Morning and Night Dives at Shaw’s Cove Delivers!

Think of the dive you saw all sorts of cool stuff. Well, that was Shaw’s Cove on 27 August for our night dive. A close friend of the owners, Joe, is in town and wants to dive as much as possible, so we are happy to oblige. That meant an early morning dive at Shaw’s Cove and then, because the conditions were so incredible, a night dive as well. So, here’s a few photos and some info about our dives.

Day dive:         Entry at 0730          Dive time: 58 minutes              Max depth 25′

Surf conditions: 1-1.5′          visibility: 20′-30′

surge: limited, slightly more in the shoot-throughs

Nudis and bugs! We only made it 30-40′ into the shoot-through as we kept getting side tracked by nudibranch. At the entrance, we found multiple Hopkin’s Rose nudibranch and quickly found a tiny Porter’s Chromodoris as well. As we moved a few inches, we found some very large California Blue Dorids. Look into the side crevices and you could find California spiny lobsters crawling over each other! big and small bugs everywhere! As we were looking at the sulfur sponge on the right side of the shoot-through, we found two Yellow Umbrella Slugs camouflaging with the sponge.  Needless to say, we spent the dive going back and forth between the sides looking at nudibranch. As we left the shoot-through to return to the beach, Ashley spotted the creature Joe wanted to see: an angel shark! This was the first angel shark Joe had seen, and first for Ashley and Jake at Shaw’s Cove as well.  What an incredible way to end a dive!

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So, must do night dive conditions they were, so we headed back out and went in at dusk.

Entry: 1911         Dive time: 75 minutes               Max depth 27′

surf conditions: 1′            visibility: 20-30′

surge: limited, slightly more in shoot-throughs

Incredible dive. Conditions were amazing, so shoot-throughs at night were the name of the game. Bugs everywhere. Look in the crevices, and just like the day the Lobsters were crawling all over each other-big and small bugs. So many fish as well. As we swam into the crevice, the nudis had gone to bed. We found two Porter’s Chromodoris during the dive, and one Spanish Shawl at the end of the dive. As we continued through the shoot-through, the vis was amazing and we found multiple California and Stone Scorpionfish, a handful of California Moray Eels with the shrimp friends (have not identified the species of shrimp yet), and a few large Two Spotted Octopus out hunting as well. As we fast forward to the last ten minutes of the dive, we had a Harbor Seal use our lights to hunt-chase garibaldi. He spent 10 minutes nearly knocking us out of the way so he could get to his food. Then, a shovelnose guitarfish swam into our view followed quickly by a large horned shark and another Octopus on the hunt.  On our surface swim back, the harbor seal was still using our lights to hunt and popped up several times.  At one point, I was confused thinking there was a fourth diver in our group only to realize it was the harbor seal!

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Needless to say, this was the best day of diving Shaw’s Cove has produced!

Anacapa Island Diving

Did we mention that our professionals love to go out diving – just for the fun of diving and exploration? Well, our staff closed shop for the day on Saturday, 30 June 2018 and did exactly that! We took a day to head north and dive off the Spectre Dive Boat out of Ventura, CA.

Enough about us, you want to hear about the dive.

Date: 30 June 2018

Time: 0903 PST (First entry), #2 1113 PST, #3 1327 PST

Location: Anacapa Island: #1: Cathedral Cove, #2 Canyons, #3 Garden Spot

Max Depth: #1 29′, #2 32′, #3 41′

Dive time: #1 64 min, #2 70 min, #3 61 min

About the dives: Spanish Shawl were everywhere! Dive 1 had a group of Porter’s Chromodoris hanging out on a rock. The reefs were teaming with life and thick with kelp. The kelp here was so thick you had to be slow in your motions to not get caught. Even with that, we all untangled a fin or two of each other throughout each dive. Dive #2 had a Hopkin’s Rose and Spanish Shawl nudibranch everywhere you turned. Dive #3 had a Striped Sea Hare blending in well with the rocky reef around it-it was a splotched, lighter color brown than we normally see around the Laguna Beach area. Oh yeah, and plenty of Spanish Shawl everywhere. Dive 1 offered a very playful California Sea Lion to play with us as we were heading back into the boat for the max dive time 60 min the boat crew requested. Dive 2 offered a pair of playful Harbor Seals taste testing our fins. Soon as you looked at them, they swam off. The Harbor Seals were much more shy than the California sea lions. Dive #3 offered a significant current until you get into the kelp. As it was not a drift dive, you had to swim hard to get through the current into the protection of the kelp. Once in the kelp, the current subsided significantly and you could hang out and observe the reef closely.

The marine life we saw: California sheephead (terminal and initial), California spiny lobster, kelp bass, garibaldi, blacksmith, rock wrasse (terminal and initial), seniorita, harbor seal, California sea lion, striped sea hare, Spanish shawl, Hopkin’s Rose, Porter’s chromodoris, smooth turban snail, blue banded goby, black eyed goby, barracuda?, black perch, kelp perch, shiner perch, halfmoon, opaleye, horned shark, giant sea bass, striped perch, Coronado sea urchin, purple sea urchin, rock scallop, California cone snail, warty sea cucumbers, giant green anemone, proliferating anemone, tube anemone, fluted bryozoan, scaled wormshell, kellet’s whelk, manacled sculpin, island kelpfish, two spotted octopus.

Photos by Joe Head, Vladimir Kovacevic, and Ashley Arnold


Dive Log- 24 June 2018- Picnic Beach

Date: 24 June 2018 

Time: 0837 PST 

Location: Picnic Beach- Heisler Park- Laguna Beach, CA 

Max depth: 35′ 

Dive Time: 80 minutes 

About the dive: Surf entry was about 3′ red sets and 1.5′ green sets. Started entry during green set and got hit by a red set before completing entry. One of us got tumbled in the entry and started laughing so hard it was hard to stand up!  

Great dive with Joe, Jake and Ashley. Descended at Island 1 visited Island 2 and 3 as well. Found 6 large California Sea hare on Island 2, and new stuff on Island 3! We found a handful of Spanish Shawl on island 2 (we normally see them on island 3 only) On Island 3, we found Porter’s Chromodoris, California Blue Dorid, and Spanish Shawl! This was the first time we had seen Porter’s Chromodoris and California Blue Doris at this dive site! Also, on island 3 was a crevice filled with a larger California spiny lobster and many shrimp! Pretty sure they were coon-striped shrimp, but not completely certain as they are better known to be in the waters of Northern California to Alaska instead of Southern California.  

Photography/videography was tougher than normal here today with the extra surge. Normally there is very little surge at this site – today was 5′ surge with 10-15′ vis.  

We also saw many of the normal Southern California natives: Garibalidi, California Sheephead – terminal, initial and juvenile; kelp bass, rock wrasse- terminal and initial, blacksmith, seniorita, sargo, black perch, Zebraperch, Starry rockfish, Coronado sea urchin, purple sea urchin, and Salema. Also, there was Southern Staghorn bryozoan, fluted bryozoan, hydrocoral, California golden gorgonian, brown gorgonian, purple gorgonian, kelp (lots of kelp- easy to catch a fin strap on), saragassum, wavy turban snail, red volcano sponge, gray moon sponge, white finger sponge, and anemone (not sure which one…). 

All in all, this is one of our favorite shore dive sites. We didn’t see a Giant kelpfish this time, but normally we see a few. Guess we spent too much time on the rocky reef structure searching for our nudibranch friends and in the crevices. Oh well, the search paid off! Not only did we see 1, but 4 Porter’s Chromodoris! 

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Now Offering Scuba And Snorkeling With Newport Yacht Rentals!

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with Newport Yacht Rentals to offer Scuba and Snorkeling experiences!

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