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
El Eden aka Ponderosa was my least favorite cenote. Although many reports are describing swimming in the haloclines there as fun, I did not particularly care for almost zero visibility while I lug along my camera gear. Also almost no stalactite decoration and not the best visibility here put El Eden on the bottom of my list .
Dreamgate cenote - our most favorite. Of course, the photos are not even close able to capture the surrounding beauty. Unveiling only fraction of the scene as we swim by, pointing our puny lights at the cathedral full of natures marvel. Even words are failing me ...
Another day with only little bit of sun, so no views of Points of Light inside that cenote, but now and then, view of what could be did appear during our 1,150 feet long excursion through the Tajma Ha.
Another day in the jungle of Yucatan. Chikin Ha cenote did not offer much of the decorative beauty of yesterday dives, but it gave us taste of navigating through halocline where the visibility goes to almost zero as the mixing of salt and fresh water creates a layer of strange visual effect of a jello-like quality. I am use to some of it from our waters, but in Whidbey waters it is not as thick. I don't like it because it makes photography impossible.
Thank you guys, yes, cenotes are sure a great place to dive.
The second dive at Dos Ojos cenote. Snorkelers here have a chance to swim all the way to the Bat Room, it was interesting to see all sudden feet hanging from the surface and disco-like light display as the snorkelers wildly scan their surroundings in otherwise very dark place. In the Bat Room itself, there is a small opening in the center of the dome ceiling, providing access to the topside world for the small animals. Because of the overcast, no sun rays were coming down through it during our dive there.