Whidbey Island Critters

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:05 pm

Most of the time the Buffalo sculpin stays motionless, counting on its camouflage to escape diver's attention,
but time to time I find them bolting away.
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Norris
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Norris » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:35 am

Welcome back Jan, I hope you feel better soon.
**Pinch it, don't stick your finger through. You're just pinching a bigger hole.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:58 pm

The clear, warm waters of Baja just a memory now. I am back at the rainy and windy Whidbey,
catching up on pictures taken in local waters before I left for the southern sun. Still sick with
the cold, returning to local critters digitally for the time being...

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oldsalt
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby oldsalt » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:00 pm

What a blessing to be able to make a trip like this with Maya. Despite our weather and your cold you have a lot to be thankful for. This is the appropriate forum since you are the quintessential Whidbey Critter. I enjoyed taking this trip remotely.
Thanks, Curt :thankyouyellow:
Happy to be alive.

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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Scubie Doo » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:01 am

So cool Jan. Made me feel like I was back there. Looks like we just missed the Bull Sharks. They were hoping they would come soon, and looks like they did. Thank you for sharing your experience and wonderful talent with us :)


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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:10 pm

And this wraps it up for our brief visit to the "Aquarium of the World".
Arturo Ortega, Tours Cabo, was the perfect host ,guide, company.
Of course I wish we had more time to explore the other sites, that I had another lens on some of the dives, but that is always the case, regardless of where we dive. At least the digital age eliminated the dreadful 36 exposure of film in the years past :)
And it gives us reason to hope for another visit. Thank you for your kind comments, now I got to go back to nurse my cold so I can go diving here on Whidbey again.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:43 pm

Wednesday, our last day of diving before flying out. It was the calmest one of all our days in Cabo Pulmo. The choice for today: the wreck of El Vencedor and El Cantil reef. Although it is too early for the Bull sharks, they like the colder water later in the season, somebody reported sighting few days ago and so it weighted in favor of the wreck, since that is the place the sharks like to visit. It is not a feeding or chumming dive like they do in the Bahamas. Here divers descend to the wreckage ( not much left intact here now ), lay on the sand and wait. The Bull sharks are curious creatures and will approach the divers, swimming by and that is it . We follow the direction, settle on the bottom and wait. And as predicted, first one, then two others appear from the open water and lazily swim by. Too far for my fisheye lens, but as they ventured even closer by every circle. Maya managed to get some video from which I piked few screen grabs. After while we started our exploration, the sharks keeping distance now and we explored the area. The giant net still piled up around the propeller area. The sandy plain around has hundreds of Garden eels poking their snake-like bodies out of the sand, waving slowly like flowers in the breeze. Nice dive.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:13 pm

The Tuesday, our third day of diving started with return to the Del Morro reef and swimming with the Jacks again.
This time I paid more attention to the other, not so numerous species.
I wish that for some of them I had a different lens on my camera, but Maya did a good job with what she had, point and shoot. :)
The second dive was off a rock called El Islote, the schools of fish were smaller, but nice. Again, the corals were not much in presence here neither. But water was warm, visibility good and company great.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:43 pm

One of the perils of travel is the weather. Rather the unpredictability of it. The full moon was shining
all night and our third day of diving started under clear skies. But the strong northerly wind created
surf big enough that all diving was cancelled.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:38 pm

Second day of diving Cabo Pulmo. The main reason I came all the way from the wet and windy Whidbey Island :)
The schools of Bigeye Trevally Jacks are truly incredible. Following our guide Arturo, swimming over rather empty sandy plain, we found them. My pictures don't come even close of capturing the spectacle. From today on, Maya carries a point and shoot camera to provide me with closer look of the critters while the fisheye lens on my rig tries to capture the overall environment the fish live in. I think we work together well, especially this is the first time she used the Olympus TG-4 underwater.
The underwater park regulations limit all dives to 50 minutes, regardless of the depth or location. The access is limited to one boat of six divers maximum, so there is no crowding, the experience is enhanced by this, in my opinion.
The second dive was at the Sea lion colony, the water there was murkier due to surge, the California sea lions decided to stay out in the sun, only one came down to scratch his back on the rock. After the Jacks tornado, this was kind of anticlimax, but we were happy, nevertheless. Maya did like the seal...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:36 am

At first I thought I should post this in the Trip report section, but since most of the stuff deals with fish and critters, and who knows with the global warming we might even begin to see some of them in our waters, I decided to just keep adding to my Whidbey Island Critters even if they are not.

Happy Thanksgiving Day. The high wind warning is in effect for Whidbey Island, it raining and I have a miserable cold, cough and runny nose :( . Also I am back from a week long vacation in Mexico where it was sunny and warm. My daughter Maya, as a present for my birthday, convinced me that I should pack and join her for a trip to the "Aquarium of the World", name supposedly coined by J.Cousteau. Cabo Pulmo on the southern end of Baja California. Alaska Airlines nonstop flight to San Juan de Cabo was the simple part. Transportation from the airport to Cabo Pulmas not so much. We did not want to rent a car just to drive 60 miles to Pulmas and have the car sit there. Long story short, our prearranged driver Carlos did find us at the airport and with the daylight fading fast we got underway on highway 1, dodging cows on the road and not seeing much of the countryside. We made it. Carlos deposits us and our bags at our cabana what seem to be middle of nowhere, and we move in for the night.
Morning looks much better, we walk to the Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort where we had reserved two dives. Checking out rental gear, we brought only masks, fins and booties, all went find until we started suiting up. While putting on my bootie, I felt sharp pain in my big toe. I though a nail somehow got inside, so I quickly took it off, shake it and out falls a scorpion. Well, my first thought was, here goes my diving in Cabo Pulmo, not having any idea what a scorpion sting does to human. I was assured by the dive shop personnel, that unless I am allergic to it, I will be fine. They produced clove of garlic to smear it on the sting, then a cup of milk heavily fortified with garlic. When I gulped it down, almost immediately it all came out and I deposited all that and my breakfast into a nearby garage can. Not a good start. My toe was throbbing but the pain was manageable, little more than a bee sting. So we load gear into a boat and are launched by an ingenious system of floating cart and four wheel drive car into the surf. Short run on choppy waters to the first dive site. Rolling into warm waters of the Sea of Cortez at Del Morro reef. It has been fourteen years since I dove in tropical waters and I have to admit, not bad feeling. Plus fifty foot visibility, nice change from our Pacific Northwest. The one and only reason I came to Cabo Pulmo, was to see the incredible schools of fish, this place is famous for. We did not find them today. Second dive at El Bajo reef also was rather underwhelming. There is very little live coral here, especially when compared with my last tropical dives in Cozumel.
After the dive we met Arturo, who was to be our host for the rest of our stay here. He moved us to a cheaper, smaller cabana in the heart of the village, on the main road, close to the dive operations.
Solar panels provide electric power, and although I was worried at first about charging the many batteries, there was no problem whatsoever.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:03 am

As food, in Japan, sea urchin is known as uni. It is served raw as sashimi or in sushi, with soy sauce and wasabi.
Whidbey critters seem to prefer sashimi.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Tidepool Geek » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:55 am

Hi Jan,

Cool Find!. Repeated observations of the same site(s) pays off again. It will be interesting to see if this population sustains, expands, or collapses.

Invasively yours,
Alex

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:38 pm

The correct name is Diadumene lineata, not Haliplanella, because of synonymy issues...
Last edited by Jan K on Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:44 am

Election Day at Holmes Harbor.
Stranded Egg yolk jellies in eelgrass patch.
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Last edited by Jan K on Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:05 am

At Possession Beach, yet another predator decimates the colony of young sea pens. Hopefully enough of the small orange beauties survive...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:37 am

On my recent dive at Deception Pass I noticed many crabs munching on the white small cucumbers. Well, it seems that the cucumbers eject their internal organs when food becomes scarce , (they are filter feeders). Obviously, the crabs are not that picky and enjoy the meal.
The cucumber regenerate the organs afterwards.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:12 pm

Possession Beach, Whidbey Island. There was not a single adult sea pen where there used to be forest of them.
Now the juveniles are plentiful, but so are the predators...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:20 pm

Grateful Diver wrote:I didn't realize you were still allowed to dive the tire reef at Langley ... I thought they closed that site.

... Bob (Grateful Diver)


Langley is still and will remain closed to scuba divers because of the overhead environment, mooring cables and the boat traffic on surface.
They let me dive there by special permission. I provide them with pictures of the mooring harware, condition etc. And Sea Star Wasting Syndrome surveys.

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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Grateful Diver » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:37 am

I didn't realize you were still allowed to dive the tire reef at Langley ... I thought they closed that site.

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
Threats and ultimatums are never the best answer. Public humiliation via Photoshop is always better - airsix

Come visit me at http://www.nwgratefuldiver.com/

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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby oldsalt » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:00 am

Amen to your saying it's good to see them back. In the 70's they were so thick in the San Juans that we could count on catching dinner in a few minutes. The huge schools disappeared by the turn of the century, probably from overfishing. The extreme efforts in protecting them seem to have paid off.
Curt :rawlings:
Happy to be alive.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:42 am

It is nice to see schools of rockfish in our waters ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:43 am

Still trying to catch up with backlog of pics,
Bubble shell snails from Driftwood Park from not so recent dive, the algae is now gone...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:07 pm

Norris wrote:Yeah I was having Jan pic withdrawls

Well, I just discovered how far behind I am in processing pictures. While preparing for the road trip, I just downloaded photos after the dive, and instead of taking the time to catalog them, went after other chores, next day dove again and so it went for days...
So now I slowly try to catch up. Cockscombs from the beginning of October:
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Norris
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Norris » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:31 am

Yeah I was having Jan pic withdrawls
**Pinch it, don't stick your finger through. You're just pinching a bigger hole.
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