While night diving for some divers may seem unappealing I find diving at night to be some of the most spectacular diving there is. The tempo of the ocean changes at night, while some fish and creatures that are very active during the day recede to safe places to rest others that are seldom seen come out to feed. This particular night dive was at a local spot in Monterey known as Breakwater. For this particular video I am still using my GoPro Hero 4 silver but I do have some upgrades that make it possible to increase the quality. I have added a flip filter frame with 2 macro filters to make up for the GoPro’s poor close up shots and a light motion sidekick 600 lumen flood light. With these tools I am able to get some of the best night footage I have been able to get so far.
After spending a little time in Vieques I boarded a Catamaran with my Family and we departed for Culibra for a couple days exploring the Island and relaxing on the beach. We then made the trek to St Thomas, a nearby storm gave us a bit of a rough ride and slowed things down a bit, but we made it. We stayed in a small cove off of the main island known as Honeymoon Cove, unfortunately the power on the island was out and there were no local businesses besides a local bar. Although there may not have been any thing to do besides have a few drink we were fortunate enough to find out that the bartender’s boyfriend ran a dive shop on the main island and gave us his number to set up a last minute set of dives before we departed the day after.
We had an amazing time on the boat, exploring Culibra and diving St Thomas with Blue Island Divers.
Vieques is a small island south east of Puerto Rico, it is one of those islands that truly has a small island feel. There are an abundance of horses and dogs roaming the streets freely and the locals are kind and helpful making me feel as a tourist to be less of a burden not knowing were I was goings exactly. With there very little time that I was able to spend on the island a couple helpful lessons were learned for future trips, be aware of off season in the Caribbean. Much to my surprise shops in Vieques and other islands in the Spanish & US Virgin Islands have a slow season usually in September and October where people will take their vacations and dive shops and other shops will be closed for the entire month. Luckily I had planned enough ahead and was fortunate enough to have arranged my dives with the one open shop on the island purely by luck. For the single day i had to spend on Vieques I went diving with my sister and Blackbeard Sports, they had a smaller boat that could accommodate a max of 6 divers, dive master and captain. There were only 4 in our group which gave us a little more space on the small boat and provided a more personable feel to the experience. The diving was average, after a full day of flying being underwater anywhere was nice, but there was an abundance of soft corals, lots of varieties of fish and a fair amount of rays and a turtle, as well as the infamous Lion Fish. Visibility was probably around 30ft and there was a definite green tinge to the water on the second dive. It was relatively shallow diving no deeper than 50ft and minimal amounts of reef structure. At the end of the second dive we came across an abandoned fishing net that in doing our part as divers carefully removed it from the reef and brought it back to shore to despise of it properly.
Here is a video of the dives that I have put together I hope everyone enjoys.
Point Lobos is one of the most coveted dive locations in Central California. Formerly an area used for whaling and harvesting Abalone it is now one of the best maintained reserves in California. The access for divers is limited to two main areas Bluefish Cove and Whalers Cove, the rest of Point Lobos is off limits for divers. Besides the limited sites Point lobos is also limited in number of divers per day. Current regulations limit 15 buddy teams per day, with a buddy team being considered 2 divers (They will make an exception for a group of 3 occasionally). With the limited number of divers per day weekends require reservations usually a month in advance, while most weekdays it is possible to drop in without a reservation. It Is usually a good idea to check the Point Lobos website to see if there are still available spots regardless of when you are trying to dive there.
The topography of Point Lobos is amazing lots of rock structure, and the classic California Kelp forrest. The two diving areas each have their own charm, Bluefish Cove has very exaggerated rock formations with canyons and pinnacles all over with access to the deeper water for those who like to like to feel the nitrogen. Whalers is generally a little shallower still with the canyons and pinnacles but not as large. Bluefish Cove is a little more difficult to access without a boat, kayak or DPV. Most divers diving off the shore stay within Whalers Cove because thats where the water access is. Both of these sites perfectly embody what California Diving is all about and for anyone that is interested in cold water diving Point lobos should be at the top of your list.
This years trip was a wonderful one visiting San Clemente Island and Santa Cruz Island for 3 days of diving aboard the Vision with Truth Aquatics. San Clemente Island provided us with amazing visibility but relatively little kelp, while Santa Cruz Island had even less kelp and visibility there were plenty of little critters to keep us amused.
This was a wonderful trip diving with quite a few veterans of the Scuba world with decades of experience and great dives to boot.
Last dive of the trip, right out side of Blue Angel Hotel and dive shop.
Tons of stuff to see lots of eels and octopi. I hope everyone enjoys.
Over the last year I have invested all of my diving not obligated to work to using my GoPro Hero 2 and more recently Hero 4 silver. The combination of affordability, ease of use and high quality video makes it a no brainer for any diver that wants to share their experience with their friends. There is a lot of trial and error using a GoPro and there is no doubt that a shot you may have hoped to capture might not turn out the way you wanted. Aside from putting away the time to practice with the GoPro are a a couple things i think are imperative for diving with GoPro.
- Dive Housing- despite the standard housing being water proof to 139ft there are a couple reasons the dive housing is better. The dive housing is thicker and can take more punishment and depth 199ft, it also is compatible for multiple filter systems.
- Color correction Filters- Color is lost with depth, depending on how deep your dive is you may need different filters, red is the most common filter to brighten up the colors on a dive, the darker the red filter the deeper its intended for. There are also filters for green water like Monterey Bay and have a Rose color.
- A proper Mount- there are many mounts that divers use for different reasons, its up to you to find what works best, but my recommendation is between pistol grip, pole/extendable pole, or a trey. Holing it in your hand or mounting it on your head has a lot of sway and movement and can make the watchers sick and hard to steady the picture.
- Lanyard or clip- attach the GoPro or mount to you in some way either using a lanyard on your wrist or a clip to your bcd somewhere so you can have your hands free in an emergency and not lose your GoPro.
- Spare Batteries- if you own a GoPro you are well aware that they still don’t have the best batteries, I highly recommend Having a spare battery or two just so you can have a fresh battery for each dive so you don’t miss out on a chance to catch anything. They don’t have to be GoPro brand batteries the aftermarket ones work fine in my opinion and you can often find a package of 2 batteries online with charger and car adapter.
These in my opinion having these pieces of equipment will vastly improve the quality of the video you are taking, I will have videos of my dives posted periodically and hopefully everyone enjoys.
I normally avoid breakwater as best I can because it is over crowded with divers most of the times and can get a little hectic. But I was in the area to pick up some filters for my GoPro and the water looked nice so I thought I would go for a little dive and see what it was like. This was probably the best visibility i have ever seen at Breakwater but not having tons of other divers around made it possible to dive without disturbing the fine sediment that covers the sandy bottom there.
Carmel River Beach is one of my favorite sites in Carmel and Monterey because of the defined structure, huge granite pinnacles making valleys and canyons to swim through, as well as life that can be found in every nook and cranny. I hope everyone enjoys.