I don't know who reads this forum, but I feel the need to say "thanks" so I'm posting here.
I was invited by REEF to go on a fish-counting day trip to San Miguel, one the islands in the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary near Santa Barbara, CA. What an opportunity! I don't often get to the Channel Islands and I was thrilled to be asked to join a REEF-sponsored event and it was so nice to have the charter paid by a grant. Thank you for the invitation!
The charter boat, Truth, and its crew are excellent. The boat is comfortable, clean, and has plenty of room to sit inside and gear up outside. Even the bunks are comfy. The crew is very attentive, assisting passengers with various needs and filling up air quickly. Kudos to the cook who prepared excellent food (even freshly baked cookies for a snack) and catered to the needs of the 3 vegetarians aboard.
San Miguel is the westernmost and northernmost Channel Island. Traveling each way to San Miguel is 4 hours! Marine conditions often cause scheduled charters to be changed to another island. We however had a stellar day, according to the captain and crew, with beautiful weather, calm waters and very little current. We even saw a blue whale spouting and were entertained by dolphins who swam with the boat for a while.
We were scheduled to do 4 dives, but the crew nixed diving at the first site, which was considerably offshore, due to poor visibility at the anchorline. We did 3 sites, all near pinnacles, all very beautiful and with plenty fish and invertebrates. Water temps were around 54 degrees and visibility was 20-30 feet.
There were 8 "official" REEF members on the trip, but there were people who had just done a basic fish ID class through the two clubs also aboard the boat. I hope REEF got a lot of good information from the outing.