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Dive Review of Truth Aquatics/Extended Stay American - Calle Real in
The Continental USA/Channel Islands of California

Truth Aquatics/Extended Stay American - Calle Real: "Great Truth Aquatics Limited Load SoCal Trip!", Aug, 2016,

by Richard J Lunsford Jr, KY, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 9025 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Did an Aug. 16 - 20'th 5-day Southern Channel Islands limited load live-aboard trip on the Truth Aquatic's boat Vision. Loved it. Excellent value trip; rented tank & weights and bought nitrox via SEA Landing Dive Center, by where the boat docks. Got in 24 dives total, temp.s ranged from ~ 54 - 67 degrees, viz. from ~ 30 - 50 feet, current usually quite mild. Saw a range of topography (e.g.: kelp forest, lush bottom vegetation, bare rocky areas with clefts) and animals (e.g.: couple of sea lions, 2 harbor seals, 2 giant sea bass, 1 torpedo ray, at least 2 bat rays, many varied fish, sea stars and other invertebrates). I saw no sharks but 1 leopard and 2 horn sharks were seen by others. We spent 2 days at San Clemente, 1 at Santa Catalina, 1 at Santa Barbara Island & 1 at Santa Cruz.

Food was good and plentiful; I recall filet mignon, chicken & beef kabobs and salmon tacos. A bowl of fruit and one of assorted candy are out for 'grazing.' Bedding is bunk style, with vinyl covered mattress - you get blanket(s?) and pillow(s?) but not a sheet. The boat transits between islands so there's more 'motion of the ocean' at night than the 2 Caribbean Aggressors I've done. The top of the boat doesn't have a bunch of lounge chairs like those Aggressors, but this trip was much less expensive. 3 Bathrooms made the lack of en suite heads a non-issue. Storage is limited; I packed 1 suitcase and 1 duffle bag, plus 2 carry-ons.

Captain and staff were friendly and efficient. They don't put dive guides in the water (normal for the California dive scene) and you can dive solo if you wish. Outside of protected areas, fishing and spearfishing are accepted within legal limits. A steady wind blows over the sea, causing evaporative cooling that can chill wet people on the dive deck quickly; plan to strip your wetsuit at least to the waist and put on a shirt or jacket at times. Your BCD & tank sit on the floor of the dive deck; you lift them to a bench when ready to don gear. You need a full wet or dry suit, hood and gloves due to repetitive cold water diving.

I loved it. California live-aboard diving should be on the radar of more U.S.-based dive tourists. It's colder with lower viz., unguided and calls to a more mature diver than some mainstream Caribbean locations, but it was fine diving and well-worthwhile. Kudos to Truth Aquatics; highly recommended. A very nice change from the Florida/Caribbean diving I'm used to.

I've got an extensive write-up with many photos at Scuba Board - [scubaboard.com link]
Websites Truth Aquatics   Extended Stay American - Calle Real

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bonaire (> 150 dives), Key Largo (20 dives), Jupiter, Fl (10 dives), Belize via live-aboard (26 dives), Caymans via live-aboard (25 dives), North Carolina (9 dives), several on Caribbean cruise stops.
Closest Airport SBX Getting There Flew from Nashville (BNA) to L.A. (LAX) to Santa Barbara Airport (SBA), which is in Goletta ~ 15 miles from the boats.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm
Water Temp 54-67°F / 12-19°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-50 Ft/ 9-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Nothing much. You're treated like an adult. Solo is okay. Nobody checks your max. depth, remaining gas pressure, whether you had deco., etc...
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table space present; could be bigger. There's a rinse tank reserved for cameras and regulators. Limited viz. lends itself to close-ups and macro., but you can get some wide angle shots.
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Subscriber's Comments

By report author: Richard J Lunsford Jr in KY, US at Aug 27, 2016 21:52 EST  
Minor clarification: I stayed at the Extended Stay America hotel one night at the end of the trip, to allow time to pass before flying. It was okay.
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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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