Dive Report 2.14.12, excerpted from "What's Up San Carlos"

posted Feb 27, 2012, 12:32 PM by Becky Moors

It’s a beautiful morning and we’re on our way to San Pedro Island. Undoubtedly the primary reason people visit this location is to interact with the playful colonies of resident California sea lions. Of the seven species known to exist worldwide the California seal lion is considered the most intelligent and the one people are most familiar with. 

While most diving is done on the east side of the island wind and current are always a factor here.  Having an experienced captain can make all the difference when choosing a site and we’re fortunate to have one of the best. This morning Captain Ernesto decides on the west side and we proceed to a site called La Caverna or the cavern.

As the crew drops anchor we’re greeted by really large numbers of playful sea lions. Under water it quickly becomes apparent that we’re witnessing something special as we observe a bull sea lion swim by followed closely by a large group of smaller females. As we understand it this may be the beginning of the mating process which lasts for several months. The scene repeats itself and at times they’re so close we feel like part of the entourage until the bull turns and  looks as if to say ,”be gone this is my harem”. We also encounter large numbers of last season’s pups which are now weaned and ready to play. Twirling and showing off we delight in the commotion of their activities.  This weeks picture

Water temperatures at the island were slightly warmer this past weekend ranging from 67f surface to 63f at depth. Visibility averages a green 10 to15 feet top to bottom. Muchas gracias Ocean Sports Dive Shop and the crew of the Ocean Spirit for your help in making this report possible. We encourage you to get out and experience all the sea has to offer, support your local dive shop and be kind to one another.

Dive Report 2.6.12 excerpted from "What's Up San Carlos

posted Feb 27, 2012, 12:29 PM by Becky Moors   [ updated Feb 27, 2012, 12:30 PM ]

The winter solstice has come and gone and spring is around the corner. Hallelujah, that means longer days and warmer temperatures above and below the surface. While planning for the months ahead consider continuing education as part of your dive itinerary. While the Open Water Course provides the basic skills, knowledge and minimum experience needed to become a competent diver it does not prepare one for the many varied conditions and situations that exist in the “real world” of diving. 

For us variety is what makes diving so interesting, however each new condition or situation such as wreck diving, night, deep, enriched air nitrox, photography, dry suit, search and recovery, and equipment techniques to name a few require special skills. Specialty courses teach those skills together with others like navigation, buoyancy, and diver stress/rescue which increase both comfort and safety. In short specialty courses offer a fun, exciting, inexpensive way to gain knowledge and experience tailored specifically to one’s own needs and interests.

Been awhile since you’ve taken the plunge? The variety and complexity of diving equipment, skills and locations available to recreational divers has increased dramatically. If you don’t dive regularly enough to maintain your proficiency and comfort it’s highly recommended (and in some situations required) that you take a Refresher course (annually) to update your skills. Contact your local dive shop for further information and assistance and come join us for an adventure in the spectacular Sea of Cortez.   This weeks photograph

Conditions in shore remain unchanged  with temps in the low 60’s and viz. averaging a green 10’to 20’. The water is a bit bluer at the island with slightly warmer temps.  Muchas gracias to Ocean Sports Dive shop and the crew of the Ocean Spirit for helping us make this report possible. We welcome your input and hope to “sea” you all real soon.

Dive Report from "What's Up San Carlos" 1.31.12

posted Feb 27, 2012, 12:22 PM by Becky Moors   [ updated Feb 27, 2012, 12:27 PM ]

Okay, maybe it can be said that the area lacks consistency. Certainly many species seem to come and go. Still many are encountered by divers throughout the year like Octopus and Moray eels. While the Sea of Cortez is home to six different varieties of octopus the two most often seen here are the Two-spotted and Fitch’s octopus. Actually a member of the same family as scallops and nudibranchs octopus feed largely on molluscs. Octopus dens are usually surrounded by discarded empty shells making them easy to find. Our two favorite spots to observe them are San Antonio Point and Lighthouse Cove at San Pedro. 

Moray eels like octopus are quite at home in our rocky bottom topography. Panamic green and Jeweled morays are the norm locally. Feeding principally on fishes and crustaceans it’s interesting to note that one of their favorite meals is fresh octopus. While extremely common throughout the area our two favorite spots to look are again at San Antonio Point or any of the coves around San Pedro. This weeks pictures

In a word the visibility is “green” top to bottom. Over the weekend we had 10’ to15’locally and 20’ to 30’ at the island. Water temps. remain in the low 60’s on the surface and at depth. Warm day time temps. and good surface viz. make this a great time to go snorkeling. Try the cut between Martini and Catalina Cove’s or the point on the west side of La Lo Cove. Chances are you’ll find Octopus, Morays, and Balloonfish hanging out in the warmer shallows.

 Thanks to Ocean Sports Dive Shop and the crew of the Ocean Spirit for hauling us around. Captain Ernesto your sea food chowder is muy deliciosa. Support your local dive shop and be kind to one another.

posted Jan 17, 2012, 5:23 PM by Becky Moors   [ updated Feb 27, 2012, 12:24 PM ]

Dive Report 1.11.12 from What's Up San Carlos

posted Jan 17, 2012, 5:19 PM by Becky Moors   [ updated Feb 27, 2012, 12:26 PM ]

Contrary to what some believe San Carlos is surrounded by an amazingly large number of dive sites. Names like La Cueva and Window Rock bring to mind images of deep canyons combined with soaring pinnacles and magnificent underwater arches.

Many of these are local sites and readily accessible but some are so exposed to wind and current that they’re virtually ignored. Recently we decided to visit such a site located just south of Deer Island. What appears as a small singular rocky out cropping is actually the exposed crest of a large underwater reef. You won’t find this site described in area dive guides and to our knowledge it’s unnamed.

Eager to see what’s below we wait patiently while Captain Ernesto maneuvers the Ocean Spirit in close. Descending we enter a huge fissure which splits the reef from top to bottom. The sides are solid rock and form a long narrow underwater corridor covered with brilliant multicolored tube worms, sponges and anemones. We follow this dimly lit passage until it opens onto a sunlit vista of large boulders and sand at a depth of over 60’. Brilliant purple sea stars mingle with Gulf sun stars, spiny Pink murex and a variety of tropical fishes. Returning we encounter large schools of really big Bulls Eye puffers (not to be confused with porcupine fish) which can puff up to near basketball size when threatened. Although poisonous they are “rumored” to be good eating but only after careful preparation by an experienced cook. Ascending we vow to return one day soon and explore this jewel more completely. This weeks picture

Conditions in the sea remain largely unchanged from last week.  Water temps are a consistent 60 degrees +/- depending on location and depth. Visibility is better than average and should continue to improve barring heavy weather.     

Dive report Jan, 17th 2012 from What's Up San Carlos

posted Jan 17, 2012, 5:13 PM by Becky Moors   [ updated Jan 17, 2012, 5:16 PM ]

Its mid morning as Captain Ernesto maneuvers the Ocean Spirit into Zorro’s Cove which takes its name from the 1998 movie, “Mask of Zorro”.  Scenes filmed here include the return of the old Don under cover of darkness looking for his nemesis, Zorro. Located at the base of Punto Mirador it’s an idyllic location generally sheltered from prevailing winter winds. Although there’s a beach access is difficult so most diving is done from a boat.

Descending we encounter Green morays, Sun stars and docile Balloonfish along with numerous small iridescent Bluebanded gobies darting about among the rocks and sea fans. There are an estimated 2000 species of these colorful little fish worldwide and the sea is favored to have some of the most beautiful varieties.

Moving along the reef we notice what appears to be a bluish sponge. Trying to appear rock like and inconspicuous it’s actually a large Roughjawed frogfish. Adept at camouflage they can phase from lemon-yellow to orange and red , green , brown or black  precisely matching color and contour  to blend into their surroundings. This is the second frogfish sighting in as many months and you can imagine our excitement as we observe and photograph this rare species. Reluctantly we ascend to our safety stop with a renewed interest in the variety of species and amazing diving that exists locally. This weeks picture

Water temps.are warmer than normal ranging from 67 degrees on the surface at San Antonio into the lower 60’s at depth. Visibility continues to average 40’ +/- depending on depth and location.  

Dive report 12.19.11 from What's Up San Carlos

posted Dec 23, 2011, 1:55 PM by Becky Moors   [ updated Jan 17, 2012, 5:15 PM ]

It’s Saturday morning and we’re anchored over the reef at San Antonio Point. This is one of our favorite local sites. The topography is unique and it always seems to offer up something new and different.  During the summer months we’ve seen everything here from sea horses to whale sharks but this is mid December and it’s anybody’s guess what we’ll find.

Descending to 20’ we follow the reef out into deeper water. We’re accustomed to seeing lots of big eels hiding in the rocks. Occasionally you’ll get lucky and see one out swimming but they quickly take cover. Imagine our surprise when at 40’ we encounter two eels, a large green and a jeweled, lying out completely exposed on the sand. As we approach they make no attempt to swim away. My first thought is that they’re reacting to the colder water but no matter how close we get they ignore us completely.

We swim on observing large numbers of Pink murex feeding on everything that isn’t moving including a big Panamic horse conch (pictured) although it’s questionable who’s lunch. Big elegant Pacific tube anemones are beginning to appear along with different sea stars like the conspicuous Bradley’s sea star.

this weeks picture 

Surface temperature on Saturday at San Antonio Point was 62 degrees dropping only a degree at depth. Visibility was 15’ to 20’ under cloudy skies. Surface temperature at San Pedro was reportedly 62 degrees with visibility of 30’+/-.

We welcome your comments and encourage you to get out and support your local dive shop. Thanks to Ocean Sports and the crew of the Ocean Spirit for hauling us around. Thanks also to Pat S., 83 years old and still diving. You’re an inspiration to us all. 

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