Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lobster Cave

Today we find ourselves back at Anna Capa Island after numerous circles around each of the Channel Islands looking for better conditions. Clearly (forgive the wording) we have not succeeded. On the island, very near an area called the landing cove, I was told about Lobster Cave. Sounded intriguing and since we have stuck out on clean water and wide angle kelp shots, why not. After a detailed dive brief about the cave entrance, width, depth, etc Susanna and I splashed. Quite honestly after 10 days we had had offshore, I had no intention of being impressed. In fact, just the opposite. I was fully prepared to be underwhelmed after hearing all the stories of thousands of lobsters darting out of the darkness. I was betting that this was yet another “If you had only been here last week” dive site.

We surface swam over to the island and submerged to look for the entrance. As the ambient light of the cave entrance faded, the fissure was illuminated by the powerful HID lights from the 3D camera. As we penetrated, the walls began to come alive and crawl. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands lobsters began shying away from the bright lights that had invaded there lair. It was straight out of a science fiction movie. Cramming into ever smaller cracks and crevices trying to escape the intrusion. Soon the critical mass was too much and they begin to launch away from the walls, ceilings, floors in a last ditch effort to evade us. The first lobster that crashed into you in the darkness was unnerving. Then the impacts came a faster and faster rate. Soon they were pelting us at a rate of several per second. As I was concentrating on the shot through the monitor I felt an antenna brush against my face. A couple crustations had landed on the camera system and were around on 3D rig. The deeper we got into the cave, the greater the level of panic and the more barrages we took. A couple hundred feet into the cave, past a slight constriction, the tunnel opened up and you could surface in an air chamber. The lights on the camera illumination the roof of the cave to reveal a rainbow of colors on the roof. Spectacular.

As we submerged the visibility got worse which signaled we were at the ending of the cave due to the turbulence generated from the slight surge on the sandy bottom. Gently we turned to head back to the caves entrance, following our fiber optic tether back. By this time the lobsters had been dispersed from the walls and were everywhere without pattern. Slowly we made our way back to cave entrance and exited. What a dive!

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