I've been on Truth Aquatics boats many times before and have never been disappointed. Of the three they own and operate; Truth, Vision, and Conception, the Vision is my favorite. Each has it pluses but I always feel at home on the Vision.
This trip was to be a three night trip to the Channel Islands from Santa Barbara. I was in good company with two friends from Northern California joining me for the weekend adventure. Fred, Steve and I boarded late Thursday evening after a night out in Santa Barbara and the boat departed about 4:00 am. The crossing was fairly smooth and we arrived at Santa Cruz Island ready to dive.
|The conditions early in the day were off a bit, some surge and cloudy visibility. Thanks in part to the conditions, we startled this Pacific Electric Ray almost as much as he startled us! Over the course of our five dives for the day, things steadily improved.|
|The night dive was Fred's first and the crew had a bit of fun with him as he was gearing up. Most divers on board elected to pass on the night dive after an early start and a full day of diving. Crew member Heime, however told Fred, "There's a reason no-one but your friend is going, I wouldn't if I were you!" Heime's stunt amounted to a 'snipe hunt' and I told Fred so. After some convincing him that night dives were very cool, he tentatively agreed and soon we were exploring the dark undersea world of night time.|
cast of ocean characters had changed as the night shift
came on and we were treated to encounters with very large
crabs, a Thornback Ray and Green Morays.
On surfacing, Fred met the cheers of the crew, congratulating him for losing his virginity! His new found enthusiasm for night diving earned him the nickname "Mad Dog" for the rest of the trip.
We dove Santa Cruz Island for the rest of the trip and saw unusual Nudibranchs and California's orange Garibaldi in abundance. The kelp forests of the Channels Islands harbor abundant life, everything from delicate Sculpins to Sea Lions.
|The Captain's knowledge for the region assured us of the best dive spots for the changing conditions. The crew is well coordinated and make running the ship's operations seem casual and easy. The food on Truth Aquatics' boats is fantastic and plentiful.|
We had an extra treat this trip out. Glen Fritzler (owner of Truth Aquatics) and his father joined the guests and crew of the Vision. He has worked out an arrangement to further enhance his guests dive adventures. Joe Wysocki of Optiquatics was on board. He loaned divers camera equipment and taught them how to use it. He made cameras available even to those who had never held a camera before. Joe was on hand to answer questions and discuss techniques with seasoned photographers. He generously spent the entire weekend processing our E-6 film and making sure everyone with an interest in photography was well taken care of. He and Glen even brought a Park Ranger on board for the entire trip to answer the dozens of questions of the ocean's wildlife and the island's native animal and plant populations.
Rarely have I been on a dive trip where so much information and assistance was available. To have this on a dive boat made our weekend on the Vision a truly unique experience. My hat's off again to Truth Aquatics and the Captain and crew of the Vision!
© 1997 John Petrak