I was on a business trip in the Los Angeles area for a couple of weeks and decided to bring along my dive gear. I spent the weekend of March 16th 2002 on the Truth Boat with Truth Aquatics. Being a "rudely" displaced former native of Louisiana, I am generally a warm water diver. I teach scuba part-time, but normally only dive in the Carribean once a year with a few trips to Florida and some local diving in North Carolina. This was my first dive trip to the Channel Islands or anywhere in the Western United States for that matter.
I have always heard that it never rains or gets cold in southern California, but that turned out to be untrue. This weekend the weather was extremely windy with night temperatures in the upper 40's. Everyone from that part of the state kept referring to it as "wicked" weather. It certainly felt wicked to me. I was expecting colder waters so I ordered a new Henderson wetsuit just for this trip. The wetsuit was a 7/5MM semi-dry and it was just what I needed to make it through the weekend.
We were only able to dive Santa Cruz this weekend due to the windy conditions. Also, the wind limited our choice of dive sites. The boat was pretty well filled with lobster hunters because this was the last weekend of the season. This probably factored into the dive site selection as well. The water was "cold", but tolerable at about 54 degrees. Visibility ranged from about 25 to 50 feet. Most of my dives were less than 50 feet, which made for decent bottom times. I believe that 4 day dives and a night dive were offered on Saturday and 3 or 4 dives on Sunday.
Most of my dives on the first day were fairly uneventful. I mostly tagged along with a lobster hunter and kept my eye out for seals. On Sunday, we dove some areas with healthy kelp and it was just like the pictures! The rocks were covered by lavendar sea urchins and I saw my first Garabaldi (sp?). On my second dive of the day, I spotted a couple of seals in the kelp beds! Diving with seals was my real goal for the weekend. I took several pictures, and although I have no aspirations of being an underwater photographer, they actually turned out half decent (MX-5 camera).
The boat was fairly decent and pretty much what I expected. I have spent a week on a Peter Hughes ship before and there is not much of a comparison. However, the Truth was very functional, safe, clean, and exactly as advertised. You sleep in bunk house type accomodations, but the curtain over the bed provided decent privacy. The food was plentiful and good. There were no candle light dinners, but it was well prepared and quite tasty. The crew was very good overall.
Overall, I really enjoyed the trip. I dove in the kelp beds and especially enjoyed diving with the seals. I got to try a new type of diving and meet some very nice and interesting people. I consider myself very blessed to have been given another opportunity to witness first hand the work of the Creator!