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Humboldt squid dive operators?


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#1 echeng

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:32 PM

Hello, all. Does anyone have a list of the operators who do Humboldt squid dives in Baja California? :lol:
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#2 gina

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 06:41 AM

I've gone with Dolphin Dive Center in Loreto. Bruce (owner) and Rapha (DM) are both great guys.

-Gina

#3 JKrumsick

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:18 AM

Hi Gina -
When did you go? How was it? I searched for "Humboldt Squid" and no trip reports were found. Was it worth it?

Cheers,
Jeremy

#4 rtrski

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:20 AM

I'd be very curious as well. I first heard about this a few years ago after a discovery special of some sort (rogue nature or somethingl like that??) but the guy featured in that show (Scott Cassell) seems to have vanished.

If you do get to go, Eric, please let us know so we can follow in your footsteps (again).

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#5 scubamarli

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:51 PM

The Rocio del Mar was going to do a plexi cage dive with Humboldts. (not that that would make photo very easy). I am not sure if they have it going this year.

Cheers,
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#6 Drew

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:58 AM

Eric, Dale Pearson of Gonetobaja use to run trips out of Loreto but I think it's now defunct. When I went, we had squid off the north eastern point of Isla Carmen (the sailfish looking island). Right now, I suggest you just go out and rent your own boat from Loreto (or anywhere along the Sea of Cortez like La Paz) and do it. You just need to find a boat with good strong lights to create the environment for the squid to come. The Beeb hired the Horizon (which you may know from the Guadalupe shark dives) from San Diego for one of their shoots on the humboldt and they started out of Santa Rosalia which is where the fisheries for humboldts are also based.

Things you need to consider getting for the very retentive types:

1. A safety line from the boat (in case a big squid grabs and pulls you down)
2. Several knives on different parts of your body to cut yourself free from the teethed arms
3. A neptunic shark suit and helmut. It's a pain but IF a squid grabs you, you won't get the lacerations from the teeth or bites.

Edit: I should add that while they did investigate us divers, they didn't once attack us (although there have been attacks before. It's all precautionary measures for the big what if. Diving with a suit that weighs 11kg isn't fun.

I believe now the population has spread and now they are showing up in La Jolla even, so you may not need to go to Mexico but just to San Diego's La Jolla and the La Jolla Canyons! :lol:

I suggest you talk to Stanford biologist Bill Gilly who was conducting research on the squid a couple of years back. I'd heard the squid shrank in the Sea of Cortez in reaction to El Nino!



I'd be very curious as well. I first heard about this a few years ago after a discovery special of some sort (rogue nature or somethingl like that??) but the guy featured in that show (Scott Cassell) seems to have vanished.


Scott hasn't gone missing... just doing different things now. http://underseavoyagerproject.org/

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#7 rtrski

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 04:59 AM

Scott hasn't gone missing... just doing different things now. http://underseavoyagerproject.org/


Ah, yes, I do now remember running across that, but haven't kept up on the news. I just recalled that his "Sea Wolves" site was defunct.

What I liked about his operation was that it wasn't caged...but as you point out in your post for safety you still want the diver to be tethered and armored (I remember telling my wife I wanted to do that and she said it looked like getting the worm's-eye-view of a fishing expedition).

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#8 gina

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 06:52 AM

Hi Gina -
When did you go? How was it? I searched for "Humboldt Squid" and no trip reports were found. Was it worth it?


We went during July 2009. (This was before I knew about Wetpixel so I didn't post anything here.) We headed maybe a half-hour from Loreto to an area that was at least hundreds of feet deep. They set up the boats with spotlights shining down onto the water, and started fishing with a squid jig to lure the animals in.

Posted Image
martin with a squid by g-na, on Flickr

Dolphin Dive shop has a lightweight cage made of pvc pipe and mesh. Apparently you don't need a heavy-duty cage like you do with sharks. Although, at this time the squid were only about 2 feet long and did not present a danger so I got in the water without a cage.

Posted Image
fifi and chuck watching the squid by g-na, on Flickr

The squid never presented a problem, and in fact they really never came too close. In fact, I felt a little cheated because my life was never in danger :lol: But it was still great to see so many of these supposedly dangerous creatures in their native habitat. (I love being able to interact with animals that other people unnecessarily fear, thus showing there is no reason to vilify them.) I probably spent 30+ minutes in the water before we ran into a problem with the generator and the spotlights stopped working. At that point I turned on my bright modeling light and that was able to keep the squid coming in, but in smaller numbers. The water was never thick with squid; rather they would *very* quickly dart in to investigate the jig, and at least once I saw animals attack a squid caught on the jig. They were tough to photograph.

Posted Image
humboldt squid color change by g-na, on Flickr

Sorry I didn't get good photos - I was new to u/w photography and still had much to learn.

-Gina

#9 randapex

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:00 PM

Eric, I received an email from Club Cantamar in La Paz a few weeks ago. They have a new (I'm not sure the boat itself is new) LA and part of one itinerary is diving with the Humbolt squid. FWIW.
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#10 Steve Douglas

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:18 AM

Where would the safety line from the boat be attached to the diver? I would imagine that the diver would have to be very consious of where the line was so as to avoid getting wrapped up in it as the diver turned to film one squid or another.
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#11 MIKE POWELL

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 12:10 PM

Where would the safety line from the boat be attached to the diver? I would imagine that the diver would have to be very consious of where the line was so as to avoid getting wrapped up in it as the diver turned to film one squid or another.
Steve


Safety line, knife, and shark suit at night = deadly disaster :P

I took out a charter last year on a boat called the SANDMAN...it's a live aboard out of La Paz and will be heading back this August with Andy Murch on a different charter...the other option is to hook up with some fisherman and head out on a panga.
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#12 gina

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 07:50 AM

Where would the safety line from the boat be attached to the diver? I would imagine that the diver would have to be very consious of where the line was so as to avoid getting wrapped up in it as the diver turned to film one squid or another.


There was nothing attached to the divers, save for the regs they were breathing out of. (It's a similar set up to what I've used at Guadalupe - nothing actually attached to the diver.)

-Gina

#13 Steve Douglas

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 03:50 PM

We used to use safety lines when doing body or evidence searches for the sheriffs dive team but then there was a very specific protocol to your diving path, it was like a clock starting at 3pm and going to 9pm. You'd then signal the tender on the land to give out another few feet of line and then back from 9 to 3 and back and forth like that. Since most of the diving was in 0ft vis, you had to feel by hand. Same thing with diving under the ice. I just can't imagine diving in the blue with a safety line like that. The metal shark suits we used to use to lure and feed the blue and mako sharks for the tourist divers here but now that industry is dead...no more sharks.
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#14 echeng

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:40 PM

Thanks, everyone, for the information! I'm not sure what I'm going to do, yet, but it does seem like there are a bunch of options out there. I did hear (as well) that the population wasn't large last year due to El Niņo, so I'm a little nervous about booking a liveaboard. It sounds like it might be better to tentatively book a local operator and decide once the squid show up.
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