Once again San Miguel was elusive as ever. To some, San Miguel seems like an island that doesn’t exist, but I can tell you it does and its worth trying to get there. Click here to read Kens short story about why it’s so hard to get to San Miguel.
The winds kept us away so it was on to plan B for this trip which was Santa Barbara & Santa Cruz Islands. As it turned out I don’t think anyone was disappointed by the end of the trip. The ride out and back was a bit bumpy from the swell and wind, but once at Santa Barbara everything was good for the most part. We left at 2:00am instead of the scheduled 12:00 midnight and arrived about 8:00am. The only problem with Santa Barbara when topside conditions are less then ideal is that the dive site choices become few. We started our diving at Rookery Wall and then moved to 3 other spots during the day staying at Arch Point for the later part of the day/evening.
The other dives where at Sutil Wall and Cat Canyon all with a water temperature of 62° and vis of about 40’. My favorite dive was Cat Canyon because there was a small wall with ledges, lots of kelp and plenty to see. The weather changed quickly I guess once we got in and when we came back the wind was howling and getting back onto the Peace was fun. This is where an easy dive turned into an advanced dive and why some trips like this are not for the newly certified diver. Diving the Channel Islands can go from easy to hard very quickly and that is why I try to have the newer diver to our area try Anacapa or Catalina first.
Of course the crew of the Peace is always on their toes watching in case any problems should arrive. They make it look easy, but it isn’t always. Then the whole time we are out diving and having fun and the crew are working the deck, Joe is inside whipping up something good to eat. From breakfast to lunch to dinner and all the snacks he just keeps surprising you with lots of excellent food and then dinner is always a nice sit down meal with the crew doing all the work.
After dinner was the entertainment…The seals were chasing the flying fish into the boat so they would hit it and get stunned and then the seals would enjoy a good snack. You could watch for hours if you wanted to or at least until you got to cold. That morning we left at about 2:00am again to finish our trip at Santa Cruz around the Yellowbanks area.
When we woke up we were treated to no wind, flat calm seas and a cloudless warm day plus the vis looked to be very good. We didn’t have to move too far for any of the excellent dives we did. We dove Deep Fenceline, Drop Off reef, Deep Sandstone and Flame reef. The best part of all this was the vis was 50’+ and again warm water with a temperature of 62°. The dives were all excellent and from listening to everyone talking about the dives I am sure they all agreed. What I think was really cool was that we had a wide range of divers from sightseers to hunters to photographers and others with scooters having fun zipping around the dive sites.
Well, every trip must end and for the ride back we were treated to some rockin' and rolling along with some excellent desert and a case of beer I brought along to share. We arrived back to the dock about 6:30 only to have to say bye to new and old friends. San Miguel may have been elusive, but it still was one %#& of a good trip!