Pelagic Dive, Apr 24 2010

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 1:04 pm

Most of you may remember hearing me rave about the “Pelagic Magic” black water dive in Kona.  You drift around several miles offshore in the dark, watching all sorts of cool critters drift by.

At the time, Jeff and I wondered why something similar wasn’t common in Southern California.  I mean, we’ve got lots of jellies here too – why do dive boats just stick to reefs?

The answer: they don’t!  Our friend Scott Gietler has started chartering pelagic dives locally, and it turns out that daytime in the open ocean of Southern California is JUST AS COOL as nighttime in Kona.   It’s slightly easier in some ways – I mean, it’s daylight.  But a lot harder in others – since it’s daytime, the critters are a little deeper.  And of course, you have to deal with the cold/currents/variable-visibility of California.


The highlight of my first trip out was an enormous purple jellyfish that we spotted while we were in about 80′ of water. (WE were at 80′; the actual bottom is somewhere around 800′.)  It was slightly below us, and the boat was pulling us away from it – but Scott and I both went for it!  We only had a few minutes to spend with this incredible, 15′ long creature, as we were running out of bottom time and the boat was slowly drifting away from us.  Thankfully our buddy Dana remained on the line and flashed her light back at us, so we were able to make it back to the boat’s line!

My video of the jellyfish:  small (3 MB) or medium (8 MB).

Scott’s write-up of the dive is posted at his website, Underwater Photography Guide.  I’m particularly enamored of this shot he took of me behind the jelly:

There was plenty to see besides the SUPER AWESOME MASSIVE JELLYFISH, of course.  In fact, there was a pretty steady stream of interesting critters on every dive (we did three).  By the third dive, the wind had picked up and was moving the boat along at a pretty good clip, so I couldn’t do much besides hang on and enjoy the ride!  But I saw a few cool animals on the first two dives:

Pair of freaky pelagic fish – the big one is possibly a juvenile ragfish, and the small one a young medusa fish

Heteropod, a voracious devourer of other gelatinous critters
Heteropod, a voracious devourer of other gelatinous critters

Dana has also posted her photos on her photo gallery.

Thanks to Captain Jim of the Giant Stride, Scott, Dana, and the rest of my buds for the day – I can’t wait to go again!

1 Comment

  1. wow, I’m still dreaming of those giant Jellyfish! Can’t wait to get out and do it again! Wish we could have drifted with that jelly at 100ft depth for hours…

    Comment by scott gietler — 4/27/2010 @ 8:53 pm

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