Over Memorial Day Weekend, we a great time on Channel Islands Dive Adventure’s 3-day Gold trip, although it wasn’t gold for some after the ride to Begg Rock the first night. The ride from Long Beach to Begg Rock is about 8 hours, and you are basically going uphill against the wind, swell and current. Unless it is the calmest of days, you’re going to get a bit of a bumpy ride. The good news is the ride home (or to wherever you are going next) will be much nicer.
We made it in not the worst of conditions (even though a few would disagree), and a few bunks did get wet from all the water going up over the boat and being pushed into any crack it could find. Luckily the crew did a great job on getting everyone back in shape. One thing is for sure – the clothes dryer was working on overtime!
The hard to get to locations are that for a reason, and if the visibility was much better then we heard from the few
divers that did the dive you would fully understand. It wasn’t too rough to dive but the anchor line wasn’t that close to the rock untill it was quite deep. The visibility was maybe 15 feet, so getting from the anchor line to the rock proved to be difficult and not worth attempting the dive. For safety concerns, I had the gates closed.
Begg Rock is about 7 miles from San Nicholas island, so the ride over to another site wasn’t too long. We did a few sites around San Nick, such as the outer boilers & Dutch Harbor, always trying to get out of the wind which was nearly impossible. Once we moved and got ready, it seemed the wind would find us.
We have had more wind the past few months then I can remember in a long time. Visibility was about 30′- 40′ with water temperatures in the high 50’s, and quite a few of the divers sat out dives because of the cold water. The dive sites were nice with kelp, and some had some very dramatic structure with lots of life on them. You can tell when you are at a place that doesn’t get too many divers or fisherman when seeing lots of big fish. We stayed put on the last dive so we could eat dinner, and afterwards we left for San Clemente where we stayed for Sunday and Monday. The best part was the ride to San Clemente – it was the best ride ever, and everyone was able to catch up on much needed sleep.
We started early at San Clemente Island, first checking a possible wreck that didn’t quite pan out (but then that is what Channel Islands Dive Adventure trips are all about). We dove Pyramid Point, Neptune’s Wall and Fish Hook (plus night dive), and on Monday we dove the Underwater Arch and made two dives at the second Boiler which was awesome. This was probably everyone’s favorite site, and it didn’t take too many arm twist to stay there for two dives. There was lots of kelp and huge structure from 20’ to 80’, walls, lots of crevices, fish but not much small things. This dive would make me want to get a wide angle lens for my camera setup!
It’s safe to say everyone had fun, and even those that didn’t the first day. Visibility at San Clemente Island was about 40′-60′ plus and water temp around 60. Afterwards we had a nice calm ride back, and as always the crew of the Truth did an outstanding job!
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Words & Photos by Ken Kollwitz
Ken is the owner of Channel Islands Dive Adventures. His goal is to offer organized dive trips to unique and interesting destinations, with a dive/travel guide present, to help foster new friendships with other like minded divers and above all to promote safe and fun diving. For more information on Channel Islands Dive Adventures and to see their upcoming schedule, please click here.