The Tail (or tale) of the 7 lobsters

7 Dec
Originally I had planned to make the run to catalina to once again see if there were any more yellowtail to be found or chase down some more daytime bugs but the chlorophyll charts had their own plan. By Thursday the charts showed green water around most of the island. With the lack of any swell and wind the water lay listless and the little algae delightfully bloomed green all around the island.  There goes my plans along with my patience.

Well sheeyett, dammit!!!! One of my pet peeves is to stay home and do nothing, while there is always a growing list of things to do I cannot stand to just sleep in and NOT do something fun.  It’s probably due to being a hyperactive child although now as an adult I find it more annoying as ever.  I checked and the wind/swell was supposed to be down and although the charts showed one of my local spots as green as well I figured I’d give it a shot. Even before my alarm went off I was awakened early by the pitter patter of splattering drops on my patio. For reals??? Today??? Sheeyett! I rolled around in bed for a bit and figured, I’d peek outside to take a look. It was raining hard in OC but it stopped fairly soon and I pulled up some more charts on storm cells while I debated to go or not and it showed the coast to be clear. The bed seemed mighty inviting but I hastily grabbed my gear together and threw it into my honda and took off before my wife put together a list of things for me to do Smile.

In about an hour I was scanned the water and noted how flat the ocean looked, only small waves lapped the shoreline and it was a decent incoming high tide. I could clearly see the rocks at three feet below the water line and figured that was good enough, in minutes I had slid into my wetsuit and grabbed my gear and light. During the night dives I usually use my princeton tec shockwave led but the last couple of dives I had forgotten it and was using that cheapass cree q5 from ebay. We flooded one at work but I had found out that if we cranked hard on the oring it would seal well enough and I’ve probably done 20 or so dives with no problems knock on wood. I hit the water and pulled my fins on and kicked outwards towards the kelp line.

It was COLD. My watch read 57 and this was a shock considering that we had been diving all summer in 69 degree water! I was still using my 5mm suit because I could get away with less weight and when I’m bug diving I’m moving around a lot and tend not to get cold as much. Still the frigid water made its way around my mask and my exposed parts of my face could feel the cold biting in. I saw some antennae moving around and made a drop, unfortunately it would be a short and the first half hour or so that’s all I saw. I started moving away and found some boulders and saw a fat bug waving his antennae at me. I perched on the rock and jammed my hand down to try to pin him and of course he moved back but if I lay on my side I could….just….barely…feel….him. I grabbed a knuckle and it quickly dropped it and I shook that bitch like a dog shaking a toy and it never budged. Dammit! Out of air I kicked back towards the surface and breathed up. This would occur several drops as I would pop off a leg or two but I could not budge him. I’ve noticed before if you disturb a bug and it’s where he might get snatched up if you wait a few minutes he’ll come out. It worked like a charm, two minutes later I saw him emerge and I kicked back down and pounced on him before he could sprint away. He was big enough I knew I wouldn’t have to even measure him but I did anyways and it came out about half an inch over. Success!!

I moved from reef to reef and was really enjoying my day, there were some decent sized sheephead around, I saw a few kelp crabs and opaleye and gopher rockfish but that was about it. I had three bugs in the bag and found a ledge that went way back, when I shined my light in there I saw a nice five pounder perched just out of reach. I stuck my head way into the hole and reached inside, if I could only get just past that big brown part of the rock…

All of a sudden that brown rock recoiled and I came face to face with a big ass moray, probably the biggest I’ve seen at this spot. I backed off and shot for the surface, breathed up and made another drop, that asshole was still there, teeth baring so I started trying to scare him away by tossing rocks underwater. It’s pretty comical, I’d throw as hard as possible and they would float through the water about six inches before fluttering to the ground. Everytime I reached in that moray would start towards me with its mouth open so I poked at him and noticed the bug was way too far inside anyways. Bastard!

There were other rocks to explore and soon enough I had 5 bugs. My buddy Dam and I had this discussion before, 3 bugs is good, 4 better, 5 really good, 6 is unacceptable because you feel like a loser for not getting that last bug as the limit is 7. I had 5 and was heading in but found a ledge that went way back and it was LOADED. I plucked one and it was legal. This ledge had an opening on one side that you could almost slide into, but the bag of bugs I had was preventing me from getting into it. I got the bright idea of taking the bag off and reaching in and as soon as I unclipped it I saw a legal bug flitter away into the reef…out of my bag. DAMMIT!!!! Feeling like the worlds biggest lame-o I put the bag back on my waist and dove down, I turned upside down and crawled in a bit until I was half way into the cave and grabbed another legal bug. SUCCESS! There were still a bunch of big bugs in that hole but I couldn’t get them so I left them for another day. I worked my way back to where I started and made drops in the deeper water, it was mainly shorts there but I finally managed to pin one on one side of a hole and when he went towards the other side about a foot away I had my left hand waiting and grabbed him. No bug grab felt sweeter than that and i stuffed him into the bulging bag and headed back to shore.

Once on the shoreline I remeasured all of them, interestingly enough most of them were way over legal. I didn’t measure many bugs earlier that were clickers either, it was like they were either big or way too small. I trudged back to my car and peeled off my gear, took a pix to send to my friends to annoy them since they were stuck at work and headed home. I probably burned less than 3 gallons of gas, swam around for a couple of hours and really enjoyed my day. I dropped of most of the bugs to my folks and family and kept one for myself. I’ve been making a lot of my favorite lobster stir fry and can’t wait to make some more along with some lobster bisque…

Although I noticed my hands are bruised and cut up a bit and I have a raw scraped forehead , it ended up being a really nice day Smile

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2 Responses to “The Tail (or tale) of the 7 lobsters”

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