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Tuesday, October 17, 2006 

Big Fish, Little Fish - Gulf Islands, Day 2

Sunday greeted us with wet, cold, but fortunately, moderate winds. We met down at the Cape Able and loaded our gear, and after a short wait for Erin and the tanks, we got underway. Plan A was to do the wall at Turn Point and the then the McKenzie wreck. But as we motored out Erin was checking with his other boat and decided we'd be best to to do the wreck first, right after the other boat.

We all got in, and dropped on the 366' destroyer in almost no current, descending on the wheelhouse in the middle. Viz was pretty good, maybe 40', at least until the crowd got it silted up.

The wreck is covered in barnacles and white plumose annenomes and although impressive, I couldn't find much to shoot except him in a few poses, so he became the Cosmo Girl for the dive; Ed on the bow, Ed on the guns, etc. I wanted to shoot some available light, but couldn't seem to get the ISO on the camera to change (#@*&%!) and with the silt, it was hard to get much except backscatter.

We poked around, with Paul zooming by us on my scooter having a good time circling the wreck. I shot a few on the accumulations of tube worms and right when we were about to go up a large Cabazon swam by and conveniently lay down next to the rail so i could shoot him from underneath and I got some good shots of the monster. We managed to get back up to the surface of, even with the moderate surface currents that had kicked in.

The second dive was supposed to be the 500' deep wall at Turn Point on Stuart island, back just over the US border, but when got there Erin asked if we'd just as soon do the north side. I took a vote and nobody had any feelings one way or the other so i opted to do the easier dive, being that we were a bit tired. With 20-20 hindsight I wish now we'd done the wall as it is spectacular, but as it turned out several of us had great dives among the ridges and smaller wall on that side, some seeing basket stars, octos, nudibranchs and more. Definitely more photo-friendly.

I was shooting some of the D. albus nudis in several shades of coloration and spotted Greg shooting something below me that looked like a barnacle with fins. Aha, a juvenile Grunt Sculphin, and one fish I haven't shot much, as they are very reclusive. He was all of an inch long soaking wet. My Sulawesi macro diving kicked in, and after a few shots with one macro lens, I stacked another, lay down on the bottom and took some great shots of just his head. Did you know they have bright green eyes?

We motored back to Sidney as the weather finally started clearing off, packed up and took the ferry back to Vancouver enjoying the beauty of the typical PNW "wait-a-minute" weather.

A great weekend with my club dive buddies, and I think we'll do more Gulf Island Getaways next year.

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great photos - I would definitely like to do the wall at Turn Point next time, and maybe the GB Church.

Next year !!

Hiller

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About Jack

  • Adventurer, diver, sailor, photographer, writer and sometimes graphic designer. Proprietor of Optical Ocean Sales, LLC. Enjoy the blog, check back and please leave comments!
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