Riding the Raptor

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A group of intrepid divers set out bright and early from Ventura Harbor on October 7th for a highly anticipated return to explore some of the dive sites along the northern channel islands. The Raptor is a small, fast dive boat which can cross the channel in just under an hour, given the right conditions. Unlike last year’s tumultuous journey, the crossing was perfection; not a wave in sight. Still, flat waters and a bright shining sun gave the divers a gorgeous hour of sunbathing before taking the plunge into 64 degree waters.

We enjoyed three beautiful dives at Anacapa Island: Cathedral Cove, Caverns, and the wreck of paddle boat Winfield Scott. Temperatures were great for the location (mid-sixties) and the kelp was healthy in most areas. We had plentiful sitings of sea critters throughout the day. Bat rays, heaps of lobster (over 12 in one crevasse!), kelp fish, garabaldi and even a shy sea lion who trailed a couple of divers at Cathedral Cove but opted not to play with us.

At Cathedral Cove, we were surprised by a pretty strong current which made for a bracing swim from the boat to the site. I like to think of it as the justification for eating more than my share of snacks and lunch throughout the day! Surge built throughout the day and reduced visibility close to shore, but otherwise, it was a pretty clear day underwater. It was another perfect day of diving in Souther California at some locations that we rarely get to visit. We sure are lucky to have all of this abundance right in our back yard! When next year’s calendar is announced, make sure you get a spot on this trip!

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October Cee Ray date change!!!

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We need to give everyone a “heads up” about a date change in the works. The Cee Ray has changed our October dive boat date from Sunday, October 22nd to Saturday, October 21st.  Our members typically prefer to dive on Saturday so that they can have Sundays free.  The date change should be good news to most of you! If you are already booked on this boat for the 22nd and can not make the 21st, let us know at rainbowdive@sbcglobal.net and we will try to help you re-sell your spot.

July 4th Boat Re-cap

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The fireworks started the moment we stepped aboard: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hot coffee and friendly greetings. This was the Barnacle Busters’ fifth Independence Day dive trip to Catalina aboard the Cee Ray. Ten club members set up their gear and settled in for the two hour trip to the island. In addition to our group, the guest list included friends we only get to see once a year on the 4th. Scuba diving creates eclectic tribes.

We wound up with a buddy team of six, including a couple of new divers and one lapsed, so the first site, Bird Rock was a “settle-in” dive which went well: rich healthy kelp with all the usual SoCal marine life and one giant black sea bass sighted.

Next was Yellowtail Point. I love the rocky reef structures there, stratified and dramatic. We spotted no fewer than a dozen spiny lobsters in one crevice, several Spanish Shawls and numerous large, healthy abalone, thanks to the moratorium. Welcome back, we’ve missed you.

The final dive, Lulu Reef, was the best. While most of the other divers headed for the rocky reef, we cruised the sand flats, searching for bat rays. And…we weren’t disappointed, spotting the first “dust storm” moments into the dive. Carefully edging closer, we found a good sized ray foraging in the silt. He looked at us and leisurely flew away. Then they were everywhere, probably 10 or 12, some sleeping, some burrowing, some swimming and all seemingly posing for us. A few round rays were also spotted. We loved this dive.

Some of us napped on the way home, others enjoyed a cocktail and socialized, and we were all happy as could be! Back in Long Beach, we anchored in the harbor, opened another cider and waited for dinner and fireworks.

Tri-tip and salmon were on the menu with plenty of side dishes, created by the always fabulous Kim Lancaster. As usual, fireworks over the Queen Mary were spectacular, a great way to finish off perfect day.

Always thinking ahead, we had parked our RV in the Cee Ray parking lot to avoid traffic on the 710. So nice to snuggle in your own bed after a full day of diving and celebration.

Many thanks to Mike & Kim Lancaster for providing a memorable 4th of July, as always. Our reservations have already been made for next year!! Join us!

 

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