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Old 02 April 2013, 00:27   #1
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Humboldt Bay

Hi guys, I just relocated from the Crescent City area to Eureka for work reasons and was wondering if there were any of you who have ever run out of Humboldt Bay.

I picked up a chart for the area and looks like you have to go a ways either up or down the coast before you find anything with abs or scallops.

Also, it doesn't look like the bay visibility ever clears up enough for diving.

Thanks
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Old 02 April 2013, 01:29   #2
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I am an avid scuba diver out the SF Bay Area. Diving in the area you are talking about deserves a lot of respect. Have you dove there before? From what Charlie has said the vis is craptastic and 3 ft is a good day. Worse is the current, as it can rip! The fog can make your boat disappear. There are hundreds of ship wrecks there for a reason.

My recommendation would be to get with an experienced local and learn what you can about the diving conditions. Probably a good area to do one team/person on the boat and the other down.
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Old 02 April 2013, 12:42   #3
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Pete:
Don't know if you knew him, but when Kawika Chetron disappeared he launched out of Eureka, and was diving somewhere south of there. Also, isn't Charlie Nothoff in Eureka? Seem to recall that's where he is.

Rokar: Kawika was a friend of mine who was a pretty serious U/W photographer. Did a *lot* of solo diving. He was planning on exploring some off-shore bank south of Eureka (at least as far as I recall, that was his plan), his boat was found on the hook the next day after the Eureka Harbormaster noticed his truck was still there. His camera was on-board, but his dive gear wasn't. No sign of his was ever found. His photography is still up on the web: Cold Water Images, Photography by Kawika Chetron

Not trying to turn you off to diving there; just relaying info.

I know red abs are found up into Oregon (at least, their F&G has regs for them), so I would expect they'd be in NorCal as well. Not a lot of info for the area between Ft Bragg and Eureka, as there isn't a hell of a lot of coastal access. Wouldn't think scallops would be an issue (rocky, good water exchange; should be there.)

Luck;

jky
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Old 02 April 2013, 16:00   #4
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JKY, if you read the story of the guys that went down Kawika's anchor line, they said his anchor was severely fouled, and they could barely get down there as the current was ripping more than they had ever experienced. His Boston Whaler was half filled with water from wave action too. I understood it as Kawika had left a note on his car that he would be back by 4:30 pm and when he didn't return they wound up calling chuck around 7:30 pm or so the same day, and he said immediately said to start a search looking for the three lights Kawika was carrying. My best guess is he got blown off and lost at sea as he went to free his stuck anchor, or a shark attacked him, as he didn't dive without his camera. The reef he was on was supposed to hold a lot of shipwrecks and is known for being sharky. It was 5 miles off shore with the top of the pinnacle he was anchored on being around 90ft or so.

LEGACY OF THE DEEP / Kawika Chetron lived for his time spent at sea, and his time there spawned a treasure of ocean images - SFGate

There is some miss information in here as it was the harbor master who called it in, and Chuck was the first person alerted.
Kawika Chetron is missing at Sea on North Coast

A couple of Topo maps of Blunts Reef.
http://www.topoquest.com/map.php?lat...m=nad83&zoom=4
http://www.myfishmaps.com/topo-maps/...o/Blunts-Reef/

Charlie is in Eureka and is a commercial diver. He knows the area well, and doesn't seem to be very supportive of diving there. We have had offline discussions regarding the area for diving. Adeline and I just went there last month for a few days, but wound up going to places like Tall Trees etc. The real old growth redwoods are amazing, and nothing like we have here.

Much of the coast is called Lost Coast for a reason LOL The area of Lost Coast is where my friends go about once a year for ab diving. Vis is horrible, and no one else goes there, so the abs are huge. (Remember Jim with the nice C-Dory? He is a highly experienced free diver.) The coast is completely exposed and entry is over rocks. Not a place to tank dive, plus it is a long hike.

Mendocino on the other hand holds some of the best diving around, next to Carmel. We go there often, and will be headed there Friday morning to hopefully get some diving in before the swells pickup. Although I have seen the current in Mendo pickup to where it looked like I was anchored in a river, and fortunately we had called the dive before descending. The current was non existent when I first threw my buoy out. Things can change quickly on the North Coast.
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Old 02 April 2013, 23:47   #5
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Thanks guys for the info. I really do appreciate it and I hope I didn't touch a sore spot for you.

Except for my PADI course down in the Camp Pendleton/North San Diego County area, I've done all my diving out of Crescent City. Believe me, I've found learned to stay out of 4-5ft swells, although it seems like my rib lives for that kind of weather and the two up, two down policy is the best for our kind of diving.

If you haven't ever gone out of Crescent City harbor and your curious, check out one of my albums and you'll see that it seems like a pretty good setup to launch from. You'll also see that north of the harbor is a very rocky coastline that always has nice abs and scallops.

The divemaster who runs the LDS is a wizard at reading the weather and everytime that I've taken him out, we've had 20-30ft viz.

Normally, we would stick to the 60ft and shallower areas because any deeper and the currents would get pretty nasty. So, after taking a good look at the chart for Humboldt Bay and seeing all that open sandy terrain, I can imagine that the currents would be moving at a pretty good clip.

So, until I hook up with some divers from the area, I'll just stick to running the boat up and down the bay with occasional trips back up to CC. Fortunately, CC is only about an hour and a half up the road.

Thanks
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Old 03 April 2013, 01:26   #6
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One more thought is we have Rescue 21 setup all across the US coast line. So a VHF has a valuable roll in a possible rescue situation. Have you heard of a Nautilus Lifeline? It is a small VHF for divers that has DSC capabilities. It would allow you to hail your own boat without calling the Coasties, but if needed call the heroes of the sea in. More reliable, as it is satellite based, is a Personal Locator Beacon. With a canister they can be taken down to 300ft depths.

I personally carry a Nautilus Lifeline, although my dive plan is to never use it, I feel it is a worth while safety blanket. We have had the current come up suddenly. JKY will attest to my navigation and buddies air consumption not always being perfect, although that is rare instances where I can't come up near the boat. My buddies air consumption on the other hand... Often if I think there is going to be fog or where I feel I have to return to the anchor line, I use a reel to run line.

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Station Humboldt Bay is one of 21 surf stations in the Coast Guard. Surf Stations are required where surf greater than 8 feet occurs 10% (36 days) or greater each year. Our station is located on Humboldt Bay, home to one of the most treacherous bar entrances in California. The entrance to Humboldt Bay is the site of many famous shipwrecks and has had Coast Guard presence since 1856.
They have a sign up that says there have been 142 shipwrecks by the harbor entrance.

How far is Mendocino from Eureka time wise?
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Old 03 April 2013, 23:36   #7
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Peter C,

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving home from Eureka, about 25mi south, and we had some fairly good winds blowing across the bay. These winds were stirring up alot of white caps on the water and got curious. I got off the road at a place called King Salmon, which is pretty much located across from the entrance to Humboldt Bay, and watched the surf come in through the channel. You're right, that could be one nasty place to be!

Yes, I've seen the Nautilus in the mags and thought that would be a great piece of equipment to have and should put it on my wishlist.

Just like the pony bottle that I carry, you never know when you might need it.

How long from Mendocino? I'm assuming that Willits is in Mendocino and if you drive like I do, a little over the limit, it takes from 3 to 3.5hrs from Eureka to Ukiah. Of course, this is before it warms up and the ORBs are out on the road in their 40 footers. I'm sure that you've been up this way and I believe, except for a few segments (short being relative) it is mostly 4 lane.

I've seen a number of videos of ribs on the bay down your way, would it be worth the time to bring the boat down for a 3 day weekend? Are there alot of places that you can put in at?

RRR
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Old 04 April 2013, 11:46   #8
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Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
JKY, if you read the story of the guys that went down Kawika's anchor line, they said his anchor was severely fouled, and they could barely get down there as the current was ripping more than they had ever experienced.
It was also the next day, as I recall, so that may not mean anything.

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His Boston Whaler was half filled with water from wave action too. I understood it as Kawika had left a note on his car that he would be back by 4:30 pm and when he didn't return they wound up calling chuck around 7:30 pm or so the same day,
May be correct. I know Chuck was contacted earlier than anyone else I am familiar with (didn't meet his family until the memorial service.)


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My best guess is he got blown off and lost at sea as he went to free his stuck anchor, or a shark attacked him, as he didn't dive without his camera.
I'm thinking it was something violent. If he had been swept off, he was smart enough to survive a long time afloat, and he had a decent array of signalling gear. Just my opinion, though.

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Charlie is in Eureka and is a commercial diver. He knows the area well, and doesn't seem to be very supportive of diving there.
Interesting. I've never really thought about it (too long of a drive.)


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Mendocino on the other hand holds some of the best diving around, next to Carmel. We go there often, and will be headed there Friday morning to hopefully get some diving in before the swells pickup.
I'll be up there (Albion) the first weekend in May.


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Old 04 April 2013, 11:57   #9
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I've seen a number of videos of ribs on the bay down your way, would it be worth the time to bring the boat down for a 3 day weekend? Are there alot of places that you can put in at?
Are you talking about Ft Bragg/Mendocino? 2 ramps on Noyo River 1/4 mile from the mouth, both nicely protected. I think one is supposed to be for commercial guys, but that's the one I've always used. The recreational ramp is further up river a bit.

Albion River Campground (10 or so miles south) has 2 ramps in the Albion River, but you have to watch tides, as the lower ramp is prone to current, and you need a bit of water to get out of the river (Coastal Commision won't allow them to dredge the channel.)

That's all I know of in the Mendocino area (though I've heard rumors of people launching off the beach on the Big River; I'd be *really* cautious about the river bar.)

jky
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Old 04 April 2013, 13:27   #10
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I think by Bay he may have meant the San Francisco Bay? If so yes it is worth touring around but make sure to spend time outside the gate too. I typically launch under the Golden Gate Bridge at Horse Cove which is the Coast Guard station. Launch ramp drops off sharply so a tide check is important or you maybe waiting, or get your trailer stuck. We usually wind up going under the gate outside for a couple of miles then back into SF, around Alcatraz, then around the backside of Angel Island and park in the cove and go for a hike to the top of the hill for awesome 360 degree views.

Now if you are an avid diver I would recommend driving to Monterey and go diving for a few days! John and I can offer all kinds of good and bad advice

Funny other than Albion I have never used a launch ramp in Mendocino, but instead just beach lunched. Trying to finish my mobility scooter transformation into boat tractor today. Not sure it is going to be done by tomorrow morning though.
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