SD Ocean’s Foundation

The following day it was off to the San Diego Ocean’s Foundation to help out Noelle and her two interns. In the morning we drove all over San Diego picking up items for the garage sale. The garage sale is an annual fundraiser that the Ocean’s Foundation holds to raise money for their various programs. The Ocean’s Foundation is involved in many different activities, all in the hopes of preserving and enhancing the health of the oceans. The foundation is involved in the education of young people about the ocean, as well as conservation and pollution prevention, habitat enhancement, and research. As part of these programs, the Foundation was responsible for the sinking of the Canadian warship HMCS Yukon as an artificial reef off the coast of San Diego. Many divers are now able to visit the site and enjoy the new reef. After we finished picking up the various items for the garage sale, it was time to pay a visit to the white sea bass. The Oceans Foundation has started a white sea bass restocking program. They own four sea pens in Mission Bay and San Diego Bay where they raise sea bass from a length of three inches to a length of twelve inches. At this time the sea bass are released into the bays. Upwards of four thousand fish are released into the bay every four months. We were paying a visit to the Mission Bay pens, which are currently housing several thousand 14 inch long fish. Unfortunately the fish are experiencing some health problems, so they cannot be released into the wild until their health issues are sorted out. When we got to the pen, we fished out the ill fish so they wouldn’t infect the other fish and took a few healthy fish out so that “scrapes” could be performed on them. Doing scrapes is a way for the people at the fish hatchery to keep track of the health of the fish. After this, we fed the fish. They were very, very hungry that day and ate several buckets worth of dry pellet food. Many sea lions were aware of the presence of the fish and circled the pens hopefully while we were there. After we were done feeding the sea bass we left for the Ocean’s Foundation’s office were we unloaded all of the garage sale items. At this point I returned to the DUI factory to work on some log entries before the night’s dive. At about five o’clock I left for La Jolla shores with Susan Long to do my first dive in the Pacific Ocean. The traffic is crazy at La Jolla and there is no where to park, eventually we found somewhere to put Susan’s car and met up with two of her friends from her dive club. We all geared up and lumbered over to the beach. After wading into the water it was time to swim, and swim we did, for what seemed like days. We were making our way out to some sort of trench, which we eventually reached (I’m not sure how they knew we were on top of it). We descended onto the trench which started at about forty feet and dropped off for what seemed like forever. Going through the thermocline was like walking into a freezer, but after the initial shock I warmed right up. We made our way along the trench using our lights to look in the tiny cracks and crevices which were abundant with life. I was shocked with just how much was down there. There were sea hares and octopi and all sorts of strange fish. Nothing looked anything like east coast marine life. It was exciting to see so many things that were so different. Towards the end of the dive we disturbed an angel shark, but I only saw the end of it as it fled and thought it was some type of ray. We swam underwater most of the way back to the beach. The trip was a lot shorter going with the waves. When we made it back to shore we broke down our gear, loaded it up and headed back home.