Oil Platform Eureka

By Jim Lyle

Saturday, December 2, we took the six-pack dive boat, the Second Stage, to oil platform Eureka, south of Long Beach. Captain Jeff and his able assistant, Lars, took great care of us. For those who have not been on the Second Stage, she's berthed next door to the Ports o' Call restaurant in San Pedro. The boat is roomy, 43' long, with an air compressor and nitrox fills available. You can bring your own tanks/weights, or use theirs. Lars prepared tasty breakfast omelets before we left the dock, snacks for between dives, and wonderful, do-it-yourself taco fixings for lunch. Why does food taste so good on a dive boat?

Scott, Margaret, Todd, Dave, Melissa, and I, all brought our cameras to play with, ranging from venerable Oly 5050s to new digital slrs with all the bells and whistles. Dave finally came over to the dark side, and had his new digital rig out for its maiden dip in saltwater. We couldn't have wished for better weather, Santa Ana winds brought sunny skies and flat seas; water temperature was sixty degrees, with a cold thermocline below ninety feet; and visibility was an honest fifty feet, or more. Great conditions!

The trip to the oilrigs only took about 45 minutes. Oil platform Eureka sits in 700 feet of seawater, south of Long Beach. Since 9/11, only commercial boats are allowed to bring divers to the site and no game is to be taken off the rig. As a result, the structure is home to lots of fish and invertebrate life.

We did three dives on the rig. The diving was all "live boat," with Captain Jeff carefully dropping us in and picking us up after dives. Cameras were rinsed after each dive by Lars and carefully secured inside the cabin between dives. We finished the last dive of the day in time to see the kick-off of the USC/UCLA football game to the wide screen television!

It was a fantastic day, great weather, fantastic conditions, and a wonderful dive crew to take care of us.

Below are some pictures from the trip:

Great conditions! Corynactus anemones with sheephead and schooling blacksmiths

Rockfish resting on part of the structure

Everything is covered in life. This rope end is alive with Corynactus anemones and looks like a fancy Christmas ornament.

My buddy, Scott (seniorweeb).

Female Sheephead

What kind of camera do you have in that housing? Does it have live-view?"

Super-male Sheephead.

The female sheephead can change sex, to become terminal-phase males.

Lots of sealions rest on the rig. I was buzzed a couple of times, but it's almost impossible to photograph them, they move so fast.


Brittlestars were everywhere

A school of small mackeral hiding under the oil platform


A jeweled juvenile Garibaldi, with its iridescent blue spots; rock scallop

Back To Home Page