Crescent solo: giant lobsters, eels, abalones and a shark tail
Published on 2018-08-05 18:56:53
Magicseaweed listed surf at 1ft this week-end. They were wrong. But I did not know that when I packed my gear this Sunday morning and headed to Laguna Beach for something I rarely do: fight the touristic masses for parking to get a chance to dive *my* turf... I was there rather early by Sunday morning standards, around 8:30am, and found a tight parking spot on Crescent Circle, beating the beach-goers by a hair. Ah!
I did not take the time to go check the beach as I was parked on the upper side of the circle. I did not take the time to take my fins either when I walked down the circle and got my first glimpse of the so-called 1ft surf... I was like, shit, that was a big one, I'm gonna have to hang tight to my fins... Speaking of which, that'd be way better if they were with me right now instead of in my bag, in the trunk of my car. Going back to the car, I though that'd be a fun thing to tell in my blog... Is it?
Surf was up, not much but it was; definitely not 1ft. The surf zone was extending pretty far off the beach, maybe 25 yards, with a lot of foam for a lot of wave action. No fear, I ain't 'fraid of no Hawaiian hurricane messing up with my swell... Entry was actually a non event. Walk in, don fins, swim out. Out of the surf zone in 30 seconds. While doing that I did not fail to notice that the viz looked pretty awesome considering the whirlpools and stuff. Let's see how it holds at "depth" (30ft in Crescent).
I swam out past the rocks that were being pounded by big swell and surf. Not fun to surface there today I can tell you that. I dropped down at the first kelp bed and viz was not too bad, maybe 20ft. But oh my, surge was like a roller coaster, and a fast one too... Kelp was not looking good, angled 60 degrees down. And the deeper I went, the stronger it got, also messing up the viz down to about 10ft with a lot of particulates in the water column, although I think that past 2 inches in size, the stuff floating around did not really qualify for particulatism no more!
It was going to be a video dive. I had taken an external video light (I know, I'm getting a bit lax with my "travel light" policy) and that was a good choice. I managed to snap a few stills but my new test settings for macro were a little optimistic for the conditions and most shots came out dark. Manual 1/125s, f/9, ISO 125 is probably not adapted to the ridiculously small amount of light that managed to filter through 20ft of crap in suspension... Video came out pretty good, shooting 1080p@60fps. Color rendering was awesome with the bright strobe. And the nice thing is that the setup is still pretty compact, so yay!
Another reason that the video came out pretty good is because there was a lot to shoot. After heaps of abalones feasting on kelp (maybe weakened due to tropical temperatures of 76F/23°C), very active moray eels, tons of lobsters, including one that must have been 10lbs and a hundred years old (Yay MPAA!), a rockpool blenny (first time I saw one here, they're not uncommon, just hadn't seen one here before), Spanish shawls, I was like, mmm... all that's missing is a shark... And here it was. Its tail anyway.
I can't say going back to the beach was a non-event. Surf was still pretty high up and despite timing it like a pro, I got smacked in the face by a 4 footer just as I was ready to turn around and make a "run" for the beach (I try to run with 50lbs of crap on my back but I ain't no navy seal). I managed to land on my legs after rolling a couple of feet towards the beach, so I did not loose face nor my mask or fins, so that was a pretty darn good day I think!
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