Underwater Photo Gear

Channel Islands boat info and list of what to bring

The Conception and the Vision are custom-built dive boats specifically designed for multiday diving trips, operating out of Santa Barbara harbor, CA.

Both boats have comfortable 1 and 2 person bunks with curtains and reading lights and lots of storage space for personal gear. Both have multiple hot water showers, bathrooms, large heated dive-suit/undergarment drying room with clothes-dryer, changing rooms, a large camera rinse tank, and a spacious heated galley.

The trips include great food, snacks, beverages, and unlimited air fills.

Tanks and weights are NOT included. Rental gear is available with advance notice. Nitrox is available "per fill" for $6, or $100 for 20 fills with a prepaid card.

If you can, plan to come in the early evening to set up your gear and socialize. We always like talking about photography and marine critters. If you need any UW photo gear let us know in advance and we can bring it to you for the trip.

Sleep on the boat the night before departure.

If the crew does an awesome job to make our trip amazing (and they always do!) please plan to give a generous gratuity!

Diving Equipment checklist:

• Certification card
• DAN insurance or equivalent
• Gear bag
• Mask(s)
• Snorkel
• Fins
• 7mm wetsuit or drysuit w/undergarment - and hangers
• Hood, gloves, boots
• Tank and BCD
• Weight belt/ankle weights
• Dive knife/EMT shears
• Regulator, pressure gauge, depth gauge, compass, dive computer, back up gear, etc.
• Dive Alert and/or whistle
• Safety Sausage
• U/W hand light(s) and tank-light for night dives
• Save-A-Dive kit (extra fin strap, mask strap, o-rings, silicon, tools, high and low pressure hose, batteries, bulbs, dive-suit cement, zipper wax, etc.)

...and of course

• Underwater photography gear!

Personal items checklist:

• Dress in layers for both warm and cool weather.
• Warm boat-coat and knit cap.
• Low heeled rubber soled shoes for on board the boat.
• Sleeping bag and/or sheets & pillowcases for extra comfort. (Bunks are vinyl covered mattresses provided with pillows and blankets.)
• Swimsuit
• Towels
• Personal toiletries & comfort (seasick meds/patch, shampoo, toothbrush, hairbrush, earplugs, etc.)
• Sunglasses & sunscreen
• Alcoholic Beverages (if desired) small ice chest.

Conditions, Water Temperature and Visibility

Diving at the California Channel Islands requires intermediate to advanced cold water diving skills. Visibility can range from <20 ft (during the spring algae bloom) all the way up to 100 ft (during fall & winter) 30 to 50 ft vis is typical. Dive site depths range from 25 to 90 ft - most dive sites offer a variety of profile options, so you can pick your depth, start deeper and work your way shallower, etc. Currents and surge and surface conditions change constantly. It is important to listen carefully to the dive briefings, and always dive within your abilities.

Water temperatures can vary greatly between the northern and southern islands. The lowest temps are found in the north at San Miguel Island, where in winter you might encounter 48 degree water. At the other extreme, at San Clemente in Oct/Nov the water could be in the low 70's. The northern islands tend to range in the 50's winter/spring, and 60's summer/fall. The southern islands range between low 60's (winter/spring) to low 70's (summer/fall.)

Boat information

Everyone is welcome into the galley with their wetsuits on and dripping wet. However, we do ask that you remove your hard equipment (tanks, and weightbelts) before entering. In the morning, when you grab a cup, please put your name on it with a dry – erase pen provided by the boat. This will allow you to identify your cup to be used for the trip.

We recognize that many people have special dietary needs so please inform the galley staff early of the first morning of any special requests.

Multiday trip meals will be served at the following times:
• Breakfast is served from 7 – 9 a.m. If you like to sleep in, there is always a variety of cereals, pastries, and fruit that will be left out until 10:30 a.m.
• Lunch is served from 12 – 1 p.m. If you would like to dive at that time, please understand that the Galley staffs have to move on to other jobs. We would be more than happy to help you put a plate off to the side, just ask.
• Dinner is usually served at 6 p.m. (No dinner on single day trips or the last day of multiday trips - boat returns to Santa Barbara harbor between 5 & 6 p.m.)

Bunk Room
Please do not smoke below decks. We also ask that you do not go into the bunk area wet! Try to bring up those items you may need throughout the day. Remember your bunk number so you can ask someone who is dry to get that something you may have forgotten.

Shower Room
The shower room is located down the forward staircase on the Vision and Conception and in the stern compartment on the Truth. Please do your part to help conserve our on board fresh water supply by limiting yourself to one shower a day and not rinsing your gear in the shower.

Drying Room
This room is located at the back of the boat accessible from the Main Deck. This is where you can hang your wetsuit to dry anytime you like. Warm air delivered from the engine room heats this area. There is also a clothes dryer for your towels and bathing suits. Please no wetsuits. Have courtesy to those with dried clothes, please take out and put them on top of the dryer.

Kayak Rack
A kayak rack is provided for out-of-the-way storage of your kayak. Please ask one of the crew members to help in taking the kayaks off and on the rack. Please inform the crew about where you are planning to go and how long you will be gone. Flotation devices and wetsuits are recommended for protection from exposure. The boat is equipped with extra life jackets, please ask. For safety reasons we ask that you not hang anything from the kayak rack so that visibility is not hampered.

Lifesaving Equipment
All lifesaving equipment including lifejackets, and rafts are located on the sundeck behind the wheelhouse. Should the need arise, this is where a crewman will be passing out the equipment. Please review the placard located in each bunk for proper donning of jackets.

Be sure you are covered for accidents and emergency evacuation - get dive insurance!

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