An Exhilarating Scuba Diving Day at the Oil Rigs in California
12 adventurous Channel Islands Dive Adventures divers and two Asante crew members left San Pedro harbor at 7:00 am sharp heading out to the oil rigs for a three tank dive.
Diving the oil rigs Eureka, Elley and Ellen can be an awesome experience. Eureka (about 700’ deep) is the furthest out of the 3 and in most divers opinion it is the best to dive.
Then you have Elley and Ellen (around 260’ deep) which are not far from Eureka and are about 8 miles out of Long Beach.
Elley and rig/wreck Ellen are connected together by a bridge making them more into an oil rig complex. What makes an oil rig so much fun to dive is the amount of life that has called the legs and cross braces home plus you then have the schooling fish and sea lions swimming around the structure.
The rigs legs and cross braces are covered with things like nudibranches, anemones ( including metridiums), lots of fish like rockfish, Cabazon and sheephead, brittle stars and more.
The rigs are photographer’s dreams come true. The visibility can vary depending on conditions and depth from 20’-100’. Generally the best vis is 60’ or deeper.
We made it to the rigs in record time but were delayed while the oil rig crew boat loaded and unloaded equipment.
We made our first of two dives on the Eureka around 8:30 am and were greeted by clear blue waters with visibility 60’ – 80’ and water temps in the high 50’s.
The pilings on the Eureka were scraped to about 30’ but below that were filed with life as you would expect while diving the oil rigs.
No big schools of fish but there were individual and strings of salps present.
After the 2nd dive we were fed a piping hot lunch and headed to the twin towers the Elly and Ellen for the third dive.
The pilings were not scraped on this set of rigs yet and life begun immediately as you dropped down on the rigs. Viz decreased and ranged from 40’ - 50’ with water temp’s the same.
All in all a great day on the water with new and old friends.
Diving the oil rigs can be an awesome experience. Whether you want to take pictures, get scallops or just sightseeing there is just something mystifying about diving a man-made object out in the open ocean!
Written by B.J. Rogers Photo Credit B.J. Rogers and Szilvia Gogh.