It seems that lately, it was easier to find an octopus on dry land than at Keystone jetty. Finally, on my first dive of 2018 the spell was broken and I found a small GPO at the base where they used to be a permanent feature.
Ghost shrimp are a preferred food for gray whales. The state stopped issuing commercial fishing licenses to encourage the whales to keep feeding. It might be fun to dive the same spot after the whales have made their first pass through in the spring to see how the bottom looks then. -Curt
Coupeville wharf. What was once a place overrun with Ochre and Mottled sea stars is now a barren place with few survivors. Unless they moved somewhere during the month I was not diving here. In view of the place being covered with mussels, which happens to be their food, I don't think they went elsewhere. :(
The scenery at Skyline is less colorful these days since the Red sea cucumbers and the Creeping pedal cucumbers stopped feeding for the time being, and the Black cucumbers, although much more numerous are only adding to the monotone feel of the dive site. And their mass spawning did not improve the visibility neither...
In spite of rather ugly weather, it was a busy scene at at the Keystone Underwater Park, parking was at premium. However, meeting friends, above and underwater is always nice, regardless of weather. Thanks guys for the hot dog !
After a month long absence, I revisited Langley Harbor. On my last visit I found widespread sea star wasting and so I was quite apprehensive about what I might find this time. Well, it was not as bad as I expected. I did find some sick stars, but majority of them is healthy and I did find some baby stars too. What was really strange, that I found only two Pink short-spined stars. They used to be dominating the area around and on the tire reef. They were not as badly hit by the major outbreak of the disease during the peak period, but I could not see any this time. I hope I will find them on my next dive there. The sea star activity on one of the mooring H-beam anchors is also interesting. I try to make a point to visit it on every dive.
As I scrape ice from the windshield in the morning, memories of tropical climate rush in. Here is the last series from our November fling in Mexico. Since no scuba diving the day before our scheduled flight was in the plan, we visited a water oriented Xel-Ha park where snorkeling is the main attraction. Unfortunately, our ear infection was getting the best of both of us, my snorkeling venture into the lagoon was short and not too productive. Now I am trying to heal so I can return to the Whidbey Island diving...
The Pit, the only cenote which where we descended deep, hundred feet depth was the exception in our week long journey. The Pit was different in many ways, there was no line, no tight spots to sneak through. But it was awesome experience. And this concludes the cenote diving expedition of 2017. The dives exceeded our expectation, it only whetted my interest in seeing more, for Yucatan Peninsula is one big underground wonderland with so much more to offer. Who knows, maybe I will return ...
Aktun Ha, better known by its not so flattering name Carwash. I found the shallows frequented by snorkelers very interesting, because of the turtles, fish and water lilies, all so different from the underground world of caves and caverns.
Jan: While a long way from Whidbey Island, and not many critters, this is a wonderful series. Your photography skills didn't abandon you on the trip south. What a marvelous birthday gift. In my mind, the best part was having Maya go along. Happy birthday. -Curt