Scuba Diving in Farnsworth Banks

I went diving for the first time at Farnsworth Banks on the backside of Catalina Island. It was a different experience since this is a site that is on the ocean side of Catalina and not protected between Catalina and the West Coast of California. I had wanted to dive this site before and never had the chance to before. I went out on the Magician dive boat and did two dives on the site. I should have spent some time doing some research on the site as it was a little jarring to find out that when I descended down the anchor line I found myself at 80 feet. Also I brought the wrong camera rig for this site as I didn’t have any external illumination for my Go Pro so a lot of my shots came out rather dark and grainy as the Go Pro tried to recover and get something usable. Unfortunately most of the footage and none of the images are good enough in my opinion.



Manta Ray Night Dive

What dive trip to the big island would be complete without a Manta Night Dive. My wife, son, and I all did the Manta Dive with Jack’s Diving Locker. We did the late afternoon dive and then the Manta Dive after the sun set.

We met up with boat and took our Dramamine just to make sure that we didn’t get sick being out on the boat at night, with no horizon or reference point. Once the boat got to Keauhou Bay we then dropped into the water to do a dive while waiting for the sun to go down. This was a nice warm up dive for us and we we’re excited to see more of the big island from below. There wasn’t a lot of difference between diving here and diving in Oahu. We didn’t really see anything that we hadn’t seen before. We surfaced for about an hour and then descended down after dark hoping to see some mantas. We were not disappointed we had a couple that came around to visit us and swim through and eat. It was really a cool experience to see these majestic creatures swim through the water and effortless glide around and do loop de loops over us and around us.

While this is a dive done at night, it really isn’t. With all of the light above by people on surfboards, the baskets of lights on the sea floor, and all of the people down below with lights, it is basically brighter than the day. In fact when you swim around you see balls of light that I am pretty sure are brighter than the sun and just as blinding. So really you don’t need to be an advanced diver to do this dive, just the ability to dive should be enough to enable you to experience this truly exceptional experience.

Diving Anacapa island

Third last weekend I went diving on Anacapa island. Well rather beside the island and a little bit under it. Good trip taken with Bluewater Photo and on the Peace dive boat out of Ventura. The visibility wasn’t great, but the nudibranchs and other things were worth the trip. Below are some of the shots taken on my a6300 camera in the nautical housing with the 16-50 lens. Some I used the bwp macro lens attachment.


Review Oceanic OCi

oceanic oci

Just upgraded my dive computer and decided to go with a wrist mount computer. I am upgrading from a Suunto Cobra Air Integrated and going with something a little smaller that I can take with me when I travel and use when on vacation, without needing to bring my regulator and other gear.

Some of the reasons that I ended up with the Oci was the good reviews it got, the features and functionality it had, and the form factor. I also looked at the OC1, but couldn’t justify the extra price just to get the additional features that it had along with the metal shell. So when it came down to it the Oci met all of my needs.

I didn’t want to lose the option for Air Integration if I wanted to do it. The Oci does it wirelessly while I don’t have the transmitter for it now, I do have the option to buy it and turn it on eventually.

The Oci also comes with a digital compass, not sure how much use I am going to get out of that. I tend to wear my compass on my  BCD up by my shoulder which is where I like it. I once used a wristmount compass and what I found was that I needed one more bend in my arm to make it truly useful so that it could be in front of me while swimming.

The interface is cleanand easy to use, the watch has 4 buttons, but one is a light. The other 3 are a combination of single click and click and hold for 2 seconds and it will take you into different menus. I was able to easily walk through the menus and configure the device with what I wanted. In most cases the defaults on the device were perfect for me and should accomplish what I need.


The watch is big, bigger than it looks like in the ads. It also includes an extension strap so that you can use it when wearing a 7mm wetsuit, but then the extension strap can be removed when either wearing it without a wetsuit or with a smaller wetsuit.

The watch comes with a USB cable, but you have to pay for the software for a mac to manage the computer. Kind of lame that it costs money to get the software, especially after you have paid so much for the computer.

Overall I am happy with the purchase, I am still testing it out in comparison to my Cobra, so I haven’t retired that yet and moved over to just an SPG gauge on my gear. I will probably give it a few more dives just to make sure that I trust it. This is my life we are talking about here.

Underwater Navigation Course

In my pursuit for my Dive Master certification I decided to take the Underwater Navigation course. The course consisted of 1 class session, 1 pool session, and in my case 2 ocean dives. The class session was a couple of hours just mostly going through the book and the knowledge reviews you were supposed to have done. We also did a little bit of house keeping and administrative stuff at that time.

At a later date we had the pool session which was really nothing more than the Instructor testing out our skills and making sure we were comfortable in the water. We then spent the rest of the pool session out on dry land practicing our compass work. I had purchased a wrist mounted compass for this course thinking that would be better to use than a console one. I had some problems with my console compass not being able to come up far enough for me to read it with the lanyard for it. The wrist compass however turned out to not be a great option and I think I will be switching over to a compass on a retractor. We spent several hours on land mapping out courses and doing different exercises. It had been a long time since I had done any compass work so it was really good to get comfortable with doing it again.

We then did two dives at North Crescent Bay in Laguna. The first one we did a 100 foot swim so we could figure out our length for a kick cycle, this would then play into the rest of the tasks we would do for the class. We then followed a mapped out course that we had been provided with ahead of time and written on our slates. After doing that a couple of times we then got out switched tanks and went back in and followed a course that had tags out on the ground that had been setup ahead of time by the dive instructor. The tags were set with a heading and a distance. We had two courses, one that was shorter and then one that was really long. The shorter course was a little easier to follow, the longer course I had some issues with getting off by a few degrees and then not being able to find the next tag after 160ft.

Overall this was a great course and I highly recommend for anyone that needs 1 a refresher for compass work or 2 is working on their Dive Master cert.