Tagged: fish

Painted greenling fish and Hermissenda crassicornis nudibranch.

Photo of the Week: Painted Greenling (and a Bonus Hermissenda Nudibranch)

Those who have been following this blog for any length of time will recall that finding tiny surprise creatures in a photo is one of my favorite things in the whole world.

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A wolf eel living in the wreckage of the UB-88 submarine wreck

No Wolf Eel Left Behind

On Saturday, I got up at the ungodly hour of 4-something-a.m. and made the pilgrimage up to Long Beach to catch a charter out to dive the UB-88 submarine wreck.

Sometimes, I think I’m doing “leisure” wrong.

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Fijian landscape

Throwback Thursday: Fiji Honeymoon

I’d never heard of Air Pacific prior to booking our honeymoon flight to Fiji. It seemed like LAX hadn’t, either; our gate was in a forgotten far corner of the antiquated Bradley Terminal, a good half-mile away from the security checkpoint. No big deal, though: after the hot shower I’d had in the airport lounge, the commute was a pleasant way to wind down before the redeye flight. That is, it was leisurely until it was nearly time to board, and I realized I had left my passport behind at security.

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Wolf Eel on USS Hogan Wreck, San Diego

Photo of the Week: A Wolf Eel on the USS Hogan Wreck

The USS Hogan wreck is pretty much the perfect San Diego dive site–the conditions are usually excellent, the sea life is abundant, and the depth and distance from port are such that the site has an air of exclusivity to it.

It’s also so rife with wolf eels that it almost–note I said almost–renders them old hat.

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Anker's Whip Coral Shrimp (Pontonides ankeri)

This Shrimp is the Tiniest Sea Creature You’ve Never Seen

It’s easy for divers to get stoked on seeing the big-ticket critters. Manta rays? Majestic. Sharks? Spellbinding.

So far, we’re all on the same page here.

There’s this cognitive leap, though, that occurs for divers when they learn to find and appreciate the nudibranch. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario, but this leap happens around the same time as divers learn to slow down and control their air consumption. Tiny things become cool, dives get longer, and there’s of course the self-satisfaction that comes out of being able to find and recognize the more obscure creatures.

But it takes a special breed to go for the borderline microscopic stuff. It’s possible they’ve taken the obscure critter-finding obsession too far: if you can barely see the thing without a magnifying glass, and your dive buddies can’t see it at all, are you really in your right mind?

Probably not, but that doesn’t seem to stop me, now does it?

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Ringed or Banded Pipefish (Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus), another member of the Syngnathidae family

The Reproductive Habits of the Ghost Pipefish (A Limerick)

When asked of his ties to the seahorse,

the ghost pipefish replied in due course:

“Though I lack a pouch,

“our girls are no slouch,

“and they tend to their eggs without remorse.”

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Ornate Ghost Pipefish

A Limerick about the Ornate Ghost Pipefish

There once was a pipefish so ornate,

the crinoid it lived in seemed cut-rate.

“This feather star’s plain,”

said the fish, “I’d not deign

“to inhabit so homely an estate.”

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Diving the Eureka Oil Rig

Getting Riggy on Eureka

The silence of my rebreather allows me to hear every hydraulic hiss, every crash as steel collides with steel, the sounds of industry happening above the surface. I catch myself wondering whether the fish are anchovy or sardine, realizing that I have been contemplating the question for several minutes, lazily resolving the taxonomical conundrum with the label: baitfish.

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Blue Ribbon Eel

Everything you need to know about ribbon eels, and a little about gymnastics

Reminiscent of the ribbon event in rhythmic gymnastics, ribbon eels are a dramatic sight. Here are some interesting facts about ribbon eels and some photos of these beautiful, fascinating creatures.

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Feather star (crinoid) in Anilao, Philippines

Creepy crinoids and the camouflaged critters that colonize them

What stalks across the seafloor and ripples around the reef?

What looks like a plant, but then GRABS you when you swim past?

What has no brain, an anus next to its mouth, and a bunch of sticky arms that reach out and attach to you?

What’s beautiful and terrifying all at once? The crinoid.

What’s underwater and creepier than a crinoid? NOTHING.

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Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Pygmy seahorse

In Pursuit of Pygmy Seahorses

The scene is a hotel room in Anilao, Philippines. Our heroine is standing over a console table, assembling an underwater camera, when her husband enters the room with news from their dive guide.

HUSBAND: The boat is going looking for pygmy seahorses today. How big are they, anyway?

Our heroine looks up, instinctively making a gesture with her thumb and forefinger suggesting about an inch, but seems less certain as she begins to waffle bigger and smaller. The husband smirks at her indecision.

Cut to underwater. The dive guide signals for our heroine’s attention and begins to methodically pick through a purple gorgonian fan, despite the fact that it appears completely barren of life.

He points at a spot on the fan. She squints.

He points again, and a piece of the fan no larger than her pinky fingernail moves slightly. She squints. Recognition washes over her face as it registers that pygmy seahorses are much, much smaller than she had originally thought.

Photographing pygmy seahorses is going to take some work.

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Anilao, Batangas, Philippines: Frogfish

Frogfish are basically sponges with mouths

How to find a frogfish? Look for sponges. Look at all the sponges. If a sponge looks like it has a mouth, it might be a frogfish. If it doesn’t look like it has a mouth, it might still be a frogfish. Maybe poke it. If it moves, your chances that it is a frogfish just went up.

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Seahorse, Westpunt, Curaçao

The Recalcitrant Seahorse

Once upon a time, in a magical far away land called Curaçao, there was a seahorse.   And it was a jerk.   Every time I approached it with my camera, it would turn its back to me. Every. Single. Time. Sometimes, it even just got up and walked away. I hated that seahorse. And []

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Divers in the wheelhouse

The Ruby E: One of San Diego’s Most Richly Historied Shipwrecks

The Ruby E, one of San Diego’s premiere wrecks for divers, has a rich and colorful history. Although initially commissioned to intercept Prohibition-Era alcohol shipments on behalf of the United States Coast Guard, she also assisted in Bering Sea patrols, thwarted Japanese task forces in the Aleutian Islands during WWII, and worked as a commercial fish processing boat in Central America. She now rests in 85′ of water outside of Mission Bay.

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Diver at La Reina, Sea of Cortez, Mexico

I saw things in the Sea of Cortez that were not nudibranchs

Despite troublesome conditions on our Sea of Cortez diving trip (on the liveaboard dive boat Nautilus Explorer), we did manage a few days where the visibility was good enough to leave the macro lens in the cabin and get underwater for some wide-angle action. In fact, the water was so clear and beautiful on our first []

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USS Hogan wreck

Diving the Hogan Wreck

USS Hogan was a Wickes-class destroyer commissioned in 1919. During WWII, she served as a minesweeper and coastal convoy ship. In November of 1945, she was used as a target ship for firing tests and sank. Located south of the Point Loma peninsula on the US-Mexican border, the Hogan wreck rests just far enough from the []

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Sarcastic Fringehead

Diving at La Jolla Shores is like Going to the Zoo…

… In that I always seem to end up seeing one of everything. Seriously, head down there with a creature checklist and cross it off, and then ascend when you’ve seen it all. WOW, what an amazing night dive at La Jolla Shores. We went in at 8pm and dropped into about 15 feet of []

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Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber

Chamber Day 2013 and Catalina Kelp Diving

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013, marked the 25th annual Chamber Day on Catalina. The event benefits Catalina’s hyperbaric chamber, the only hyperbaric chamber in Southern California that is exclusively dedicated to the treatment of diving accidents. The Chamber, which is staffed 24/7/365 by volunteers, derives over half of its annual budget from Chamber Day proceeds. We []

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Metridium (white plumose anemone) on the Eureka oil rig

13 More Photos from Diving the Oil Rigs and the Wreck of the Olympic

Another dive trip to the oil rigs off Long Beach came and went recently, with the typical trifecta of sites: the wreck of the Olympic, the Eureka rig, and the Ellen-Elly twin rigs. The swell prediction leading up to the trip was not encouraging, and surface conditions the day of the trip did not bring []

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Rebreather divers at the wreck of the Infidel

Tech Diving Catalina Island and the California Oil Rigs

Southern California Tech Diving with Ocean Research Group This past weekend, I attended my first Ocean Research Group technical dive trip on the Sand Dollar out to Catalina Island, California.  As a fledgling SoCal tech diver, it was pretty cool to do some “big kid” deep dives under the guidance of experienced divers and instructors. I’m also []

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claws-jaws-tentacles-3

Curaçao: Claws, Jaws, and Cephalopods

Just some crustaceans, eels, and mollusks we encountered on our recent scuba diving trip to Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles: Banded coral shrimp…   The batwing coral crab…   The red reef hermit crab…   The white speckled hermit crab…   Banded clinging crabs… which I think are just ADORABLE…   Spotted cleaner shrimp…   The perennially-grumpy []

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California-Sea-Lion-20.jpg

Why I Dive: Sea Lion Edition

People ask me all the time why I dive here in California. Maybe they’ve gone for a dive or a snorkel in Hawaii or the Caribbean, and they know the water here is so much colder and darker and less clear. I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve asked, incredulously, “Is there anything to []

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Leopard Shark at Marine Room, La Jolla, California

Snorkeling with Leopard Sharks at the Marine Room!

Yeah, I usually dive. But it was a sunny day, and the shallow water was clear. And who wants to put on a drysuit and carry all that heavy scuba equipment across the beach in the hot sun? Not me, not yesterday. But the leopard sharks have moved in at La Jolla. And I had []

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Black Sea Nettle in Point Loma kelp beds, San Diego, California

Operation: Black Sea Nettle is a success!

One of my (many) favorite things about scuba diving in San Diego is the constant turnover of animal populations. I’ve lived and dove here for less than a year, and already I’ve been witness to the market squid run and the bat ray invasion. I was there when the juvenile rockfish moved in at La Jolla Shores, []

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Free diver with whale shark.

Diving with whale sharks in Placencia, Belize

Who wouldn’t want to swim with whale sharks? We certainly did–so when we realized that our anniversary trip to Belize was going to coincide with the May full moon (that is to say, smack in the middle of Belize whale shark season), we shuffled our itinerary around to include a couple of days in Placencia, []

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Garabaldi and kelp at La Jolla Cove

Diving La Jolla Cove

When I mention it, local divers are always shocked to hear I’ve never been to La Jolla Cove. NO LONGER! On Tuesday, Tedd and I set out to rectify the never-dove-the-Cove situation once and for all. Surface conditions were beautiful, with gentle 1-2-foot waves, plentiful sunshine, and no wind. We waded in and swam out []

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Metridium on HMCS Yukon

Diving San Diego’s Wreck Alley and Kelp Forest

I spent Memorial Day diving with my friends at San Diego dive boat Marissa Charters in Wreck Alley and the Point Loma kelp beds. It’s always nice to be out on the boat, but Monday was amazing! We had great weather topside and pretty good visibility out on our dives!   HMCS Yukon HMCS Yukon is a []

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