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Hurricane Dolores? No Fear! Let's dive Farnsworth!

Published on 2015-07-21 08:38:40

It was supposed to be the end of the world.

Depending on the weather forecast agency you looked at, doom was upon us, or at least some pretty nasty conditions. Hurricane Dolorès had been wrecking havoc off the coast of Baja all week and we were supposed to feel its wrath here in Southern California by the week-end.

And of course, SOCDC had their yearly Farnsworth Bank trip planned for exactly that week-end! Oh my!

I had dove Farnsworth a couple of years ago, and if topside conditions were pretty nice, it had not been the same underwater with strong currents and poor visibility.

This time, although Marine Weather for forecasting only 2 to 3ft swell with occasional 1-2ft wind surf, I was prepared for the worse and was expecting ugliest conditions with a puke-prone crossing, and no-viz at the site.

It was actually pretty good, considering...

Some of my fellow divers reported 100ft viz. This is absolute BS. Probably the same as the manta sighting. Probably nitrogen-narcosis induced hallucinations or someone forgot to check their fish-flips before the dive... Viz was probably in the 40-50ft range, which is quite decent but not great for the area. Farnsworth Bank is a set of pinnacles rising from hundreds of feet down below, all the way to 75-60ft at their top where the boats usually anchor. They are located on the back (West) side of Catalina Island, a 3 hour boat ride from Long Beach. The scenery is made spectacular by the presence of purple hydro-coral, a very pretty variety of hard coral, that, though not endemic to the location, is pretty much found only there on a day trip from LA. It's also famous for its congregation of sculpins and electric rays.. And this year, again, the electric rays were pretty elusive for me... But not the sculpins, as they were everywhere and reportedly pregnant (hence their bad attitude and grumpy face).

Surge was also pretty nasty on the pinnacle, forcing everybody to suck their air like there was no tomorrow. I was down to 700 psi (50 bars) in less than half an hour after having fought the current and swim back to the boat. Hopefully that exercise will have a positive impact on my upcoming blood work...

Anyway, conditions were not great, but surprinsingly better that expected considering the hurricane, that still dumped a pretty decent amount of water on us and the rest of Southern California, enough to extinguish a couple of brush fires but certainly not  to solve our drought problems.

Photo-wise, I shot everything at Tv 1/125, forced flash and macro. No need trying anything else. Since there was no electric rays (and certainly no mantas either), I did not shoot any video.

With the cloud cover and the sun rising on the horizon, there were also some very nice topside photo opportunities.



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