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Farnsworth Bank

Arguably, the premier Catalina dive destination. Farnsworth Bank features an exceptional abundance of hydrocoral. Divers can find schools of blacksmith, jack mackerel, and seniorita numbering in the thousands. As is often the case with seamounts, there can be a dramatic thermocline at Farnsworth. I've experienced a twenty-five degree water temperature difference between a depth of 20 fsw and 80 fsw accompanied by a similar disparity in water clarity. There are virtually no mature game fish at Farnsworth as the main rocks are heavily exploited by anglers. There are, in fact, so many anglers here, that it's frequently quite difficult to find a place to dive since the entire are is blanketed by fishing vessels. In addition to boat traffic, divers should be wary of commercial and recreational fishing tackle fouled on the bank, strong currents, poor anchorage, and the close proximity to exceptionally deep water.

California sheephead, Semicossyphus pulcher, California hydrocoral, Stylaster californicus, Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
As is typical of wrasses, California sheephead (Semicossyphus pulcher)
begin life as females, but may transform into males in later life. Here, a
demure female seeks the shelter of a red gorgonian (Lophogorgia
chilensis). It's a several hour ride from Los Angeles harbor to Farnsworth
Bank. The long ride, coupled with the time the night before spent in heavy I-5
traffic rather than sleeping, took its toll the day I shot this image. In fact,
I can't ever remember being more miserable out on the water. The day's dives
themselves were clumsily executed, but enjoyable nonetheless. The end of the
second dive coincided with the start of distressingly brisk wind which made the
trek to the night's anchorage a long one. The ascetic accommodations on the
whaler'sanchor locker were never more welcome.

    "Farnsworth Bank", Santa Catalina Island, California
    April 2, 2005

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