In a rare trip only offered once or twice a year, dive instructor and videographer John Foxhall will be running a 5-day liveaboard dive trip to the Channel Islands aboard Truth Aquatics’ vessel, the Vision, this coming September 3-8, 2009. The vessel departs from Santa Barbara, but John will be driving a huge van down from San Jose, with plenty of room for guests.
This is a fantastic opportunity for experienced divers who want an extended trip to the Channel Islands. It is also a good opportunity to get trained in a drysuit (John has plenty of high-quality rentals), or to check out underwater photography for the first time (John will be bringing some underwater point & shoot cameras from Intova).
Purpose of Trip: Following breakfast - Dive, Dive, Eat, Dive, Dive, Eat, Night-Dive, Take pictures and have fun. Opportunity to dive both Southern and Northern Channel Islands
Trip Leader: John Foxhall
Location: Trip departs Sea Landing in Santa Barbara, CA. If you are flying into the area, Burbank is the closest major airport. You can connect to Santa Barbara airport as well. John Foxhall will be driving from San Jose, CA and has room in the van for 8 divers with gear.
Dates: The Vision departs Santa Barbara at 10:00 p.m. Thursday September 3, 2009. You can start boarding anytime after 5:00 p.m. The boat returns to shore Tuesday evening September 8, 2009 sometime around 6:00 p.m. If you would like to carpool from the SF Bay Area, John will start loading the van to leave San Jose around noon on Thursday.
Participants: The Vision has a bunk capacity for 46 divers; however, being a 5 day trip the limit is 33. John has a total of 12 spots available.
Boat and Accommodations: The Vision is a custom built dive boat operated by Truth Aquatics. This is a bunk boat with both double and single bunks. Each bunk has a curtain and reading light. The boat size is 88’ overall with a 26’ beam. The lower deck (bunk room) is a dry area. The galley (mid-ships) and main deck of the boat is a wet deck. A charging station is available. Consider bringing a power strip. This is a photo friendly boat. With the light load we will enjoy plenty of extra deck space. This boat handles 40 divers comfortably. With less than 32 expected, we will have plenty of deck space for rubber-maid camera bins, hard cases, etc. For dry storage, we will have plenty of bunk space with unused bunks. The food is plentiful and tasty. Washer/Dryer available on the boat as well. Back of the boat has a storage area to hang wetsuits/dry suits at night.
Meals: Meals served buffet style in the galley.
Cost: Trip cost is $995 plus any rental gear. You will need to bring or rent a tank and weights. The boat does not provide any scuba gear (only air fills). John has rental tanks and weights available if needed. Please contact John Foxhall for details. If you would like to ride in the van from San Jose to Santa Barbara, please through in $75 for gas and my driving. The van has 4 dc outlets. John will bring 2 inverters and will bring a power strip.
Deposit and Payment: Payment is due in full. No refunds unless John sells your spot to someone else. Payment can be made with Paypal. Please contact John Foxhall for details.
Booking: To book your spot, please contact John Foxhall, firstname.lastname@example.org
Driving to Sea Landing Santa Barbara, CA: Please link to the directions on Truth Aquatics or contact John Foxhall for directions to CBD in San Jose (light rail, CalTrain and SJC pick-up available).
Diving the Channel Islands: Diving the Channel Islands is an incredible experience. With the opportunity to see one of the largest arrays of marine life underwater from small nudibranchs to sea lions and dolphin and whales above water, diving the Channel Islands offers something for everyone. The giant kelp forest is second only to the tropical rain forest in South America in terms of bio-density and bio-diversity.
This trip is a rare (only offered once or twice per year) opportunity to dive both Northern and Southern Island Groups on one trip. We leave Santa Barbara at 10:00 p.m. Thursday night and motor all night to San Clemente (Southern Channel Islands). Fuel surcharge is already included in the trip price.
The water temperature in the Southern Chain can be in the low 70’s this time of year. Along the outer islands the water temperature can be in the high 50’s. Most divers will be using dry suits with perhaps a couple of thermal options. Rental dry suits are available through Carmel Bay Divers with prior arrangements for divers certified in dry suit diving. You can complete a dry suit orientation anytime prior to Sept 3 with John Foxhall and complete the training dives on this trip. John trained Eric Cheng to dive in a dry suit. ☺
On this trip, you will have the opportunity to complete 3 to 6 dives per day (depending on ocean conditions) including a night dive. Once we are parked, you might even talk the crew into a middle of the night dive if everything is going well.
Underwater Photography and Camera Equipment: Bring a camera for diving the Channel Islands. Even if you can only get a simple digital point-n-shoot bring a camera so you can share the experience with your friends. John will be ordering some simply Intova 10 mega-pixel point-n-shoot cameras for this trip. Depending on conditions, you will most likely be shooting macro (double strobes and a framing light are recommended). You will have the opportunity to photograph nudibranchs, sea stars, anemones, Garibaldi’s (CA State fish), shrimp, moray eels, and many endangered species of fish in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary areas including the rate zebra gobies.
If you want to spend some dives trying your luck and patience, Sea lions and harbor seals are great wide-angle subjects. The Kelp Forest itself is a great wide-angle shot. August through October is generally the best visibility months. You may have an opportunity to photograph the kelp forest and the bottom of the boat. The light coming through the kelp is reminiscent of light coming through stain-glass windows in old, high-roofed churches and cathedrals. See YouTube video on Diving the Channel Islands on the Truth home page.
Consider top-side camera equipment as well. Some of the islands have caves big enough to drive the boat up to ½ mile into the cave. Some of the rocky beaches are also well inhabited by sea lions. We will also see a large variety of marine birds (maybe even underwater).
Plenty of space on deck and below deck for large camera bins (unless you’re planning to bring an IMAX).
John will likely be shooting my FX-1 in the Bluefin housing unless I’m teaching.
Power Supply on the boat: The boat has 110V AC power available. The boat also has a charging station in the galley.
Other Considerations: Please have current DAN insurance for this trip. We will mostly be in LA County. Emergency Deco Chambers are location in San Diego, Catalina and Santa Barbara. Plan is not to use these facilities, but have your DAN insurance just in case. If you need to sign-up for DAN insurance please contact John Foxhall for details or assistance.
The Vision only pumps air and lots of it. Please bring your dive computer and perhaps a back-up. We will have the opportunity to complete over 20 dives on this trip. Watch your depth and times.