Published on 2017-07-28 20:57:50
It's been more than a year since my last post here and it's not because I moved to the Midwest or (worse) back to Europe, it's not because I have been eaten by one of those great whites that are now cruising around our shores (Great Whites don't eat humans, they taste funny. The problem is that they have to taste you first to know that and that can be real painful).
It's not either because I got lazy or got busy at work, no it's simply because over the last year or so conditions have sucked so bad in SoCal that not many of us even bothered to go diving!Sure I went to Cozumel last Summer. I could have written a fantastic story about the elusive toad fish (international symbol: right hand under your chin, wiggle your fingers), the forgotten ruins, the guy who does awesome Mayan art and sell it for almost nothing in the middle of nowhere, the crocodiles of the mangrove (which by the way are not saltwater crocs, so we're still safe diving), but, well, I kind of got lazy on that one I admit, plus I already have several reports here about Cozumel, so I passed. I also dove in September last year but even though the conditions were not that bad, the damn sargassum had taken over pretty bad... Too depressing for a story.
But this morning, I decided to ditch work and go diving. In Shaw's Cove. Alone.
Conditions topside were fine. Overcast, in the mid-60s, 1 to 2ft surf, almost zero swell. Viz did not look good and hadn't been reported higher than 10ft since last year. But I went. Twice. And amazingly enough, these were awesome dives.
It did not start out very well though. Shortly after swimming past the surf zone I turned on my camera and was welcomed with a lovely "Memory Card Error" message... Bummer. I even tried to open the case to see if I could re-seat the SD card or something but I quickly gave up on that idea. Somehow the image of a flooded dead Canon G12 just did not seem right. So I tried an old analog world remedy and banged the shit out of the case. And it worked. Digital transformation my ass.
But what about the dives? Sure the viz sucked (5-10ft), it was cold (15°C, 59F) and the current was ripping at places. I tried to go to the Crevice and Star Wars Canyon but bailed both times. But not before meeting lobsters (there are melts everywhere, there must be tons of them now), Porter Chromodorids (Felimare porterae), octopus, and a giant eel that had decided that its red rock cleaner shrimps (Lysmata californica) were not doing such a good job after all and had hired a big badass lobster to kick their ass.
I also saw kelp growing back, lots of sheepheads, tons of contorsionist Spanish Shawls (Flabellina iodinea), a large school of yellow tail barracudas (Sphyraena flavicauda) which I managed to snap an amazing green shot of (see below), quite a few abalones, a large sheepcrab (Loxorhynchus grandis), tons of cabezons (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus) and quite a few California scorpionfishs (Scorpaena guttata).
It was definitely not a day for wide angle but the nice thing with bad visibility is that you don't see the sharks coming.
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