Whidbey Island Critters

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:29 am

Few more from the Skyline dive.
In the Wolf-eel standoff, nobody moved while I waited to see if the crab will become a meal.
After five minutes, I had to move on ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:58 am

March 29 dive. Sponge and few slugs from Skyline.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:29 am

It has been a while since I reported on the health of starfish around Whidbey Island. The good news: No Wasting sighted! .
And some Sunflower stars are now appearing too. :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:56 am

On the day of our flight from Mexico back to Seattle, Maya and I visited the beach in Playa de Carmen. We found that to the dismay of tourists seeking frolicking in the sand and water, that the beaches are fouled with piles and piles of sargassum seaweed. The cleanup workers are busy to cleanup the mess, but it seems to be thankless job as the wind and currents keep bringing more in with every tide change. Diving cenotes sure was much better alternative :)
On my first cold water dive after returning from Mexico, I found possibly unpleasant connection between the shores of Yucatan and the shallows of Keystone Jetty. Different species of Sargasso seaweed seems to invade what used to be Bull kelp forests. We always had some of the Japanese wireweed here, but never in these quantities. It is too early to know if it is to the detriment of the Bull Kelp since the new kelp is just beginning its annual growth, but in my opinion, every drastic change is worrisome .
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:32 am

Chronologically this was not the last dive, but since I opened the March Yucatan odyssey with the fabulous Hells Bells in El Zapotes , which we visited on dive #3, I decided to conclude the show with photos from dive #7, which also offered very unusual formations. And I was lucky to have my strobes still functioning properly on this dive. How the "bubbly" textures on so many stalactites and stalagmites, columns and even the floor were formed remains a mystery to me.I tried to dig up some info on line, but failed. Thank you Dirk Penzel from Cenote-Diving.com for a great week of diving. The twelve dives in the magical underground of Yucatan will always have a special place in my memories.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:36 am

Dodging tropical downpour, we endure the short drive from The Pit to cenote Nicte Ha in the back of a pickup truck. As is usual in the tropics, by the time we make it to the next cenote, the rain is gone and we prepare for the next dive, my last one of this week long trip.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:09 am

This was my second time diving The Pit. Unlike in November, this time without Maya, and sunbeams and with misbehaving strobes.
But I was in a good company of Dirk, Peppe and fellow Washingtonians, Carl and Nanci.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby oldsalt » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:08 am

Jan: You are getting spoiled. You are doing a new dive, in warm clear water, with your daughter. I would not dismiss any of the adventures I had with my sons. Is that Maya using the side mounts ?
-Curt :rawlings:
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Tangfish » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:49 am

Still looks pretty in there on my end, Jan, but yes compared to the rest this one is skippable.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:55 pm

Second dive of the day, from a deep dive to a very shallow one, with the strobes acting up, not much to show for it.
As cavern dives go, keep it off your bucket list.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:37 pm

Cenote Angelita. It is famous, but I think it is a little bit overrated. Yes, the Hydrogen sulfide layer is quite impressive, but there isn't much else there. And again, if you carry camera, regardless how small, if it is in a housing, you are categorized as professional and it will cost you 500 pesos for the permit. I don't think my photos are worth 500 of anything... But as Dirk said, dive here once and that is enough to last you for the rest of your life. :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:09 pm

Well, it had to happen on trip thousands miles away. At least did not quit on me down at the Hells Bells...

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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby fmerkel » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:29 pm

Known problem with the D2. Doesn't happen to them all, but does happen. The company should be good for it but you'll be out your strobes for awhile.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Gdog » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:20 pm

Ive heard about the issue with those strobes. Unfortunately, I have the same ones. Fortunately, at least so far, I havent burnt them out yet .

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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Scubie Doo » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:27 pm

Super odd about the strobes. Never seen that. The coin is awesome, did you get to keep it?


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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:37 am

Another day, another cenote. On this dive I noticed that my pictures are way underexposed. The strobes were firing OK, but after I scanned the picture on the small camera screen, the were almost black. So I had to to start fiddling with the controls, instead of TTL setting, going full power and on many occasions, settling for light provided by handheld lights. Not until I arrived at home, after the trip, when I took off the diffusers, I found that the flash tubes were burned. On relatively new strobes. :(
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Postby Jan K » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:09 am

Second dive of the day. So different from the morning one. All these cenote pictures are surely boring by now for the casual observer, "You've seen one cenote, you've seen them all". One reason I post them is to help others to choose, if this is what they would like to see and what all the different holes in the ground have to offer. They are different from each other, even if, sometimes, in just small details. La Gloria has broken columns and many tree roots hanging down from the overhead. Guided by Roman, the lineup today - Carl M. Kadie and Nanci Vaeth, followed by Maya and I closing the procession, taking more pictures of the fins in front of me :)
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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...
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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!!
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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.
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Jan K
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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.
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Jan K
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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...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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

Cenotes shots are spectacular!!!! Thanks Jan.


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Jan K
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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.
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Jan K
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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 :)
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