October 14, 2021

Dive #511 - Cottam Point

Started off with some nice jellies in the shallows, and found the massive pink sea star again. Urchins with hats, and one standing on its side. A few Batwing sea slugs. Octo mom with eggs, and a couple other GPOs. Sea stars in weird positions. Brown rockfish, which I don't remember seeing here before.

Posted on October 14, 2021 06:13 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 44 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 27, 2021

Dives #508 - Madrona Small Wall - 16 September 2021

First real night dive of the year. A 4 yo girl was entranced by us gearing up in the parking lot, and made her family go back down to the beach to see us splash. It was adorable.

A little bit of SSWD and sea cuke wasting. The highlight for me was spotting a wee tiny little juvenile grunt sculpin that was so little it didn't even have its adult colours in yet! I found leather stars with 5, 6, and 7 rays. J spotted a baby red octopus. Lots of small sailfin sculpins, and a couple of Red Irish Lords.

Posted on September 27, 2021 05:22 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 58 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 20, 2021

Dives #507 - Cottam Point - 14 September 2021

Raced through the last proof-read of my last comprehensive exam (!!!) and went diving. Cottam Point dives are rare due to tides and stairs, so I wasn't going to miss this one. Glad I didn't, because there was a GPO WITH EGGS!!! (only the 3rd I've seen in 507 dives). Also the most massive Giant Pink Star I've ever seen. And a 6-ray and a 7-ray leather star.

I saw a lot of Pacific Blood Stars with pink ray pits - obviously a genetic thing in this population. I love the GPOs at Cottam, because they're really messy and the dens are obvious. We saw a couple. Juvenile PSKC. Lots of urchins with fun hats. 2 big cabezon, including one under a rock with a lingcod friend that charged at me when I got too close. I got a really good photo of a wee little painted greenling tucked among the orange zoanthids.

A few wasting sea cucumbers here and there, but nowhere near as many as Dolphin.

Posted on September 20, 2021 05:47 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 76 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dives #506 - Riv Tow - 11 September 2021

Finally got Radio Flyer back after a summer stuck in the boat yard for repairs, so J and I took it for a rip around. Winds weren't good, so we had to stick to the channel. Thus, a trip to Warbonnet City. Sure enough, loads of warbonnets (mostly decorated, but one mosshead). Grunt sculpin. Pacific Batwing Seaslug on our safety stop, along with a school of Striped Surfperch munching on stuff on the line.

Posted on September 20, 2021 05:05 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 30 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dives #504 & 505 - Dolphin Beach - 6 September 2021 - Diving with the Côté Lab

Diving with folks from the Côté Lab at SFU Biology (including @emlim) to collect sea cucumber samples after wasting swept through. We spotted a school of anchovies - beautiful in the sunlight. We looked at the cuke devastation and samples were collected. A few mottled stars and a vermilion showing wasting too. My buddy found a nice big GPO in a den under a rock on the first sand flat. There were some big fried egg jellies out. Oregon triton and vermilion stars eating dead sea cucumbers.

Once at the wall, the ususal suspects: Vermillion rockfish, school of yellowtail rockfish, tiger rockfish, juvenile yelloweye rockfish. The wolf eel pair was home.

Coming up we watched the anchovies again. Second dive started at the wolf eel pair den and went right. I found a Cockrell's Dorid.

Posted on September 20, 2021 04:31 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 50 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 29, 2021

Dive #503 - Wall Beach - 28 August 2021 - Sea Cucumber Mortality Event

There's a sea cucumber (Apostichopus californicus) mass mortality event happening in Nanoose. My buddy Jill and I dove at Dolphin Beach this morning, and every cucumber we found above 30m was dead or dying. Temp was 17c in the shallows, 10c at 30m. Divers around the corner at Tyee report the same thing, as of two days ago. For our second dive, we went to Wall Beach and while there was some evidence of the same type of cucumber dead, there was less and all cukes under 14m appeared healthy. Temp in the shallows was 17c, under 15m was 10c.

Posted on August 29, 2021 05:46 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 59 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Dive #502 - Dolphin Beach - 28 August 2021 - Sea Cucumber Mortality Event

There's a sea cucumber (Apostichopus californicus) mass mortality event happening in Nanoose. My buddy Jill and I dove at Dolphin Beach this morning, and every cucumber we found above 30m was dead or dying. Temp was 17c in the shallows, 10c at 30m. Divers around the corner at Tyee report the same thing, as of two days ago. For our second dive, we went to Wall Beach and while there was some evidence of the same type of cucumber dead, there was less and all cukes under 14m appeared healthy. Temp in the shallows was 17c, under 15m was 10c.

Posted on August 29, 2021 05:25 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 73 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 06, 2021

Dive #471 - Clarke Rock - 11 March 2021

J and I went out to Clarke Rock on a beautiful sunny day to look for lingcod egg masses. The visibility above water was great - we could see down to Washington. Below water was another story. We didn't use the line to go down, as I assumed that viz would open up at the bottom. It did not. Since we didn't go down the line, we couldn't find the block. We swam out into the sand, the wrong way for a little while, then turned around and finally hit some part of the rock. I'm still not sure where we were for 95% of that dive. Only at the very end did I figure out where we were. At one point we got separated, and both of us worried about having to find each other and do an open-water safety stop (we can do it, but in such crappy viz it's not nice). Luckily we found each other after a bit of searching.

Anyways, after this dive I'l be staying out of the water for awhile. It's pretty gross, the amount of reproductive fluids. My hair was washed three times when I got home.

Viz was terrible because loads of critters were broadcast spawning: chitons (I have photos of both male and females), chitons, sea stars (vermilions stretched out flat, purple and rose stars up on their tippy rays), sea cucumbers. Also spotted a cookie star, a wee little tiny PSKC and a juvi PSKC. Juvi rhico crab. One ray of a mottled star that didn't look like it was attached to a central disc, but looked healthy anyways.

Posted on May 06, 2021 06:57 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 51 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 05, 2021

Dive #470 - Cottam Point - 7 March 2021

The tides were just right for Cottam, so I got up early to meet for 9am. But I forgot my perscription mask. The non-perscription mask seemed okay on the surface, but was trippy to look through underwater. I was dizzy and had to shut my eyes briefly for the first 20 minutes or so. Then my brain settled down and it was okay.

Sea lions checked us out throughout the dive. 2 BUD OCTOPUS living 3m apart! (More evidence for my future PhD on GPOs that are Buds). I had found a full PSKC molt shell, and wiggled it in front of the den of the more curious GPO - an arm shot out... "MINE!" but quickly figured out it was a molt.

Good to see abalones around, and 4 ling cod egg masses.

Posted on April 05, 2021 05:06 AM by leftcoaster leftcoaster | 59 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