed treatment ...

With the hope of running into sea lions and better luck with shooting wide angle, I carefully set up the Tokina 10-17, made sure all lock up nicely and pray for the weather and clearity of the water. I did 7 dives for 2 days and it was excellent visibility on the first 3 dives and good for rest. Water was extremely calm, totally different than last year which was my first visit. I did wide angle for the first 3 dives and the rest with th 60mm. The most fun site for me was the underwater arch, it was packed with sea lions. I would be just fine hoovering behind the arch and just wait for them to zoom by.

Here is the album - Anacapa 2008 Febuary. Hope you like it !

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I ran into something huge, really huge for the first time in Breakwater after hunderds of dives in Breakwater. The condition of yesterday was bad, not extremely bad but there were good amount of side to side movement (especially in the middle above those rock patches at 15~20ft) and really low vis, bout 5 to 7 ft at most.

So, this happen on my way back from the Metridium field, I was looking for the pipe to go back shore heading straight South. It took me 30 kicks from the end of the pipe to the met field but I had about 40 kicks now and so I thought I might have off coursed because of the surge pulled me outward . All the sudden there was a big black wall in front of me and it moves, very slowly left to right! I stopped, if I didnt' stop I would have ran right into it. It's low vis, so I am probably just 5 ft away. I look at my computer, it was 42 ft and I was about 3 ft off the bottom. I saw some little thing grow on the body &amp. My mask was constantly fogged up yesterday, so I had to clear my mask. I look right, the furtherst I can see, I saw nothing, the big black body just faded into the murky water. Look left, same, so the immediate thought came to mind was WHALE. I must have ran into a whale, it moves very slowly, about 2 secs later I saw the tail went from my left to slowly faded into the right. I didn't have the camera ready, my strobes was off already. Yet I try to take a shot but it won't focus and it wont fire. Anyway, because of such low vis and I am all by myself, I didn't follow, not to mention I am only about 750 PSI left.

So I was very excited thinking about the encounter as I continue to paddle my way back to shore. As I walk up the stair back to my car, something strike suddenly, the tail ! What I saw earlier ... the tail was vertical and swing side to side !! Whale tail was horizontal and flip up and down. So what the hack did I just ran into - SHARK. This was a big huge shark. Remember I was about 5 ft away at most from touching it, look right, I didn't see the head, look left , I didn't see the tail until 2 sec passed. This thing must be 20~25+ ft ! It was a pretty feaky experience espeically in such low vis and alone. It's hard to believe a huge shark hang around in Breakwater and at such shallow water and close to the bottom. I have no way confirming what I saw yesterday but knowing mutual respect & kept distance might be the only reason how I could have came back in one piece and that I slept well last night.