Continued from Two Harbors, Catalina Island
We arrived at Two Harbors in the morning, and got in the water as quickly as possible. As part of the package for our trip to Two Harbors, there were a number of kayaks available for free use. Anna and I took the opportunity to use them to get to snorkeling spots in the marine sanctuary near the UC research station. The area has a great kelp bed, and a lot of sea life. We had a lot of fun snorkeling around the kelp and spotting fish and rays. Great visibility in the morning, probably around 50 feet.
Some of the most fun snorkeling was when the harbor seals came out to play. In the shallow water of the kelp forest there were three that would come to visit. Two were a bit skittish, and would only nibble and sniff when they didnâ€™t think you were watching them. But the most curious one eventually started to be more and more bold, hugging my legs, and examining Annaâ€™s hands. It was a lot of fun to see them blow bubbles and corkscrew around you. It wasnâ€™t quite as bold in deeper water, but if you swam about 10 feet away when it was hunting on the bottom, it would follow you and your tasty fins to the surface, before swimming away. Iâ€™m assuming they are wary on the surface in deeper water because of the local shark population.
That evening I did a night dive with some people from the dive group. The kick out was amazing, the bioluminescence was so intense you didnâ€™t need a light to see other divers under water. Everyone glowed teal and green. The group was too big for wandering around the kelp, and some of the divers didnâ€™t seem to be that comfortable with the kelp, especially in the dark. Splitting up and moving into the less dense waters eventually happened, and we managed to see some life out on the sand then â€“ shovelnose, rays, halibut, and some horn sharks.
The next dayâ€™s dives started at Ship Rock. This was a great site with huge numbers of fish. It is also a great mixed environment, rocks and kelp forest from 0-60 feet, then mixed plants, corals, and fans from 60-100 feet, with a sandy bottom. The kelp was amazing to dive through, some of them in the 50-60 foot range. We saw a seal hunting, but he didnâ€™t stop to play. Lots of sea cucumbers, but I couldnâ€™t find any eels. Great dive, and the visibility was fantastic, 40-60 feet.
The next dive was near the shore and a boy scout camp, deserted for the fall. It has a great kelp forest just off the shore with lots of fans and corals. The visibility on this dive was a bit churned up from divers, but still a lot of sea life to spot. Shallow depth made for a nice, long dive. Sunday morning we got in one last snorkel session with the seals before packing up for the 2 PM ferry. I hope to come out here again soon, the diving and snorkeling was amazing.