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Casino Point: Rays, baitfish, barracudas and a giant black sea bass butt

Published on 2014-07-22 21:35:35

I had planned an extended week-end on Catalina Island, a little break before the real vacation in a few weeks.

Topside, the weather had been pretty good, but I must have pissed off some weird remote deity or something because once I reached the island on Friday, it was gloomy. It stayed that way until we left on Sunday. The worst part, is that the same finally came out and I had clear blue skies while I was waiting in line for the return boat. Bummer.

The diving, however, was great.

I did only three dives, my buddy and I decided to drink on Friday and hike on Sunday. The drinking and the hiking were great too, but that would require another article to explain, I'd rather focus on the diving.

All three dives were at Casino Point, in the dive park. We dove mostly the right side (south-east) of the park, and no deeper than 75ft. Visibility was not stellar but was pretty decent, considering July is probably the worst time to dive there. The water was a balmy 70F (21C) and the kelp forest seems to suffer from that. I did not.

On the first dive mostly around the Sujac wreck, we encountered a couple of moray eels, two Hypselodoris californiensis(orFelimare californiensis),tons of lobsters and abalones and a lone barracuda hunting a bait ball. That was pretty cool. I did not shoot much on that dive, but when I did, it was macro, 1/125s, flash on. Nothing new.

On the second dive, mostly around the Kismet wreck, we had a show of bat rays, I counted three, my buddy four. They may have been more... I shot video on this one, with manual white balance. Color & lighting correction in post-production now do wonders to average footage...

Third dive was very varied, we went back to the Kismet wreck area, shot more of the bat rays and then as I turned around to go back, a giant black sea bass came right at me. I saw the perfect shot, but my damn camera was off... Argh! The cover of NatGeo escapes me again! It took two tries to fire up the damn thing, and by the time I was ready to shoot, all I got was a fish but. But a pretty big fish, mind you, probably around 150lbs, that's quite a bit of sushi. I found a couple of octopus, and a funny bug that was feasting on a dead sea cucumber. When I start shooting, it decided it had to "run" away. I followed. It tried to hide in a little crack but it was already occupied... by a horn shark! More photo opportunity... Thank you bug, I'll remember that next time I order at the restaurant!

And the video!


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User comments

Posted by Thomas

On 2014-07-23 10:02:08

Great pics (of course), but the video was awesome! You should call it the UNDERSEA WORLD OF JEAN YVES!
Take me back home