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

Post by Jan K »

Keystone Jetty, March 29th.
While Pat found many Lumpsuckers and I didn't see not even one, I found GPO out in the open, which at the jetty is a rare sight these days. Not a Giant one, but now I settle for any size ...
I managed to get air leak on my pressure gauge and still can't find a single blade of Bull kelp among the seaweed dominated by Japanese wireweed in the shallows near the jetty...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Possession Point Fingers, March 31st.
Adding new fish to the list is getting harder and harder.
Diving the wall, I spotted this small fish under an overhang, could not get a better angle, so have to settle for this. In spite of its name, the Puget Sound sculpin eluded me all these years I been diving here :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by oldsalt »

Congratulations on a new sighting.
Curt :rawlings:
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Thanks Curt, it is satisfying to add another specie to the list of critters found.
Of course, diving the same places over and over, make it harder.


Well, it looks like we will have to wait and see the baby rockfish grow little older until we can be sure who they are.
These Keystone Jetty youngsters are still too small to ID them...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Deception Pass April 4.
Unlike two weeks ago, the one hour and five minute difference between the old and new current tables were opposite in their prediction. This time, new tables were correct. Of course, because we had Small Craft Warning West winds during the night, there was quite a surge at the Little North Beach and I could not judge the current flow from the beach. Thus this time, I entered the water too early. Visibility was dismal, silty ten feet. Photographically speaking, the dive was not rewarding.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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April 2nd. Driftwood Park Pond.
The slimy algae is starting to take over the shallows. Moon jellies still present, some displaying the weird upside down mode. Surprisingly, some of the oysters which somebody dumped in from the road, are still alive. The hardy Sticklebacks are hugging the very shallow waters beneath the floating driftwood debris.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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April 5th. Skyline.
Red and orange are the colors of Skyline.
Cucumbers, fish and scaleworms - brighten up the dives here these days...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Keystone April 9th. Little bit choppy and overcast skies, but good visibility, about 25 feet beneath the waves. Still not a sign of Bull kelp, plenty of the invasive Japanese wireweed. Other kelp species seem to be doing OK, the Sugar wrack, Stalked kelp ad miscellaneous red seaweeds begin to cover the rocks and seafloor in the shallows. The Kelp perch were nibbling on the wireweed, so maybe change of diet for them, unless there was something hiding in that weed they liked. Two Painted anemones were trying to eat Great sculpin, one working the head, the other stretching out to get the rear end. Never a dull moment at the jetty. :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Keystone Jetty. Slugs, crabs and seaweed.
We got them all :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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April 13th. Update on the mysterious baby rockfish at Keystone. Yesterday I took another picture of one of them and sent it to juvenile rockfish expert at NOAA. He was kind enough to send me his take on the mystery. He and Milton Love agree that it is most likely YOY Puget Sound Rockfish. I included part of the e-mail I received today describing the elimination process in identifying Young Of Year rockfish.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Keystone Jetty, Sunday April 11th. The weather was beautiful and many divers found their way to Whidbey. The parking was full and it was a busy even underwater. I encountered large group of GUE divers on my way out when the visibility worsened considerably compared to what it was when I started my dive. But it was a nice dive, the now famous male Scalyhead sculpin living in his empty barnacle shell on Rock of Life hosted yet another female and I could spy some more eggs hidden behind him. By now, the sculpin was photographed more than any other fish at the jetty. :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Keystone Jetty. April 12th.
Finally, sign of hope. Guided by tip from diver friends, (thank you,Joe and Dave), I was able to take picture of the first Bull Kelp youngster, emerging from the maze of already established seaweeds. Although, the prospects of forest of Bull Kelp canopy remains in question, the invasive wireweed keeps winning the territory battle. And the Bull kelp should be already much taller. Well, we shall see...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Few slugs from resent dives at Keystone Jetty. The Stubby Dendronotus and the Chocolate aeolid are still very small.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Keystone Jetty, April 10th. Still catching up with scenes from recent dives.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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April 14th. Interrupting the Keystone Jetty diving stream with dive at the Possession Point Fingers 🙂
Definitely less color here...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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April 16th. Lagoon Point.
Not much meet on these shrimps.
Actually, the Skeleton shrimp is NOT a shrimp at all. :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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There is more than just Skeleton shrimp occupying the space under the floating docks. Here are some nudibranchs.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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As reminder to all, not just my diver friends - get vaccinated so that the only mask we will have to wear in the future is the diving mask ! :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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And back to Keystone Jetty.
April dives snapshots.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Deception Pass, April 20th.
What a gorgeous weather lately, almost feels like summer. We did get some morning fog, but overall, no winds to mess with our diving. It was not easy to spot that little Dendronotus munching on hydroid which looks almost like the slug... And as with many critters these days, the taxonomy is changing names as fast as we can find the critter we try to identify. With the help of our books and internet...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Deception Pass, April 21st. Second day of three day window with favorable currents and beautiful weather above. Well, at least after the sun burned off the fog. Many took advantage and the parking at Little North Beach was filled with divers.
Some of them I met underwater...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Jan: Your posts remind me of my cruising years. Many times I approached Deception Pass in the morning, just to encounter a wall of fog. I would turn back to Coronet Bay and wait for it to dissipate. It's a beautiful spot above water as well.
-Curt :rawlings:
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Curt, this time we had it all. Sometimes we saw the bridge under overcast skies, sometimes without a single cloud above and basking in sunshine, and sometimes there was no bridge visible at all... :)

Deception Pass, April 22nd. Day 3.
Two divers, Annie Crawley and Abbey Dias got taste of diving the Pass for the first time and from the smiles I saw after the dive, probably not the last time . The underwater scenery does have way to draw people back. For the sights above and under the waters.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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Keystone Jetty, April 23rd.
The streak of warm, calm and sunny days is coming to end. Friday was still sunny, but the cold southerly wind marked the beginning of forecasted change. Please note the proof in the pre-dive group photo. :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

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More from recent dives.
Deception Pass. Scalyhead sculpin struggling with intended meal, Slender cockscomb. Biting off more than he could chew, the cockscomb got away... Some spawning, but did not happen on large scale...
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