Whidbey Island Critters

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
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H20doctor
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by H20doctor » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:50 pm

Deception pass my favorite ...
NWDC Rule #2 Pictures Or it didn't Happen

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LCF
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by LCF » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:58 am

Still on my bucket list . . . So good to see a healthy, colorful sunflower star!
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YellowEye
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by YellowEye » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:34 pm

Epic Deception Pass photos! Indeed that almost does look tropical (but better :) )
That dive is also still on my bucket list... but I'm going April 7th...!

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:05 am

Thank you YellowEye, I am looking forward to see your take on that beautiful site.
Judging from your photography, we are in for a real treat :)
From the colors of the north end of Whidbey, to the almost monochrome
of the south end of the island the next day ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:07 am

Flight of the Giant nudibranch :)
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LCF
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by LCF » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:00 am

Soar, soar, soar . . . SPLAT!!! Great sequence.

I also really like the RIL photo from the Fingers. The contrast of the colorful fish with the dull background makes the photo very dramatic.
"Sometimes, when your world is going sideways, the second best thing to everything working out right, is knowing you are loved..." ljjames

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:39 pm

Thanks Lynne.
And it rains and it rains.
Which brings to mind the biblical flood. Today's encounter with Mottled sea stars
combined with illustration by Gustave Dore seems to fit the mood ...
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Life imitates art.

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YellowEye
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by YellowEye » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:33 pm

Love it!

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:16 pm

A rose among the thorns
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:08 pm

What a difference when the sun is shining :)
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Tom Nic
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Tom Nic » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:15 pm

Wow. Just wow. Amazing. And I'm running out of superlatives and don't wish to babble.

Love it Jan!
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:27 pm

Thank you Tom,
I keep trying to make my photos look better with help of talents from history. :rawlings:

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:49 pm

Another week of sea star surveys.
So far we have some dying and many healthy stars at Possession Point, Langley, Coupeville, Holmes Harbor and Deception Pass.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:33 pm

Another favorable tide cycle at Deception Pass.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:18 am

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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:47 am

Sea stars doing much better at this moment on Whidbey.
At Keystone they even spawn, marking hopefully new beginning for the whole region. :)
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Marek Sk
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Marek Sk » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:13 am

Hello Jan,
I have found this chain of your posts about 2 weeks ago searching for information on Keystone Jetty (after first time diving there) and started reading pages from the beginning. So far I have read up to page 50 so another 56 to catch up.
It has been a fantastic journey learning from your posts and fabulous pictures ! I have been learning about Puget Sound critters from several books and resources on-line but I am sure I have learned the most from your postings. Thank you so much !
I have also spread the word about your postings to several friends.
What a small world ! I have heard about you also in the past from our common friend Wayne Palsson. We sing shanties together. You were doing research years back together.
I was also diving Keystone Jetty on March 27th (my second day there). There was one gentleman (Trevor or Travis I am not sure if I got the name right) taking photos of nudibranchs and he said you were finishing diving when he was starting. Now he came out of the water and I was next.
At the end of my first dive I noticed a “Torpedo” passing by towards the jetty. I tried to follow it it was a harbor seal or something else. The thing came on the jetty out of the water and shortly after went back to the water. I manage only to take one picture. From what I read it most likely is a river otter. I read somewhere that river otters consume their catch on land which probably would explain why she/he went to the jetty.
Here is the picture attached.
PICT1982-otter.JPG
Otter original pic

PICT1982-otter-red.JPG
Otter zoom in

Please let us know if you can confirm and if they are more common here or was I just extremely lucky.
Second question is whether you know any story behind mermaid statuette I found in one of the crevices in the jetty. I also took a picture of it when I was diving first time on March 9th.
PICT0538-mermaid.JPG
Mermaid original pic

PICT0538-mermaid-red.JPG
Mermaid zoom in

I posted more pictures from Keystone Jetty dive on March 9th on our meet up page starting from elusive and skittish helmet crab:
http://www.meetup.com/MossBayDiveClub/photos/20572112/
Do "Right Things" rather than "things right".
Conquer your fears & you will be blessed with inner peace & serenity.


I feed "Good Wolf", learn from Eagles, smell Rose Anemones & dance with Sea Stars.
I respect ALL Creatures & Diversity.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:44 am

Marek, I am glad you enjoy my ramblings about local critters.
As for your river otter picture, you beat me, for although I see them occasionally above the water, I have yet to see them underwater. Congratulations. As for the mermaid, I have no idea, I spotted her for the first time couple weeks ago, tucked
away under the jetty rocks, not too easy to find...

From the Pass:
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Marek Sk
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Marek Sk » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:32 pm

Thank you very much Jan !
I guess this was my very lucky week when it comes to marine mammals. I was diving on March 24th in Salt Water State Park and a harbor seal decided to play with me “hide and seek”. The seal was coming very close to me under water then doing the flip going away bobbing his head on the surface so I followed the same. The interaction lasted 18 minutes. This was unbelievable !
PICT1059-harbor-seal-best.JPG
harbor seal orig pic

PICT1059-harbor-seal-best-zoom-in.JPG
harbor seal zoom in

PICT1056-harbor-seal-best-zoom-in.JPG
harbor seal zoom in

PICT1066-harbor-seal-aw-zoom-in.JPG
harbor seal zoom in above water

I will continue going through remaining 56 pages of your wonderful and outstanding postings and may bring some pictures or critters I have not seen in your postings yet but found in Keystone Jetty. Candidates are: already mentioned and referenced helmet crab, several umbrella crabs (different colors), heart crab. I still need to organize and review the pictures from the May 27th. I often find critters I did not see during picture taking but now with 14M & 8M pixel cameras find them zooming in on my laptop.
One more question: I captured a photo of either great sculpin or buffalo sculpin in Keystone Pilings. This thing was huge (more like small kabezon). Seem too big for buffalo sculpins I have seen before but the shape is more of buffalo than great sculpin looking and Andy Lamb book “Marine Life of the Pac NW”.
PICT1174-great-sculpin-zoom.JPG
buffalo or great sculpin?

Keystone Jetty is now my favorite diving site in entire Puget Sound and I will be coming back here and exploring other sites you have been documenting.
Unfortunately Langley Tire Reef is now off limits from shore diving and I see you still dived it this year from the boat. I thought it was only closed last year for some reconstruction but there is the sign now and I also talked to Harbormaster and he told me shore diving is closed permanently as they expanded the marina and what was a straight fishing floating dock is now V shape boat moorage. How disappointing that some diving sites keep disappearing like Edmonds Oil Dock, now Langley Tire Reef.
On a positive note, we often sing on shanty meetings with Wayne the song “Acres of Clams”:
“And now that I’m used to the climate
I think if a man ever found
A place to live easy and happy,
That Eden is on Puget Sound”

Thanks to you Jan and People like you who help new divers to learn, discover and appreciate that Magical World Down Below.
You are really a Jacque Cousteau of Puget Sound !
Do "Right Things" rather than "things right".
Conquer your fears & you will be blessed with inner peace & serenity.


I feed "Good Wolf", learn from Eagles, smell Rose Anemones & dance with Sea Stars.
I respect ALL Creatures & Diversity.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:03 pm

Marek,
It looks like you have luck on your site, which means a lot when it comes to encounters with interesting marine life. As for the fish in your picture, it is Buffalo sculpin. You will find many, many more of them as the season changes, they love the area beneath the old wharf. The Helmet crabs are not all that rare at Keystone, they hang around the seaweed and kelp in the shallows. Umbrella crabs not so common, they tend to be found in shallower part of the jetty, the Butterfly crabs which you might have seen are much more common there, all colors and at the deeper section of jetty. At least there where I find them. Heart crabs now are all over the place, some of them quite large. If you into crabs, Keystone has juvenile Puget Sound King crabs, they are easy to spot as they are bright orange/red, and Scaled crabs, on night dive they are all over, during day, not so easy to spot. Yes, I agree with you, Keystone has lots to offer :)
Langley is closed to divers for good.
Good hunting with your camera, hope to see you soon at Keystone.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:46 pm

Keystone March 27, 2014
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Marek Sk
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Marek Sk » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:09 am

Thank you Jan !
This is a very valuable feedback you are sharing. You have a unique perspective and years of diving on Whidbey Island area. Most of my diving is between Titlow to the south and Mukilteo to the north with occasional Bandito charter (Sunrise Beach, Zs reef, Maury Island ).
The reason I mention helmet crab was because I only have seen it once before in Titlow Park and never seen umbrella or butterfly crab and heart crab until my dive at Keystone. These are the real treasures for us living down south from you. Also I have never seen such a huge buffalo sculpin before. From what I understand also the king crab and king crab juvenile are not reported from any sites south of Whitbey so this is another reason to come to Whitbey.
I am sure there are many critters on “to see” and photo capture “to do list” you documented like e.g. juvenile king crab, the glove sponge and your postings are helping us to plan dives on Whitbey.
Here are 4 more my favorite picks from Keystone Jetty I captured:
PICT0421-umbrela-crab-zoom.JPG
umbrella crab - identical to Andy Lamb "Marine Life of the Pac NW" book page 313

PICT0539-orange-umbrella-crab-zoom.JPG
umbrella or butterfly crab - orange

PICT1708-heart-crab-zoom.JPG
heart crab

PICT1174-helmet-crab-best-zoom.JPG
helmet crab
Do "Right Things" rather than "things right".
Conquer your fears & you will be blessed with inner peace & serenity.


I feed "Good Wolf", learn from Eagles, smell Rose Anemones & dance with Sea Stars.
I respect ALL Creatures & Diversity.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:16 am

Reports of new critter at Keystone :nutty:
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:30 pm

And a real critter.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:21 pm

Added another new critter to my list.
I am sure they were there before, but they are so small, that I missed them.
Lots of them at Deception Pass and Keystone. LOL. Places I dive often, go figure.
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