Spring is right around the corner. The temperature has risen to 80°F at the beach and the water temperature is still 60°F - there’s no better time to go dive on Catalina. I take the first boat out Friday morning and arrive by 9:30 a.m. The air is warm with light winds from the east. I wake up Davis and we’re off to go dive and get some fish. Our first stop is Bird Rock, which is covered in Tuna crabs that have washed into shore again. A few dives later I manage to land a 16-inch calico and string it up. I’m floating on the surface doing my breath ups when out of the corner of my eye I see a large female sea lion headed my way. She swims up to me and looks as if she wants to play. I dive down to swim along with her and she instantly didn’t like it. Directly coming towards me with full force only inches away from my nose, she blows bubbles in my face to fend for her territory. At that point I knew it was time to leave - any fish that we caught would be taken by the guarding sea lions. After 30 minutes of kayaking, we anchor at Lions Head rock and hop into the crystal-clear water. I drop down to 30 feet, lie on the bottom and wait for something to come my way. A large white fish comes swimming from the deep to give me a look. I lineup my shot, track it, and pull the trigger…only to have missed by mere inches. We decide to call it day after a few consecutive missed shots and kayak back to the USC Wrigley Institute for Marine Science.
Luckily the moon is non-existent in the nighttime, so we hike the neighboring mountain and shoot some long exposure shots of Los Angeles from across the ocean.
The next day, we wake up late in the afternoon and grab some lunch. There was a spot we had heard of, where there have been 50-pound halibut seen. We can’t miss the opportunity to try to find one of the beasts (the location will remain secret for obvious reasons ;)). The location is far from where we are so we manage to find a ride to get us as close as possible. We suit up and enter the water slowly, in attempt to remain quiet so we don’t spook any of the fish. After 2 hours of diving we don’t seen a single halibut. I then venture a little deeper, thinking that maybe they are hiding within the murky water. I make a drop to 25 feet, but the visibility is only about 5 feet. I reach the bottom and my eyes are slowly adjusting to the low visibility. As I slowly turn my head, a 4-foot long halibut immediately takes off towards the depths. The sand cloud blurs my vision and I am unable see which direction it went. After one more hour of searching, we decide to throw in the towel before the sun sets upon us. I will soon be back for that halibut and will hopefully land a trophy of a fish one day.