Journal archives for March 2021

March 14, 2021

Dive #462 - Madrona - Maze and Big Wall - 3 February 2021

First ling cod egg mass dive of the year, and we found one pretty quickly in the Maze. Swam out to the Big Wall, where we found the two GPO Buds in their crack, close to one another. A couple of healthy looking sunflower stars. Sailfin sculpin. I was photographing a yellow-eye rockfish when I saw J's light - a big GPO was out hunting. Same Y-E rockfish I was trying to photograph earlier in the season with S? Same octopus? We watched it hunt for awhile - it didn't care we were there - and then went into deco. Came up to a cod and a Pacific Staghorn Sculpin. Found some late-season kelp greenling eggs with good development. Red Irish Lord. C-O Sole. Aleutian Moonsnail. Pacific Batwing Seaslug that was swimming and settled on the sand. Buffalo Sculpin. English Sole.

Near the end of the dive, in the shallows, we found a big lingcod in a cloud of reproductive fluids. I think it was a female who'd just layed eggs, based on her concave belly. J thought it was a male fertilizing. There was a sneaker male nearby. The big lingcod just layed on top of the egg mass, looking tired. Pretty neat to witness.

Posted on March 14, 2021 07:11 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 51 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dive #463 - Tyee - Left Side - 7 February 2021

We've had a lot of rain, so viz wasn't the best. Maybe 25 ft. Umbrella crab, Grandpa Wolf Eel, a Vermilion star that looked like it was on a roller coaster with its rays up, and two big PSKCs. Thought one was a molt, so tried to pick it up. Turns out it wasn't. Those big ones are heavy!. Second umbrella crab. Only one ling cod egg mass, in the shallows.

Posted on March 14, 2021 07:14 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 35 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dive #464 - Wall Beach - 11 February 2021

Beautiful dive at Dolphin today. Dale spotted some kind of sucker fish. Little orange nudi. Brown rockfish. Gumboot chitons of all sizes, including a few cute little ones, and a few with yellow mottling. Two ling cod egg masses guarded by dads. Beautiful spiral nudi egg ribbon. Some big healthy-looking sunflower stars. Male wolf eel has taken up residence, although was shy.

I was swimming along and almost ran head-first into a big male GPO that was sitting out on the sand/rock. He started to trundle along, doing a little hunting for snacks and not bothered by our presence at all. He found a tree branch and chewed it in half (!!!). My video light worked great to get some nice photos of him out and about. I ended up in deco and went up into the water column to watch from above.

I don't know what it is about this year and GPO encounters, but this is the 4th one this season that's been out and about without caring divers are around.

Posted on March 14, 2021 07:20 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 66 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dive #465 - Dolphin Beach - 17 February 2021

First dive of the year with snow on the ground. It was really cold in the shade, although bright and sunny out of it.

Sea lion came up to see us within the first couple minutes of the dive. I found a Cockrell's dorid, then a rhino crab. Swam along the trench for a bit, then headed to the wall. J found a crimson anemone that was brooding young in its tentacles. Two tiny orange nudis, a wee little baby PSKC who had just molted, the same Vermillioin rockfish that always hangs out at the wall, a 2nd Cockrell's dorid (!!!), and a wolf eel, although I didn't see it because I was in deco from my trip to see the Vermillion. Lovely dive in the sun, although we didn't end up far left at all, because the ebb was strong and pushing us back.

Found a Stelletta clarella sponge, although I had no idea what it was at the time.

Posted on March 14, 2021 07:26 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 32 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dive #466 - Tyee - Right Side - 23 February 2021

Waves crashing over our heads, very windy night dive. We started at Oakleaf, but changed to Tyee because of the storm. Northern clingfish in the shallows. The tide was way, way down, so we got to go deep to the lower shelf, below the biggest boulders. I spotted a PSKC and a stubby squid right next to it. J pointed out another PSKC right by it. In the sand on the right side, I spotted two more stubby squid. On the way back we were in the 40-50ft range, looking for ling cod egg masses. I found the most massive PSKC ever (4 hand lengths across from leg tip to leg tip!) and it didn't care that I was in its way - just kept coming. Nearby another smaller PSKC. Two pairs makes me wonder if they're gathering to mate?

Posted on March 14, 2021 07:28 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 66 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dive #467 - Finn Beach - 24 February 2021

FANTASTIC NIGHT DIVE!!! 5 LUMPSUCKERS!!!! All in the same 25ft sq area, by the buoy. One was in a chunk of the metal piece just off from the bigger metal bar that's near the buoy, aerating eggs with her tail. Two were in moonsnail shells. One was a matching orange rust to the metal colour. SO AMAZING!!!

Started out by spotting a zebra slug on eelgrass, which was a pretty great find. 3 little red octos, a tiny little stubby squid the size of my pinky fingernail, grunt sculpin. SUCH A GOOD DIVE!!!

Posted on March 14, 2021 07:31 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 31 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dive #468 - The Jib - 28 February 2021

Nice to be underwater, but nothing out of the ordinary other than a buffalo sculpin with a white mohawk/racing stripe and a fuzzy onchidoris. Thought I did see a vermilion star flexing its rays, and a pink star eating a clam. Good up-close shots of a rainbow star.

Posted on March 14, 2021 08:20 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 62 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 28, 2021

Dive #469 - Madrona Small Wall - 3 March 2021

A super long, fun dive with Jill tonight on the Small Wall. We were looking for barnacle nudi eggs, having found the nudis themselves a few weeks ago here. No eggs spotted, but we did see lots of other great critters: too many little stubby squid and red octos to count out in the sand, once we were around the rock and on the sand flats. 3 Cockerell's dorids, all on the same rock. Grunt sculpin with eggs. Lots of crabs with eggs (helmet and red rocks). A mosshead warbonnet with great hair. A small GPO on the wall, and the usual orange wolf eel (although s/he was shy tonight).

Posted on March 28, 2021 07:07 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 75 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment