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 » Thu Jan 07, 2021 9:00 am

First dive of the new year. Lagoon Point, January 1st 2021. The weather around Whidbey Island was not the nicest, plenty of wind and rain.
So I dived into the protected waters of the canal and revisited the muck habitat under the floating docks.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:38 pm

Yesterday January 6th, after the dive at Driftwood, I spent the afternoon waiting for the dredging equipment leave the Keystone waters.
Finally. Here are some pictures from the new Keystone Jetty Underwater Park beachhead...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:54 pm

Saturday, January 9th. It was cold, but waiting for sunrise under the mostly clear skies was made bearable in good company of friends. We were rewarded by good visibility underwater. So it all was worth leaving the warm bed while it was still dark and freezing outside :) :) :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:19 pm

The Keystone Jetty might be now open to divers again, but southerly winds make it difficult there, so instead of new pictures, here are more from Saturday dive. And did I mention that there are many Wrinkled dogwinkle snails there ? And Striped seaperch too... :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:12 pm

Last batch of pictures from Saturday Keystone. Snaps from the shallow part of jetty...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:55 pm

After almost two days, electric power is back on !

Langley Harbor January 8th. So many lost traps littering the sea floor... People place them from the floating dock and the lines get tangled in the mooring cables holding the docks and make it impossible to recover the traps later. In the past I helped to remove them, but the onslaught continued and I would had to spend my dives on that instead on my sea star surveys. Now when I find abandoned trap, I free the occupants and leave the door open so nothing gets caught in them.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:56 am

For a month now, I watch commercial divers (sometimes up to five boats), slowly moving around Mutiny Bay digging up Geoducks. What will be left after they leave? I am not trying to stir the pot, we have enough problems lately in this country. But it keeps me wondering, do we have to be so efficient in harvesting our seas ?
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:53 am

The Keystone dredging finished, calm winds on Saturday brought plenty of divers back to Whidbey Island. Although it was overcast and gray above the water, color could be found below. It took little bit of hiking to get to the water edge, but worth it. :)
It was great to see friends again...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:42 am

Keystone Jetty, Friday January 15th. Glad to enjoy the site after almost three months of closure due to dredging. The Giant Plumose anemone, the signature animal gracing the jetty rocks, looks more like a flower. Here the anemones are predominantly white, but the orange variety peeks out here and there, just to make it more interesting. At Langley, on the other side of Whidbey Island, it is the way around, the orange variety is dominant, the white is rare. Go figure..Male Scalyhead sculpin guarding eggs inside empty Giant Barnacle shell gives me the evil eye as I try to get closer look. Life is good :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:03 pm

Kelp greenling males are also guarding eggs, and most of their eggs are also in empty barnacle shells.
The greenling spend lot of time chasing away the Striped perch which are cruising all over the jetty now.
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Dominick Gheesling
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Dominick Gheesling » Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:26 pm

Absolutely LOVE your posts!!!

Looking forward to diving in PNW very soon.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:06 am

Dominick Gheesling wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:26 pm
Absolutely LOVE your posts!!!
Looking forward to diving in PNW very soon.
Thank you Dominick, hope you will enjoy what our waters have to offer....


Unlike some of the tiny critters occupying the rocks of Keystone Jetty, Wrinkled dogwinkle snails aka Frilled Dog Whelks are not hard to find. This time of the year, they congregate in large numbers and cover some of the rocks completely. Their yellow egg cases are showing up in great numbers. Why so many egg? Well, it seems that not only do the adults eat the eggs of their own and other species, but the first-hatched young will eat the eggs of their unhatched siblings. And to make it even more interesting, Leafy Hornmouth snails also join the reproduction show, mixing their shell together with Dogwinkles. Theirs are on the orange side of yellow, ans casing is of different shape .
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derekcs
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by derekcs » Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:00 pm

Thank you for identifying these eggs. I thought they belonged to the kelp greenling that was circling around but couldn't be sure.
Jan K wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:03 pm
Kelp greenling males are also guarding eggs, and most of their eggs are also in empty barnacle shells.
The greenling spend lot of time chasing away the Striped perch which are cruising all over the jetty now.
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All underwater photographs of mine are posted at http://www.dereksinger.com
@dereksingerphotography on Instagram

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Jan 23, 2021 8:59 am

derekcs wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:00 pm
Thank you for identifying these eggs. I thought they belonged to the kelp greenling that was circling around but couldn't be sure.
Some of them are better guardians than others. :)

No shortage of Northern Kelp crabs, just a shortage of kelp this time of the year.
Few more snaps from last Saturday dive. How the time flies...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Jan 25, 2021 8:13 am

Among the discarded junk people throw into the ponds, somebody dumped bunch of Giant Pacific Oysters into the still waters. Many died, some are still alive. I would not recommend eating anything from this body of water. Tides and currents are not changing the water here...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:31 am

More "stuff" from the pond. The Moon jellies are preferable to discarded toilets ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:26 am

January 17th, Keystone Jetty was not a good dive. While trying to take pictures of freedivers at the jetty, my drysuit collected sea water in quantities that I had hard time walking once I made it to the beach. Weezle undergarment kept me warm, but once the water transferred into my feet, it was almost comical, the cartoon shows the true state of affairs... The reason for the flood, the last few millimeters of the zipper did not completely close ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Jan 28, 2021 8:38 am

Possession Point Fingers, January 22.2021
Hard to believe, back in 2012, I monitored over 50 Lingcod nests here. Now I found ONE. Of course, the nesting season is just beginning, but these days Lingcod sighting are very rare here and I have not much hope of finding more of them. :(
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:44 pm

Few more from Possession Point Fingers, January 22nd dive.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Jan 30, 2021 10:16 am

Driftwood Park, January 23rd. The highlight of the dive? Adding a new critter to my list. Flattop crab ! The little crab would not come out from its hiding place inside a rotting timber hollowed by shipworms, but one sneak picture is better than no picture :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:46 am

Langley Harbor, January 26. I am still finding some sea star wasting. It is not a wide spread as it used to be, but their numbers are definitely down. For some strange reason, the Ochre stars like to group together. Another sad news, the two headed Giant Plumose anemone, which live on the same spot for 13 years disappeared. I looked for it around, but it is gone. :(
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:45 am

As most of you know, planning to dive Keystone depends a lot on weather, most importantly, on the wind. Its direction and speed. Checking different sources on internet, one will quickly discover, that like most things today, there is no unity. On Wednesday I looked at Keystone forecasts for Thursday and I got to choose from 14.7 knots on Ventusky to 6 knots in Windy. This time, I trusted my action to Windy and it was right. The official Marine Forecast for mariners cheated by predicting 5-15 knots, which didn't really help me with planning.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:21 am

Keystone Jetty, January 28.
Lingcod guarding eggs and more anemones ... :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:17 am

Keystone Jetty - January 29th.
The new crop of invasive sargassum is beginning to rise up in the shallows. The empty Giant barnacle shells are always worth a second look. They are favorite housing to lots of critters...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:45 am

Keystone Jetty dive, January 28th.
These tiny snails have some beautiful markings. Too small for my old eyes to pick up while underwater and too late to seek out the more interesting ones. I will leave it to you guys and gals with better eyes or macro setup to get the pictures these beauties deserve :)
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