I survived the dive trip! I was not eaten by sharks, and thankfully, didn't see one the whole time... phew!
The Channel Islands are a beautiful, rugged, natural location. As we pulled up alongside the first island (Anacapa), I was struck by the beautiful shades of brown and gold, and the steep terrain along the coastline. Strangely enough, I felt as if I were in an episode of Planet Earth (one of the best TV shows ever). I could just picture the camera panning in from above on the coastline, zooming in on the waves crashing into the rocks... wait... what? I am living REAL LIFE - OUTSIDE - IN NATURE... and I am imagining I am in a TV show? Is that wrong? I feel like that is wrong...
The other dive boats anchored at Anacapa said that the diving was terrible, so our captain changed course for the second island, Santa Cruz. (Can you hear Sigourney Weaver narrating: Santa Cruz island is home to the highest peaks of all the islands, and boasts a vast variety of flora, fauna and geology)... sorry, real life... right.
After stepping off the back of the boat into the water, we started descending. I was not as nervous as I thought I would be, but honestly, still a bit nervous. I mean, who knows what is down there? Great white sharks (Helllllooooo... have you seen Jaws? Not that we were at the Jersey Shore, but still... And on a less scary note, that crazy cartoon Jabberjaws has a ridiculous tune that will get stuck in your head for days!), Loch Ness monster (maybe Nessie left his/her station in Scotland and took up residency in the Pacific Ocean), any number of animals or legends could be waiting underwater for me to arrive as their next meal - you never know! However, when we reached the abyss, the small, spiky sea urchins seemed my only dangers, and hell if I was going to touch them! I had no idea if they were actually spiky, or filled with poisonous venom, or just looked spiky. I was not risking it! [Editor's note: after research on Wikipedia, it seems that they are not poisonous, but are spiky to the touch.]
I stayed close to Scout - so close that I was constantly running into him, and every time, he would turn around and look at me and ask if I was ok. I am still surprised that he didn't turn around and knock me upside the head with the amount of times I ran into him. Rest assured, if something brushed up against my leg, I would have screamed (not that you would have been able to hear it) and used half my air panicking about what scary monster (or speck of seaweed) was going to tear me to smithereens.
All in all, a great trip, and I would absolutely do it again. We saw some really cool stuff: sea urchins, Garibaldi (the fish who had the honor of being the one whose name I decided to learn this trip - Scout figured even a non-scientist like me could identify it easily, with its bright orange color and resemblance to a giant goldfish), rock fish, other fish, kelp (which I did not, thankfully, get stuck in), sea cucumbers (of varying man-boasting sizes), huge crabs, and two octopus! octopuses? octopi? octopodes? Strangely enough, all are valid words. Granted, some more acceptable than others (the last two were not acceptable per spellcheck), but all legit - now you have learned something today. Might come in handy if you are ever on Jeopardy, or more realistically, Hollywood Squares.
So, should you ever find yourself out in nature enjoying the real life scenery and majestic beauty of Planet Earth, be sure to capture a bit of it for yourself in High Def. And don't forget the mental Tivo feature so you can watch it again and again in your mind.