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Dive Review of Truth Aquatics in
The Continental USA/Channel Islands

Truth Aquatics, Aug, 2006,

by Abe Glazer, IL, US . Report 2891.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Cayman, Malaysia, Great Lakes
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 58 to 72 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 20 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Standard rec limits (130 ft)
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Not a lot of space for cameras. One rinse bucket. There were not a lot of people taking pictures so it was not a problem.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Truth Aquatics owns three live-aboards that operate out of Santa Barbara. Most of their trips are booked through third party operations (dive shops and travel agents) but you can always find out who is running the trip through their web site. We went on a trip organized by Bill and Kristy Finstad who book the boat several times a year. These boats were designed to be diving boats so the layout is quite effective even though the boat can hold up to about 35 divers. Sleeping accommodations are in bunks and can be noisy when the boat is running since you are sleeping next to the engine room. I brought some earplugs and they did the trick. There is not a lot of room in the bunks so if you are claustrophobic you might have some problems. The rest of the boat has plenty of room and I never felt cramped even though we had a full boat.

The trip I took was a four-day trip. We left Santa Barbara about 10 PM and headed down to San Clemente Island which is about 100 miles due south. We were there by about 6 AM the next day. San Clemente is owned by the US Government and is occasionally off limits to divers and boaters due to live fire exercises. We got a day of diving on the east side of the island (5 dives). Most of the dive sites were near the shore and usually had plenty of relief to them. There was a decent amount of marine life on the kelp and a lot of critters hiding and growing on the rocks. It was obvious it was not lobster season because we would see 10-20 lobsters on every dive. After the night dive we then headed up to Catalina Island.

We spent two days and nights around Catalina, again on the east side to weather conditions. Diving on the west (ocean side) of all of these islands is dependent upon how bad the swells are and in our case they were pretty harsh, so the captain avoided taking us over to the other side. The highlight of Catalina was the giant sea bass. These large docile creatures were almost fished to extinction but are making a moderate comeback around Catalina now that they are protected. The captain knew of a spot where we had a pretty good chance of spotting them and he was right. We saw a school of about 10 of them in about 70 feet of water. By moving quite slow and being patient we were able to get within a foot or two of them. The largest one probably was about 300 lbs and five feet long. We ended up doing two dives at this site called Goat Harbor. Most of the other dives around Catalina ended up being on pinnacles near the shore. There was plenty of kelp and marine life on all of the sites. The next day, we went over to the west side to the Farnsworth Bank and ended up getting one dive in. There are two spots to anchor on this site and another dive boat had already grabbed the shallower site. We did a short dive in about 120 ft along a reef that had a nasty current (2+knots) and was not for the novice diver. This was the only difficult dive we did on the entire trip. Most of the sites had little or no current and decent visibility (40 ft).

We moved again at night back towards Santa Barbara and ended up on Santa Rosa, which is part of the Channel Islands. We got two dives in on Santa Rosa at a spot called Cueva Valdez. This location had two caverns that the ocean had cut out of the rocks. There was a family of harbor seals living around this area and they had a done a decent job of eating most of the small fish. After lunch, we headed back to Santa Barbara and arrived about 6 PM. For a three and half day trip, we got in a total of 16 dives.

In summary, if you want to do something different diving in water that is not that cold and easy to get to, this is the trip to take. Being from Illinois, we figured the water would be colder so we brought our drysuits. The water ended being warmer that we thought (typicaly mid 60's at depth) so to keep from overheating we did not wear hoods and gloves. We were quite comfortable. Most of the other people on the boats were wearing 7 mm and this would have been plenty of exposure protection. There was always plenty of food and liquor is BYOB. There is a liquor store about two blocks from the dock so this is not an issue. Tanks can be rented at the dive shop which is located next to the dock. We used steel 95's which turned out to have plenty of air for most of the dive sites. Nitrox is not available but considering most of the dive profiles, it would have been a waste. We were not pushing deco limits even at 5 dives per dya.

Where else can find perfect weather in the middle of the summer, decent diving, and not break the bank? The cost of the trip was about $700 plus airfare. I plan do this trip again in July or August next year.


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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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