9/5/2009 - Labor Day Dives
Time In: 8:51am / 11:24am
Dive Location: Laguna Beach, California
Dive Sites: S. Crescent, N.Crescent - Seal Rock
Viz: 10'+ / 15'-20'
Water Temp: 73-75°f, thermocline to 68°f at 33'(SUUNTO)
Max Depth: 36' / 35
Bottom time: 82 / 69 min.
Buddies: Rob C, Ice, Richard G, Bob W
Met up at South Crescent today for a couple dives. Ice drove down from LA for his very first OC dive, so the expectations were set high. I suggested a couple different dive plans and we agreed on South Crescent for dive #1 and Seal Rock for #2. We entered in to 75 degree sub-tropical water - nice! The beach has definately suffered some errosion during the last several weeks.
We descended into two groups, Rob C, Richard G, and Bob W led Ice and me along the reef. On the way to the reef we were treated with a large school of rubberlip perch swimming over a white sandy bottom with a beautiful blue water background. Wait, where are we again?
The strong surge quickly reminded us we were indeed in Laguna. I noticed an octopus take cover under a small kelp plant and went in for a closer look. I was treated to a very colorful demonstration of the creatures camoflauge ability before it took cover further up the reef. The next stop was a small lobster trap (I think) that had been disassembled sometime after it had been abandoned. Hidden in the bait compartment was a small curled up octopus. As I pointed the little guy out he lunged from his compartment and took cover beteen my BP and wing. I pointed to Ice and he took some quick shots before my 8 legged friend went back to the trap. As I was getting ready to get some video footage, the octopus again went on the move. First stop was on my mask, and the he quickly moved back under the cover of my wing. I had Ice confirm that he had moved on before we did. A very interesting, and comical, encounter.
We had hopes of being able to take the crevice to Shaws, up the reef and back over. This plan never took shape as we could see a blinding wall of bubble wash shoot out of the crescent side of the crevice. The Crescent reef provided plenty of action, including a brief visit by a harbor seal. We exited after 82 minutes of bottom time - which unfortanetly had been a little bit too toasty for Ice in his drysuit.
Richard, Rob C and I opted for one more dive. I left behind the video camera and decided to just enjoy the freedom of free hands on this warm water day (ok - so this also meant the fish were going to enjoy a small urchin snack). We descended at the end of the inner reef and swam towards the first large pinnacle. The reef was teaming with life. Rob requested me to rally the troops for some photo ops. I banged my knuckles on a rock and within seconds I was surrounded by dozens of garabaldi, calico bass and other fish. As we worked our way to seal rock I picked up a couple tasty urchin samples that I offered up to the fish that were brave enough to approach me. We passed by the south side of seal rock and a couple sea lions jumped in to to see what was generating all of the bubbles below. We continued on for another couple of minutes, before returning for another pass. This time, Richard and Rob noticed that the sea lions (unlike me) were curious and intrigued by their noise makers. A few more minutes of sea lion action and we headed back towards the north crescent reef. I headed back in a few minutes early, ascending after 70 minutes. Rob and Richard completed another 82 minute dive. 164 minutes underwater - not a bad dive day in Laguna Beach! A worsening cold has kept me out of the water for the rest of this Labor Day weekend - I hope others have continued to enjoy it!
Rob's pics from the dives: