Date of Encounter: 3-21-09
Dive Location: Point Loma Kelp Beds
Dive Site: Broomtail Reef
Viz: Below the light green gloom about 20
Mix: Nitrox ~32%
Dive 1: 66 min
Dive 2: ~ 40 min
Video Camera Used:
Sony V1U, Gates Housing, with superwide angle port
Scott McGee’s Still Camera:
- Nikon D200 in an Ikelite housing
- Single Ikelite DS125 strobe
- 105mm lens for maco
- 10.5 fisheye lens for WA
macro first dive, wide angle second (thank god!)
Broomtail Reef is max 50. Both dives were at the same general site. Rocky reef with macrosystis (giant kelp) and two types of sea palm. Some outcroppings soars 20+ feet and have overhangs and are as large as a house.
First dive we dropped and took a north heading from the anchor for about 30 yards to a rocky outcropping. I filmed nudibranch behavior, a green anemone eating kelp, and then a yellowtail fringehead about 3 inches in size. He was very cooperative and energetic, feeding and very photogenic.
Second dive we headed south to shoot wide angle. I couldn’t find any outcroppings this time. There are some channels where the water just rips through so it was very flat with lots of macrosystis. So we meandered around looking for things. I filmed some senoritas as I needed that, but it was more kelp bass and small sheephead.
Scott found things to shoot, including taking stills of me setting up Lakshmi. He shot some California Golden Gorgonians. Then I turned us back towards the boat. I finally found a navanax and was filming for minutes from all angles. I had my head in the sand and something told me I better I look up!
I see this shark pass about 5 feet from me. I couldn’t make the camera shift fast enough. I missed the shot. I looked over at Scott and asked him if he got it and he said he got it. Great! Let’s head back to the boat. I was surprisingly calm. This was a big creature. It must have been at least 4.5 feet long. I took a heading.
About 5 minutes later I sensed the shot! My camera was up and filming. Actually, when I looked at the footage I hit the record as I swung it up and around. Good, my instincts were in intact!. It was coming head on to me. I must not have not realized the camera was on and hit the button again. Dammit! Just in time I got the record going again. Perfect framing, perfect lighting. She was beautiful. She was graceful.
She was so huge in my frame. She was only an arms length from my camera lens! That means she was less than 5 feet from me. I had this 110 degree angle lens at full wide angle and she completely filled the frame from one end to the other. I know she must be at least five feet of not closer to six. Her coloring is so beautiful and she is so graceful. She was not aggressive, today, thank heavens. Nonetheless, my heart was hammering like crazy after the second encounter. Nice to know that my primordial instincts do works after all!
This was about 5 minutes from the first encounter. I signaled to Scott, keep and eye out and stick to the close buddy rule. What I wanted to say but didn’t know how to sign well enough was let’s keep back to back. So we hung around and sure enough 5 minutes later there she was again. But I was using my camera, which has about twice the visual range as me, to look behind me from time to time. It was obvious we were being circled. Well sure enough we had a third encounter. I believe she came in on Scott’s side this time and lower.
Well that was enough for Scott. I think the second dive was about 40 minutes.
It was a good day for Marine Behavior!!! And I got 5 species on film!! If you don’t count the fish.