By Selena McMillan, Reef Check California Southern California Manager
We did it again! The Reef Check California trip to the Backside of Catalina Island for 2019 was a tremendous success!
On the weekend of November 23rd and 24th, thirteen volunteer divers completed surveys at all five sites located inside and outside of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the far coast of Catalina Island. We were also able to exchange temperature loggers at three of the sites for our Climate Change Monitoring Program.
We boarded the recreational dive boat, the Bottom Scratcher, Friday evening to cruise overnight to the backside of Catalina Island. Due to recent storms, we were surprised to wake up to epic conditions with extremely calm seas, clear weather, and, relatively, little swell. It was magical!
The conditions underwater were even better and made our work very easy and enjoyable. The water was warm (about 64°F) and the visibility was incredible! We had at least 10 meters (about 33 feet) at most of our sites. We worked our way along the dramatic coastline from east to west, working hard, but also having a wonderful time. We gathered information on tons of fish, invertebrate and kelp species and even had a few sea lions and a couple of harbor seals join us during our dives. And, of course, the trip would not have been complete without a couple of magnificent sunsets.
Without the incredible work of the amazing volunteers that joined us for this adventure, the important information collected on these unique and dynamic rocky reefs would not have been possible. Thank you to all of these hardworking folks, the crew of the Bottom Scratcher, and Captain Kevin Bell for a fantastic trip! And we cannot forget our wonderful sponsor, Southern California Edison, for their support of these efforts.