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 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:04 pm

Attention fellow critter-watchers, nudibranch afficionados. Get your guidebooks out and once again, write in the latest change, this time affecting our Clown nudibranch. All those years of taking their pictures, I marked them in my files as Triopha catalinae . Even in our waters, we are now home to two Clowns. I took the liberty to call one Catalina Clown and the other, more common in our inland part of Salish sea Modest Clown. I found both of them at Keystone Jetty. The orange "bumps" on their bodies, are the easy to tell hem apart. Modest clown has little tree-like ones and Catalina clown are knobby looking...
Happy hunting, send in the clowns.😀😀😀
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eh.haole
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by eh.haole » Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:35 pm

An early nighttime muck dive in Penn Cove last night revealed a couple of things (apart from the shrimp, crab, octopus and jetsam) that I haven't noticed yet during a few "fishless" daytime dives. Anyone care to enlighten me with ids and stories?

In a drab soft bottom of clam middens(?) these colorful fish peeked out of their little abodes, often in (mating?) pairs
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Wanna shack up?
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I'm not sure I know who this is, but they sure are cute
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There was even a little seagrass habitat
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:12 pm

I try. My guess:
1. & 2, Saddleback gunnels, (Pholis ornata),
3. nice find - Showy Snailfish, (Liparis pulchellus),
4. the Eel grass occupant is Hooded nudibranch (Melibe leonina).

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:13 pm

Happy World Octopus Day !
I had my chance to meet junior Great Pacific Octopus yesterday at Skyline, we shook hands and parted as friends. :)
We need more of this in our troubled world. 😀
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:20 pm

Deception Pass, October 9th. Few hardy souls met under the overcast skies to take advantage of what might be the last dive cycle here before the gates close for the winter. The current tables from different sources were in disagreement as when the slack should happen, so we had few interesting moments on our return to the point of entry. In other words, do not underestimate the Pass. But we all laughed about it afterwards. Thank you Chris for pointing out the small Stubby dendronotid, my eyes would not find it without you. Scuba Jess deserves a medal for lugging bundle of derelict trap-line all the way from beneath the bridge to the parking lot. Lisa provided shore support making sure all five divers returned to their vehicles .😀
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:18 am

Deception Pass, October 11th. The weather was similar to the one we had on Friday the 9th. Overcast, strong winds from SE. Today, we add some rain to the mix. Three of us made the trip down the forest path to dip into the sometimes unpredictable waters of DP. After Friday struggle with the currents, I took closer look at the tables. On Friday, the old NOAA tables were closer to the slack than the new NOAA current table I started to use. But they were off at least by 30 minutes. This Sunday, the old tables predicted slack 26 minutes later, but looking at the water, it was time to go in early. And we had much easier time for it. The slack was short, but we all returned to the beach without white knuckles :) Well, Tabb had a scooter to deal with the fickleness of current tables ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:15 am

Sunday was a day when diver had to watch not only the tides and currents, but also the winds rain.
But it all worked out at Deception Pass.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:44 pm

The recent wind storms not only caused power outages, but sent one of the moored sailboats in Holmes Harbor to the bottom. Only top of the mast showing, enough to spark my interest and don my scuba gear. It is a loooong swim from the shores of Freeland Park. When I descended I found myself swimming in miso soup, the visibility was very bad due to the plankton. It didn't take long to realize that this was not a well kept yacht meeting an unfortunate fate, The hull was covered with mussels, blue tarp strapped over part of the cabin and moss covering much of the forward deck and cabin. The owner obviously didn't waste money on paying somebody to paint fancy name on the boat neither. The Family Affair II young kid probably tried his best. :)
And to use an old outboard motor and car battery for mooring block doesn't instill much confidence neither. The registration sticker on the bow expired in 2016 so who knows what is the story. We shall see how long it will remain there now...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:00 am

Hello fellow divers. Is it me or there are no Fried egg jellies around this year? I do see some Lion's mane, but not as many as in previous years. Seeing Fried eggs being dined on by anemones used to be a common sight in almost all places around the island.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:43 am

And since we are on the subject of jellies, the Lion's Mane became the substitute for Fried eggs jellies on anemone dinner menu :)
Plumose and Painted anemones under the floating docks at Lagoon Point...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:43 pm

Keystone Jetty, Divers are not welcome here ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:34 am

Lagoon Point, another jelly. Red-eye medusa aka Penicillate jellyfish aka Red-eye jellyfish aka Ball medusa aka Bell-shaped jellyfish.
Pick up one name you like - there are sometimes plenty of them swimming around... :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:39 pm

Langley Harbor. September 22-23. I found gaggle of Saddleback gunnels here before, but this time there were Slender cockscombs in their midst. This was quite a surprise, since I never seen cockscombs here before. Social distancing being ignored even between different species ... :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun Oct 25, 2020 4:47 pm

It looks like many, many birthdays are coming up for this batch of Whitespotted greenlings. Meanwhile, their father tries to keep strangers away from them... :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:29 pm

Lagoon Point, Spot prawns taking residence on sailboat hull.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:15 am

October Skyline. Waters were dark and silty, revealing for the first time here wasting Morning and Striped sun stars. Not a good sign. While diving Skyline is rewarding most of the time, the scenery above the water in the Washington Park is nice too...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:12 am

For years, I thought the mussels in Penn Cove and near Langley were Pacific Blue mussels, Mytilus trossulus.
They are Mediterranean mussels, most likely seeded from the nearby shellfish farm ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:26 am

Langley Harbor - home of Copper rockfish. Good example what protection of species from fishing looks like ... :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:16 am

Some of the fishies I met at Possession Point Fingers. The Vermillion rockfish was absent for years, I hope it will stay and add some color to the otherwise almost monotone underwater seascape. :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:29 am

In case you are interested. :)
Some information on the common anemone in our waters...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Nov 03, 2020 12:23 pm

November 2. Keystone dredging continues... It will be interesting to see what the impact of this will be on the marine life here ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Nov 04, 2020 6:28 am

November 2. Driftwood Park dive in a very, very leaky suit. The school of resident Brown rockfish are missing, somebody was busy with the two toilets, they are now standing upright, only one was occupied by a juvenile Wolf eel.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun Nov 08, 2020 2:44 pm

Skyline November 7th. When I arrived at the site, I found divers from Anacortes Diving & Supply sponsored dive already suited up. The skies were overcast, but the waters were calm, before the predicted afternoon gale. I had some issues with my camera & strobes. But it was a good dive, here are few of the divers and critters I encountered...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:56 pm

Skyline Saturday November 7, continued. Notice the strange time period between the High tide and the following low tide... The Black sea cucumbers were spawning, but unlike in other species when the spawning triggers orgy like action, here only few were releasing gametes into the water. Easy to spot since in contrast to cucumbers being black, their are releasing snow white sperm, easy to spot. Unless the zillions
( OK, I exaggerate a little) around them are female cucumbers. I don't know ... :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:55 am

November 9th. I managed to squeeze in a sea star survey dive at Deception Pass. The slack was short and solid overcast didn't help the visibility which was about 15 milky feet. And the new NOAA current tables were definitely closer to the actual slack that the old ones I used for years! No wasting stars observed...
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