Whidbey Island Critters

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:10 am

And the show goes on :)

Casa Cenote. We visited it back on July 17, 2002 when our family toured the Yucatan peninsula Mayan ruins. We traveled light with only fins, masks and snorkels. No facilities of any kind, no signs, no fee to pay. We just jumped in and swim all over the place. I was so impressed that I vowed that I will come back some day. It took 16 years. This time we found it busy with hordes of divers and snorkelers and I had to fork out 500 pesos for my camera. Now I was planning to give Maya my point and shoot little Olympus TG-5 to take pictures of fish for which my 8mm lens is almost useless. But that required another 500 pesos, which I felt to be a ripoff and so we left it in the car. I was told, that every camera in a housing, regardless of size make you a professional photographer and so you must pay up. GoPro's are excluded, but I did not have one. We are joined for this dive by fellow Washingtonians, Carl & Nanci from Bellevue, Roman being our guide. I enjoyed the dive, for it was so different from the previous dives, no stalactites here, and plenty of sunshine not far away from us...
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
ScubaJess
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 1854
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:56 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby ScubaJess » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:23 pm

WOW That Catfish is awesome!!!!!!!!!! Man viz looks great :-)
You guys are so cool!!
Live Long And Prosper!!!

Stay Warm underwater with the Weezle Extreme Plus undergarment! Please let me know if you would like to order one or have any questions. :luv: :partydance: :eric: :taco:

Sharkb8
Avid Diver
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:05 am

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Sharkb8 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:03 pm

Amazing report on Hell's Bells! Actually amazing reports on all of them, but that cenote is by far my favorite one that you've shared. Those speleothems are incredible! Hopefully I will get to see them in person someday.
Party underwater

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:15 am

Another great dive guided by Dirk Penzel and assisted by Giosino Peppe Pasquariello.
The Maravillas Hells Bells, rest in the fog like layer of hydrogen sulfide, giving the whole scene a mysterious tone. That made this time photography much more challenging. With limited visibility, I was not able to capture as much of the Hells Bells beauty as I was hoping for.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:44 am

Thanks Jesse, more coming :)
Juggling between Whidbey dives and Yucatan cenote dives, the differences could not be greater. The clear, mostly freshwater in Mexico and the cold, silty saltwater of Whidbey Island. Sifting through hundreds of pictures ...In the case of cenotes, there is a connection between the underworld of darkness and the lush, sun drenched jungle above, represented via tree roots, which descent from the overhead down to the fresh water of the cenotes...
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Scubie Doo
I've Got Gills
Posts: 2766
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:13 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Scubie Doo » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:22 pm

Cenotes shots are spectacular!!!! Thanks Jan.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:15 am

Alaska Airline brought me back from the warm and clear tropical waters on Saturday night, and Sunday morning I found myself on the shores of Deception Pass. The tides were just too not to revisit my favorite Whidbey dive site. I found the visibility bad, about 8 murky feet, and what was even worse, the Finger sponges continue dying in alarming numbers. It was not a sight I was looking forward after diving in the cenotes, which in general, do not harbor almost zero living critters, save for few vertebrates in some of them. At this time, no other sponges seem to be affected.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:06 pm

This is what happens when you let me loose in a cave with a digital camera loaded with lots of memory in the card :)
And this is just from one dive ! Dreamgate Upstream :)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:48 am

Hell Bells of El Zapote cenote was the main reason I returned to Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Somehow we missed it on our trip back in November, so when Maya told me that she will be attending the World Ocean Summit in Cancun, the Alaska Airlines voucher we got on last trip to Mexico became yet another reason why I just had to see the incredible underwater formations of El Zapote. Also the University of Heidelberg in Germany just published paper of their extensive work on the unique speleothems shining some light on the mysterious structures. And it did not disappoint. With the help of very capable guide of Dirk Penzel of Cenote-Diving.com, Maya and I had a fantastic experience diving along these amazing bells.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
oldsalt
Pelagic
Posts: 904
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:02 am

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby oldsalt » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:13 pm

This shows that field identification of so many organisms just isn't possible. In this case, it required microscopic examination by an expert. It reminds me of a time when I had been diagnosed with a tapeworm. My physician narrowed it down to a few. We were going through the books together trying to find a match. For one species it read; "This can only be identified by an autopsy." I didn't have that one. Good work Jan.
-Curt
Happy to be alive.

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:08 pm

I would like to give a big THANK YOU to the people who devote their time and talents to taxonomy. I just had an interesting experience involving sponge from Deception Pass. For many years I called it erroneously Glove Sponge (Neoesperiopsis digitata). Then last year it was brought to my attention that it might be Orange Finger Sponge ( Isodictya rigida). Sponges are notoriously difficult to identify. Colors, shapes and textures are not much help to correctly ID them. So when I collected specimen in order to start seeking an answer to why so many of them are dying, I received offer to correctly identify the Finger sponge of Deception Pass. Well, it was an educational journey, from tracing the origins of the sponge in 1893 to February 2018 when the microscopic examination revealed that it is Tan Finger Sponge - Isodictya quatsinoensis. Thank you, Bruce Ott :)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
oldsalt
Pelagic
Posts: 904
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:02 am

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby oldsalt » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:44 am

Is it plant, animal, or something else? :questionmarks:
Curt
Happy to be alive.

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:52 pm

Any ideas what it is ? Never seen that before.
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:47 pm

Skyline Wall - February silt. The river runoff affecting Whidbey dive sites extend up to Fidalgo Island.
Candy shrimp is always a welcome sight. One Crimson anemone body white, the other orange.
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:39 pm

When Northern Kelp Crabs get tired of the kelp diet... :)
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:46 pm

Alex,The path towards the search for the wasting of the Finger sponge is tied to the Sea Star Wasting Disease. The University of British Columbia was looking for a wasting sea stars, sending inquire to Friday Harbor Lab. They referred it to Cornell and they told them about me. By now it was harder to find a wasting stars, but I keep coming across some on my dives. So I agreed to look for them, they had to be live specimen, not preserved. UBC traveled to Whidbey, I managed to find one at Coupeville and during the conversation I mentioned the calamity of Finger sponges in the Pass, and they told me they will try to see if they can help. The rest is history. No problem to find sick sponge in Deception Pass, again a live specimen was collected and now I am waiting if some answer will be found...
I attached the discovery of Thraustochytrids in the wasting Ochraeus star. This is NOT related to the sponges.
I have to admit it is a bit over my head, by I enjoy taking part in the search for the culprits :)

Image
Image
Image

Tidepool Geek
Aquaphile
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:36 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Tidepool Geek » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:25 am

Hi Jan,

I'm looking forward to what you learn on this.
I'd also be interested in how the study itself came to be. Did you reach out to UBC about the disease or were they already working on it?

Contagiously yours,
Alex

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:23 am

Collecting sponge for UBC, these specimen to be kept alive, no freezer, no alcohol. Hopefully the reason for the wasting of these Deception Pass sponges will be found. From the quick observation on my last dive in bad visibility - the die off slowed down...
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:11 pm

Deception Pass, February 9. Visibility is pretty bad lately in all the waters around Whidbey Island. The fish eye lens makes look better than it really is. I blame the recent rains and river floods. Checking on the sea stars and Orange finger sponges, from what I could tell by the limited visibility, the sponges did not accelerate their wasting and not one star found sick.
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Vjw
Aquaphile
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:38 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Vjw » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:15 pm

Beautiful photos and sound advice!

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:16 pm

So I asked the marine critters how they feel about the stock marked going up and going down in such wild gyrations. All agreed that they go through the same, depending on the moon cycle. If it is full or new moon, the tides go crazy. Way up and way down. Time to be careful how you plan your dive. And when the first and third quarter moon shine, enjoy diving, even the current sensitive areas. Sounds like a good advice :)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:35 am

Keystone Jetty, February 4.
Crime scene - Severed Lingcod head. No fishing zone, no fishing season, no body.
Meanwhile - gang of Bering hermit crabs and one Painted anemone trying to eat the evidence...
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:59 pm

Wrinkled dogwinkle snails. Progress at the end of Keystone jetty rocks.
The eggs are now showing up, some of the snail returning to "normal " life :)
Image

User avatar
ScubaJess
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 1854
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:56 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby ScubaJess » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:24 am

Hi Jan,
Sorry about your camera. I'm glad you are safe! I can come help look for it next weekend:)

Fantastic pics as always. Always nice to see the next generation of fish!!! :-)

Have a good day!
Live Long And Prosper!!!

Stay Warm underwater with the Weezle Extreme Plus undergarment! Please let me know if you would like to order one or have any questions. :luv: :partydance: :eric: :taco:

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3863
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:58 am

It had to happen. :(
On my last dive at Keystone, my back-up Olympus TG-4 camera in Olympus housing decided to part with me in the moment when a ships wake hit as I was putting my first fin on. I had to take care of the more expensive camera and had to hope to find the small point & shoot. I did not find since the visibility went south too. Searching in vain, so if you find it, I certainly would appreciate if you to let me know...
Image
Image
Image
Image


Return to “Critter Watchers - PNW Marine Life”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests