When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

San Diego Nudibranchs: Hermissenda crassicornis

San Diego Nudibranchs

A swell that has been plaguing the San Diego coastline with rough surf (seemingly forever...) finally subsided late last week, just in time for our scheduled Easter Sunday boat dive. Visibility was severely compromised, though, as a result of the extended period of rough ocean conditions. The water was green and murky... and notably quite cold as well (51F). Pretty much the only thing you can do in low-vis conditions like these is look for the little stuff (nudibranchs!) on the rocks, so that's what we did!

(What is a nudibranch, you ask?)

Dino Head

We began the morning at Dino Head, a dive site on the edge of the Point Loma kelp beds. The site is so named for a rock formation that is thought to look like the head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur. I can't speak to the resemblance, however, because in the ~6 feet of visibility we had, we never found it! Instead, we spent the dive circling around a rock pinnacle and spotting common San Diego nudibranchs such as the Spanish Shawl, the yellow-edged Cadlina, the Sea Lemon, and Hermissenda crassicornis.

20120408 spanish shawl When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

20120408 yellow edged cadlina When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

20120408 sea lemon When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

20120408 hermissenda crassicornis 4 When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

 

The Acropolis

Our second dive was on The Acropolis dive site, also in the Point Loma kelp beds. The reef structure here is said to resemble the seats in a Greek amphitheater. I clearly lack sufficient imagination to see the resemblance, but it was a really nice site nonetheless! It had a depth of about 60 feet, with light kelp and a rocky floor. The visibility also opened up to 10+ feet, which was a pleasant surprise, though I still stuck mostly to my macro lens. We were able to see some slightly bigger animals on this dive, such as spiny lobster, sheephead, and painted greenling. We also found plenty more nudibranchs.

20120408 painted greenling When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

20120408 spiny lobster When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

20120408 hermissenda crassicornis 2 When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

20120408 kelp When the visibility gets tough, the tough find nudibranchs

 

Sometimes it takes a little bit of extra composure to descend into murky water with few or no visual references until you're within feet of the bottom. It can be disconcerting, to say the least... but you can still see lots of cool macro life with just a few feet of visibility. I'm learning not to discount these types of conditions, since low visibility doesn't mean the dive can't still be great. Hopefully, the swell model will continue to be favorable, and the water will keep clearing up!

 

sharing with our world, finding beauty in the ordinary, lisa's chaos, love bug, jaymi, communal global, and then she snapped, m3b, create with joy, angry julie monday, kent weakley


  • http://vermilonriverwildlife.blogspot.com/ Boom & Gary

    Really interesting post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  • http://libbysotherblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/macro-monday-what-is-it-2.html Libby

    I know it was disappointing in terms of visibility – but non-divers like me could not tell that by your photos. To me they look amazing! Really – like something that should be in a glossy magazine. First of all the nudibranches themselves are beautiful with great colors, and secondly I think your photos are really top notch. I hope you keep posting. I’m going to follow your blog…

  • http://blog.desiraer.com Desirae R

    Love these pictures, and I just love the colors of the nudibranch!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://eastgwillimburywow.blogspot.com EG CameraGirl , Canada

    Lovely underwater world. :)

  • http://www.tutusshots.blogspot.com MG Atwood

    What glorious shots! I’m in awe. What camera do you use? I adore the ocean, so much! Joining you from live, love travel

  • http://www.ashleyhauck.com Ashley

    Thank you! I’m using a Canon s95!

  • http://davekellerblog.com Dave Keller @ Dave’s Life

    Wow! I love salt water coral reef life in aquariums and in tropical waters. These photos are outstanding and very beautiful!

  • http://totsandme.blogspot.com/ kewkew

    The world underneath our waters is beautiful, strange and mysterious. Your pictures are lovely

  • http://totsandme.blogspot.com/ kewkew
  • http://jaymiblog.blogspot.com Jaymi

    wow, these are amazing underwater shots! Couldn’t tell there were visibility problems based on these! Thanks for sharing at Tips & Pics!

  • http://zongrik.com zongrik

    amazing natural sights we don’t normally see

  • http://raisingahappyfamily-momof8.blogspot.com/ momto8blog

    wow!!! thank you for these pictures!! amazing!

  • http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2012/04/eggs-cornerview.html KelleynGrBe

    Beautiful! Great shots!

  • http://theroadawaitsme.blogspot.com Linda

    I am so glad you post these because there is absolutely no way I will ever be under the water to see them otherwise!These were stunning photographs!

  • http://turningboholano.blogspot.com Tito Eric

    Simply enchanting! Your photographs inspire me to really get going with my PADI certification.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.love-bug-blog.com Amy at love-bug-blog.com

    I just LOVE your underwater posts! I’ve featured this one on today’s Photo Show Off! Come check it out!