A Day In The Life — Pt Loma Targets / Halloween Diving


Sorry about the bastardized Beatles song, but the title of the post was about a recent day diving (Halloween – 31 Oct 2022) and I thought I would do some plagiarization of the famous song.

“Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and made a mug
And looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my rebreather and grabbed my drysuit
Made the drive to San Diego in no time flat
Found my way to Marissa and had a cookie and coffee
And somebody spoke and I went into a deep dive”

This post will give a glimpse into a “standard” day of diving for us.

It was Halloween but the trick was on us.

Most people just hear about our successes but I wanted to give some insight into one of those days where it was really long and we got a lot done, but didn’t find anything great.

Read on for details…

Dive Day Details

Tyler had some new bathymetry data sets and we had some high hopes. We were even going to get Divemaster Chris in on the target diving today! Tyler literally had a list of about 10 targets to look at so we decided to again implement our “round robin” approach to make use of surface intervals and look at more targets.

We started out the morning with our mystery diver getting into the swing of things with a Halloween costume and a Dive Rite Chest Mount Optima!

Soon after we left Mission Beach harbor, we headed south towards Point Loma and ran into a really thick fog bank. It is rare that the fog is this bad and we were getting our first taste of the day.

Our hopes really got raised when we were heading down and Tyler randomly saw a really good looking target on the side scan and so we marked it to look at on the way back home.

Eventually, the sun came out and even Scout was happy!

Well, it was time to get down to business! We started scanning targets and Tyler had one in mind that looked pretty good and reminded us a bit of the P-38 we recently found off Solana Beach. Here is a screen capture of the bathymetry data:

Tyler and Mystery Diver geared up and jumped it and the found …. a large anchor and buoy. At least the visibility was really nice as you can see in the video below.

DIve 1 – Anchor & Buoy

Argh — that was not what we were hoping for. It was time to move on and start scanning a few more targets.

As we were moving towards the other targets, we were buzzed by a very large school of dolphins.

Buzzed by dolphins

We looked at some targets that had small returns but then found one that looked pretty good. We anchored and Divemaster Chris suited up with his double tanks and jumped in with the GoPro to investigate. He came back up and said “it is just a lobster trap!”

Dive 2 – Lobster Trap

Tyler was incredulous and thought there had to be a mistake given the size of the return on the sonar. It turns out the anchor got a little fouled up when we were first letting it out and we had drifted off the target slightly. We reset and once again, the Mystery Diver jumped in to go see what was there.

This one turned out to be a weird, round object that almost looked like a hatch but it had a pipe sticking up from it. Confusing indeed. We still don’t know what it is.

Dive 3 – Unknown Object

Meanwhile, we had a ton of Navy activity going on. The USS Barry (DDG-52) got pretty close as she was leaving port and heading out to sea. The USS Barry is a guided missile destroyer (i.e., don’t mess with it). She is 500 feet long and has a beam of nearly 60 feet. You can see all the radar equipment on the ship from this photo:

We also saw a nuclear powered submarine heading out (we didn’t get too close to this one):

We had another target nearby in shallow water so we moved over to it and put the anchor down once again. Mystery Diver took a quick look and it turned out to be a rock reef with some kind of fish that she was excited about. Whatever.

This was not turning out to be such a good day. In fact, the swells had picked up and they were long rolling ones which was not very fun. It was time to head back so we decided to look at the random target Tyler had picked up on the trip down. Our hopes were high that we would redeem ourselves.

Just as we were pulling up to the target, we were approached by a Coast Guard patrol boat. Ugh. If it had just been 10 minutes later, we could have had the downline down and I could have been doing my dive! They inspected our papers, asked a bunch of questions, and then headed off.

We setup the downline and I got geared up and splashed with high hopes based on that signature we saw. I got down to the bottom of the line and saw….rocks?!?! Yes, believe it or not, there was one big round-isa rock and then a small plateau of rocks out in the middle of the sand with nothing around. Sigh.

I circled around a couple times just to make sure I wasn’t missing something but got nothing. Definitely disappointing.

Dive 5 – Rocks

Then, to top it off, when we were back inside the breakwater headed back to the dock after a long day of diving, we were stopped ONCE AGAIN, but the Coast Guard. We explained that we had been interrogated earlier and then called the other boat to confirm and then let us go.

We got back to the dock around 3:45 and by the time I got on the road back home my drive was two hours (compared to drive down in the early morning which is 1 hour and 20 minutes). A 50% penalty.

Oh well. As they say, it is better than a day in the office. Hopefully we’ll have better luck next time. To summarize our day, we found:

  • Anchor & Buoy
  • Lobster Trap
  • Some weird round object with a pipe
  • Rocks
  • Rocks

And we looked at a total of about 8 or 9 targets.

2 thoughts on “A Day In The Life — Pt Loma Targets / Halloween Diving

  1. The next time a sub passes by while you’re in your gear, be sure to take a photo with you in the foreground and the sub in the background. It would look cool.

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