Hustler & The Crabs (Point Loma, CA — 220 fsw)


Sounds like a band name, doesn’t it? It somewhat reminds me of that 80’s band “Hootie & the Blowfish.”

People often think that diving new targets is sexy and exciting and always results in finding a cool new WW II era airplane. Well, it isn’t always that easy and this is a short tale about the “Hustler” and “The Crabs.”

I hope you enjoy it and get a bit of a laugh from the title and some insight into diving new locations.

Dive Plan

Tyler wasn’t able to join so I was on a solo adventure on the Marissa.

The original plan was to go look at two targets that were on our list from some sonar work a month or two ago.

The first target was something that we had scanned before but didn’t dive and the second was literally a target that Tyler randomly saw while driving the boat between locations. It looked pretty good on the sonar so we had it on the list to review & possibly dive. Just in case, I had worked with Tyler to identify a third (backup) target.

Target 3 – The Hustler (220 fsw)

We looked at the planned first target again (200 fsw) and the sonar returns were just not that exciting (again) and we couldn’t really get a good feel from the side scan.

Therefore, Lora and I decided to go look at the third target (220 fsw) that Tyler sent to see what we could find. The sonar returns were really, really small but did clearly indicate some fish and the sidescan only showed a small anomaly, but I thought it was good enough to dive.

I suited up and got ready to dive. It was my first dive back in California waters in about a month due to my trip to Croatia.

Unfortunately, I had some small issues on the dive and didn’t get as much bottom time for photos as I would have liked. One of my dry gloves leaked and I kept hearing a persistent “hiss” that sounded like a gas leak. I tried to isolate it but couldn’t and my gauges didn’t show any leaks. It cleared up while on deco (go figure).

I got limited photos but definitely found a boat. Below are a bunch of pictures. Near the end of my dive, I didn’t have my scrub brush, but I did use my hands to scrape off a bit of the stern to try to identify the name. I should have completed the job but didn’t want to accumulate too much deco at 220′ when I was having some small issues.

Post-dive analysis of the photos reveals a name which appears to be … “Hustler” or something close to it (see top left photo below).

If somebody wants to go back and dive the wreck to positively identify it and possibly find out the history (it would be a good project for somebody looking to get into identifying wrecks) it is located at 32 38.414 N, 117 16.891 W. Please let us know if anybody decides to dive the target and does identify it and I will update this post and give credit.

Photos below are straight out of the camera (not color corrected, etc) and are just for historical data purposes. Note the big ling cod in one of the pictures. I definitely surprised him!

Target 2 – The Crabs

After finding the boat, we moved on to the planned second target. This was the one that Tyler had randomly noticed on the sonar while the boat was underway a month or so ago. We were really curious to see what was there.

Once again, we took a look using the sonar and the side scan and the returns looked promising. It has some interesting vertical lines into the water column that looked somewhat similar to when we dove Deep Throne. Hmmmmm.

I had done a little work on my left dry glove mounting ring to see if I could fix the leak (which it mostly did) and got back in the water to go see what Tyler had found.

It turned out to be a big section of concrete pipe that you could swim through and it had a ton of … wait for it … Sheep Crabs! They were on both the inside and outside surfaces. I would estimate the pipe to be about 6-7 feet in diameter (enough to turn around while inside) and maybe 25-30 feet in length.

Given the location, I’m guessing it was part of the Pt Loma outfall project and either fell of a barge while transporting to the site or it was slightly off in terms of fit so they abandoned it. It is close to the Pipe Horse dive as well.

Pipe Section Location (note the outfall above it)

In case anybody wants to dive the pipe and crabs, the location is 32 39.539 N, 117 16.745 W.

Once again, below are some untouched photos of the site. On this dive, one of my Big Blue VTL lights got “stuck” in spotlight mode so the lighting is a bit odd in some pictures.

And here are some pictures of the crabs:

Up Next

At some point, we still need to dive the “second target” location just to see what is there and to take it off the (growing) list of targets. That will hopefully happen soon.

3 thoughts on “Hustler & The Crabs (Point Loma, CA — 220 fsw)

  1. Was the hissing caused by your bladder when you got back into the cold California water? So what is the Hustler like? Looks like a small fiberglass boat, but there’s a lot of wreckage there. How big do you think it is? I wonder if there are CF numbers on the bow. If so, this could ID the wreck and if the registration sticker was still there, the last year it was registered.


    1. Hey Steve,

      I don’t think it was the bladder. The water in Croatia was actually not that much warmer when I visited. It was 57-58F on the bottom at mid-to-high 60s on deco.

      The wreck is probably about 25-30 feet long. Mildly interesting. If we didn’t have a bunch more targets on our list, I would probably dive it again just to confirm the name and/or look for the CF number. But, we have a growing list of other targets to check out. 🙂

      – brett

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