Dive #34 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
© Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:


Dive Info:

Dive Start:

Bottom Time:
79 minutes

Maximum Depth:
40 feet

Safety Stop:
Long time in shallows

Beginning Air:
3100 psi

Ending Air:
900 psi

Weather Conditions:
Sunny 100°F

Surface Conditions:
2-3' surf

Surface Water Temperature:

Bottom Water Temperature:

20 feet
* * * *
July 18,
Myron (buddy)
Sun 'N Fun Dive Shop
Rocky Point sunset
Photo by Lynn Dray in Mexico 1998 
Dive Journal: Shortly following our return from Bonaire, Myron and I jump into his Caprice station wagon and head down to Rocky Point. The Best Western is having one of its summer specials, and the Arizona Dive Club has planned a dive weekend from there. The ride down is very nice and I acquire a renewed taste for The Carpenters.

In the morning, we meet only a handful of divers at the water's edge in front of the Vina del Mar hotel, located just southeast of the fish market. The beach is comprised of jagged rocks and boulders that unevenly slope into the water, with a decaying concrete and rebar structure half sunken at the entry. A smallish wind-powered surf ripples the shoreline.

Rocky Point is known for its amazing wide tidal swings. I have heard that, at this site, the incoming tide can create significant left-to-right currents that can take you far into the marina or up the coast, while an outgoing tide can simply take you out to sea. Some divers use the incoming currents for drift diving at this site. This day, however, is scheduled for a comparatively small 4' tide change. And we've chosen to dive during slack tide in any case.

Denise Parker of the Arizona Dive Club gives us a dive briefing while we are preparing our equipment on the concrete ramp. The rocks are medium-sized at the entrance which makes footing a little difficult, and so we elect to carry our tanks and fins out to deeper water before strapping them on.

At first all I notice is the rip-rap, but soon enough I can begin to see signs of abundant sea life. First noticeable are the ubiquitous cabrilla, lulling around all over the place. The cabrilla tend to rest on the bottom perched up on pectoral fins, and they are seemingly very curious about us. Handfuls of grey ocean triggerfish pass us midwater, finning in their peculiar way, and they are much more shy. We also spot a pair of gorgeous Cortez angelfish.

Our dive plan is more or less a simple angled out and back. The rip-rap gradually falls away to deeper waters, and the rocks become encrusted with soft corals and various fringed and ferny-looking structures. With each fin stroke, I notice the clamping of a half dozen bivalves on the floor beneath me. Myron discovers a fascinating chocolate-chip starfish, a big thick-legged light brown star with dark brown tufts. He also spies and picks up a drab looking sea cucumber - weird animals [yeah - that's what the cucumber thought].

Thirty or forty yards out and about 35' depth, the rocks yield to a sandy flat that appears fairly barren and less interesting. We stop here for a while and the cabrilla seemingly come from all over the place and arrange themselves around us. It is an enchanting encounter, and we simply rest prone on the sand for minutes to enjoy the assemblage.

On the swim back, we spot three or four types of nudibranches clinging to the rocks. One is a very cool dark colored sea slug or sea goddess with hundreds of gold spots (I've never identified it.). Myron discovers an octopus who unfortunately quickly retreats into a crevice. Several more Cortez anglefish appear nearer the shore.

Twice during the dive Myron pops up to the surface to check our position. Although I already know that Myron is an excellent underwater navigator, I also learn a lesson here. It's no shame to go up and check if you want to (and your dive profile permits it).

The exit is not really difficult, but a little bit challenging for me. The poor footing over the rocks is compounded by alot of glare off the water, the small waves, and a bit of diver fatigue (after almost 80 minutes in the water). I pretty much drag myself the final 20 feet to the shoreline over the rocks.

I didn't expect to see alot at this dive site and was very pleasantly surprised. The sea life is abundant and it is interestingly different from the predominantly Caribbean dives I've experienced to date. All this and close to home!

Mares Avanti Quattro
U S Divers Matrix
80 ft3 Al
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
Body of Water:
Sea of Cortez
U S Divers
3mm shorty
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
8 lb (Myron's)
Water Type:
Video Equipment: