Winter Diving in the Hood

Tell us your tale of coming nose-to-nose with a 6 gill [--this big--], or about your vacation to turquoise warm waters. Share your adventures here!
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Tom Nic
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Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Tom Nic » Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:40 pm

Zen Diver and I hit Sund rock today for a couple of dives. The water was smooth as glass and the light fog hanging over the canal added to the beauty and "surrealness" (if that is a word).

Temps were 48 on dive 1 and 49 on dive 2. That is 8 degrees colder than my last dive at Redondo 2.5 weeks ago! I actually was chilled and had a bit of a problem warming up between dives. Time for Mr. Heater! :calvin:

Dive 1 was 60 minutes and straight out to hit Fish Pen Wall. Viz clears up nicely once you're below 30 fsw or so, and the "wedding arch" of the left over Cables stood out nicely. I managed to spot the pair of Red Brotula, but they were too shy for a picture - I was just happy seeing them!

Dive 2 was 70 minutes and consisted of the base of the North Wall them over to check out the Trawler, then back through the shallows. There are a ton of Wolfies at the base of the North Wall. The closer you look the more you will find - one guy counted 13 of them! There were also 3 large GPO's in the same area.

One guy was out in the open laying on a rock, looked like he was pretty beat up. I'm guessing there have been some altercations over territory or women.

I saw some inverts that appeared to be "stressed", not sure why, but it looked like what I've seen in low O2 events.

All in all, great dives. Here's a couple more shots....

ImageImage[url=https://flic.kr/p/pBPTn9]ImageImage
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"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
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Jan K
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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Jan K » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:38 pm

Tom, beautiful shots.

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Tom Nic
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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Tom Nic » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:31 pm

Thank you Jan!
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"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by deep diver » Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:40 am

Nice pictures
Yes, Tom those Red Brotula are hard to get a picture of.
It's a good day.... nobody died!

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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Grateful Diver » Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:16 am

Lovely pictures Tom ... Sund Rock rarely disappoints for photo ops ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
Threats and ultimatums are never the best answer. Public humiliation via Photoshop is always better - airsix

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Tom Nic
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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Tom Nic » Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:18 am

deep diver wrote:Nice pictures
Yes, Tom those Red Brotula are hard to get a picture of.


They are REALLY shy!

They are pretty good sized fish, and have been in the same spot for years.

I need to snoop around and read up on them as a species, don't really know much about them! (Other than they live at least 6 or 7 years and seem to be territorial!) :)
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"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

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Tom Nic
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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Tom Nic » Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:20 am

Grateful Diver wrote:Lovely pictures Tom ... Sund Rock rarely disappoints for photo ops ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)


Thanks Bob. It is SO true - we only did 2 dives, and never even went to the south side. There are at least 4 or 5 really good recreational profiles there, and I know folks tech dive this site all the time as well.
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"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by jerryehrlich » Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:37 am

About low DO :
http://orca.ocean.washington.edu/data_hoodsport.html

Yes, there is an event, and you can track it here.

Fortunately, there are still depths that are ok.

Jerry

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Tom Nic
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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Tom Nic » Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:53 am

Thanks for the link Jerry.

It does look mostly shallow, which is what we saw.

One of the reasons I dive in the Hood is to "monitor" the events from other evidence. Over the years I can now often tell when there is an "event" just by the symptoms of some of the critters.

I still remember seeing adult Yelloweye and bunches of rockfish and other stressed critters at Sund when the event was deeper and wider. I've seen dozens of Decorated Warbonnets out in the open "panting" and too stressed for their flight instinct to kick in. Cool, but not cool. Cool to see the critters, but kind of creepy and sad to realize why....
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"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by YellowEye » Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:37 am

Very cool pics and report, Tom!

What stressed behavior did you notice? The only off thing I noticed was the cali seacumbers I uploaded a pic of and also the squat lobsters looked a bit less skiddish than usual. But I've only dove sund a few times.
Can't wait to cross the border!
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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Scubie Doo » Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:28 am

Tom, nice work. Love that octo.

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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by johndo88 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:21 pm

Deep Diver took me out for a couple of dives in Hood Canal on Saturday. Great visibility, conservative 30 feet. Shot this 23-second video of a pair of wolf eels at Pulali West Wall in Dabob Bay.

http://vimeo.com/110729303

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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by deep diver » Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:20 pm

Looks good, john
It's a good day.... nobody died!

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Tom Nic
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Re: Winter Diving in the Hood

Post by Tom Nic » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:24 pm

YellowEye wrote:What stressed behavior did you notice? The only off thing I noticed was the cali seacumbers I uploaded a pic of and also the squat lobsters looked a bit less skiddish than usual. But I've only dove sund a few times.


What I saw was not uniform in terms of all of the members of that species, but certainly specific to a few. initially I didn't realize what I was seeing until I started noticing the behaviors over time. Then I was able to start recognizing stressed species more easily.

California Sea Cucumbers - Mouth parts out when they weren't feeding, a few looked "wasted", part of it healthy, part "skinny", a few of them were lying upside down on the silt and not moving. This wasn't just one or two, but quite noticeable once I started looking. And of course some looked perfectly healthy.

Orange Sea Cucumbers - none were feeding, all of them with all of their feeding arms pulled in and only a small part visible, and a couple were all the way out of in the open, just "laying" on the bottom.

Plumose - many of them were deflated, looking "sick" (admittedly subjective, but definitely not turgid and feeding.

Rockfish looked fine for the most part, but a few wolf eels were showing signs of stress - i.e. laying in the open, making no effort to withdraw or move away, and more of them visible than typical.

In the full blown events in the past wolfies will be all over the place, seeming to "gasp" or work harder to breath, and be very lethargic. I've seen almost 20 full grown decorated Warbonnets in the shallows, in the open, working hard to push water over their gills and not moving away when approached. Normally the Warbonnets are skittish, very well hidden, and I'm lucky to see one or two on a dive. Rockfish will be "sandwiched" at certain depths where it seems that O2 levels are the best and will be seen almost nowhere else, with the same "gasping" behavior. I've even seen them concentrate in top 10fsw and be near the surface. As I mentioned before I've seen adult Yelloweye that are never seen at these depths just hanging out at 40 fsw or so.

I've seen dead Plainfin Midshipman - a dozen or so on one dive that simply couldn't breathe and died.

Some species are hugely susceptible and are either dead or dieing. My list is nowhere near comprehensive.

The first couple times I saw this I'd drop into 20-30 fsw and be surrounded by critters and start taking pictures and think "cool, they're letting me shoot!", then as I realized what was happening it was like... :eek: I still will take pictures when I find them like this but I'm also extra careful to stress them as little as possible.

On the one hand these events are "normal" for Hood Canal because of tide and waterflow issues, but there are some who think they are exacerbated by man made erosion, run off, septic, etc.
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"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

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