Arroyo Quemado and IV Kelp Forest LTER Sites
Santa Barbara Channel, Long-Term Ecological Research Site Scientific Diving
Written 2021-06-26 on memory
This is going to be a bit of a short log--just writing down the highlights.
- In total, we completed a set of 3 dives that day, all on Nitrox. Two were at Arroyo Quemado, one was at IV Kelp Forest.
- Besides myself, the divers were Clint and Tyler
- The first dive was mostly for switching out Tidbits, and the second two were dealing with rock circle site recruitment experiments. I spent a lot of time cleaning rocks on the latter two.
- On the second dive at AQ while cleaning rocks, I saw my first big shark. I was working on clearing slate A4, when I saw some movement near the top of my vision. I initially thought it was Clint's fins, but something about it made me look up again. When I did, I caught a second or two of the back half (from about the dorsal fin back) of a very large animal. I didn't even see the head, but I knew it was a shark--the length of the back half was something in range of about 4 ft. It was followed by a small steam of Señoritas. And then it was gone. The whole thing was a bit of a surreal moment. After taking a couple breaths while staring into the abyss, though, I kind of shrugged and went back to work. That rock wasn't going to clean itself, you know?
After getting back that evening, I went online to check out which kind of shark it might have been. A white shark seemed unlikely; it hadn't seemed particularly binary colored, and the tail seemed wrong. Checking out additional pictures confirmed that; the tail was too elongated to have been a white. Per Clint's suggestion, I did take a look into the sevengill shark. This seems like the most likely candidate--mature sharks are the right size, the coloring is about right, and the asymmetric elongated tail is right in line with what I saw. So, yeah. First big shark underwater, and all things considered, not the worst way to see one. Here's hoping it stays that way :)