We had 3 epic days at the bank and one good morning at Santa Rosa.
Got to Sea Landing on Saturday afternoon with huge expectations that we would be able to hit Cortes for the opener. Graham talked to us and the swell was coming down and the wind was manageable so the plan was to try for the bank.
Got loaded up and left the dock with high expectations.
Pretty good swell but manageable. We started out at the nine fathom bank in 60-80 ft. The bugs were there and we got on them pretty quickly. Two dives and then we moved to the bank proper.
Surge was much more noticeable and we watched the swell break on the high spot. Lots of bugs were picked up.
Incredible diving in absolute incredible vis. I would say we had a solid 80' of vis.
I ended with my daily limit as did many others.
Swell was down but it still looked pretty good so we started again at the 9 fathom spot.
Once again bugs were to be had and we had incredible visibility. A couple of us did some spearfishing after getting some bugs and we were rewarded with a couple of small YT. I had one on when I went to put the brakes on it and it felt like it tore off. Pulled up my shaft to find the crimp on the cable slip tip had failed and I had lost the slip tip.
While in the water we were greeted by an enormous shoal of sardines and mackerel. The bait was everywhere and was a true national geographic moment. Had YT and bonito working the bait. It was an incredible scene.
A couple of guys on scuba got schooled by YT as well.
Made it back to the bank proper and did a couple more dives until we reached our day 2 limits.
Nothing like sitting on the bank in great weather enjoying a cerveza as the sun set.
Swell had backed down but the wind was up a bit. The swell was down enough that we were able to dive the Jalisco wreck.
The wreck is an old concrete ship and there is sharp rebar everywhere. A little hairy with the surge that was there but manageable. I had no idea that rebar rusts to incredibly sharp points. The wave action actually polishes the end of the rebar into shiny points. It looks like someone was out there with a file sharpening it.
Scary stuff and we were right at the verge of it being too surgy. Once inside the wreck the surge was minimal but you had to time your entries. We entered the wreck and the walls, floor and ceiling were covered with bugs. The bugs had nowhere to go and all I did was grab bugs that were well above legal. I could have grabbed 100 legal bugs easy if there was no limits.
We had just come out of the wreck and we decided to do some exploring around the wreck for the next dive on it. We were on the upswell side and a set came through. I had a good grip on the hull for the first wave and didn't think anything of it. The next wave that came through was a lot stronger. I got surged off my hold and proceeded to get slammed face first into the hull. I had my mask ripped off and my reg got pulled out as well. That first lungful of water got me pretty panicked. I did a sweep to grab my reg and got that back in. I was coughing in the reg and had a tough time getting my breath. It was still surging back and forth. At the time I was less worried about drowning and more worried about getting impaled on all the sharp rebar around the wreck. Luckily my mask floated by and I was able to grab it. Unfortunately the buckle had popped off the mask and without the strap I was unable to get a good seal on it by holding it to my face so it was essentially worthless. I was about to do a fast ascent to get away from the ship as I was worried about getting surged into the hull or impaled on the rebar. Luckily one of the guys I was diving with saw I was in trouble and came over and grabbed my arm. Knowing that I had someone out there who would be able to see what was around us calmed me down. We did a slow ascent to the surface and I was able to get my mask put back together once we got there.
I've been diving since I was a little kid and this was the scariest experience I have ever had.
One of the things that helped was my experience and the fact that I don't go into full panic as well as having a good dive buddy who was watching my back.
Even though I had a pretty scary experience I got back on the horse and we went back to the wreck to do some exploring since we were limited on bugs. Spent time all over it checking out new holes and rooms in the wreck. It was pretty incredible.
Dan and Nick decided to do some spearfishing and got into a school of nice YT and Bonito.
Nick even got a shot off at a school of BFT that came swimming through.
I blew it and was not in the water when they got on the fish.
We left Cortes that evening and it was bittersweet to watch it fade into the black as the sun set.
Woke up on the front side of Santa Rosa Island. First dive was in about 60' and I found a couple of nice lings and a limit of big scallops. Vis was good and about 30-40'.
We then moved in close to the island and I was looking for fish to shoot but the vis was bad.
A couple of the other guys had great success on bugs.
Headed back to the dock that afternoon with flat seas and sunny conditions.
Sitting on the back deck with a beer reminiscing about our epic trip was a great way to end it. Most had their 3 day limits and everyone had nice sized bugs.
Biggest bug for the trip was 10 lbs. and Gerry won the JP for it.
Once again the opener was an epic trip.