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 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:14 pm

What better way to spend the Sunday morning than with friends at Deception Pass State Park. Not only we enjoyed nice weather above, but got to see the color gardens below the waves too. And the new current tables - icing on the cake. Dive was followed by Eric's culinary art prepared on the hood of his car :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:05 am

It has been six months since I dived under the Coupeville wharf last. I was afraid I will find it devoid of sea stars, but to my surprise, in the very murky waters, the hundreds of Mottled stars and not so numerous Ochre stars are doing fine, I did not see any of the goo piles left by the wasted stars which I found in the not so distant Langley Harbor. Only two species of sea stars thrive under the wharf, I have never seen a single Sunflower star here. So for the moment, all is well here ... :) :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:03 pm

Bit of sad news on the sea star situation. Although there are still vast majority of the stars healthy, Langley Harbor is experiencing wasting again. At the moment, most of the dying is affecting the Ochre stars :(
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:06 am

When the approach to the dive site is as pleasant as the scenery beneath the waves ...
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:26 pm

Memorial Day at Deception Pass, the Great Sculpins provided easy target for my camera. I found four of them within the one hour long dive :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:13 am

Giant plumose anemones at Keystone Jetty contributing their gametes to the bad visibility these days. Females eggs are the pinkish ones, male doing their thing in white. It looks like we will have plenty of anemones in the Salish sea. And don't forget that some of them forgo sex and multiply by dividing ! :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri May 31, 2019 7:07 am

Leaving the colorful world of Deception Pass and posting an encounter with a critter which is so unassuming, that taking picture of it may look like a waste of pixels. But what a pleasant surprise meeting ! After many years I came across Pinto abalone at Keystone Jetty. It is hard to see, for it is covered with barnacles as are the rocks surrounding it. For the uninitiated it doesn't mean much, but for local divers it is a most welcome news. :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu May 30, 2019 9:27 am

Kelp greenlings, female and two males. It is hard to believe they are the same specie. :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed May 29, 2019 5:57 pm

Deception Pass has lots of worms. Featherduster worms that is. :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue May 28, 2019 8:15 pm

Deception Pass. The place which many of us love and yet, every time we dive into its waters, we hope that we don't have to struggle with wicked currents which feed all that rich marine life that make the pass its home. I just finished four consecutive days of diving it and tried to test the new set of NOAA current tables I found week or so ago on the internet. The difference between the old NOAA tables I have been using for year and the new ones gives you some idea with what the divers were dealing with when trying to figure out when to hit the slack waters and so minimize the washing machine experience underwater.
Saturday 25th The slack was 31 minutes late
Sunday 26th 6 minutes earlier
Monday 27th 27 minutes earlier
Tuesday 28th 34 minutes earlier
Needless to say, following the new tables made these four dives a very pleasant experience. However, I have to stress that this cycle the tides were very friendly, which doesn't happen that often.
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun May 26, 2019 1:39 pm

Saturday May 25th. Under the overcast skies of Deception Pass, battle for territory unfolds in front of me. For more than fifteen minutes I watched two male Kelp greenlings fight for area of the underwater real estate which to my untrained eyes didn't look much different than the are few feet away. But then again, I am not a greenling :)
Since it was going on for so long, I even switched the camera to video mode and although I almost never shoot video, I tried to catch the joisting in motion. Not edited ( I don't know how)...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri May 24, 2019 11:47 am

From the "DIDN'T I SEE THIS SOMEWHERE BEFORE ?" files :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue May 21, 2019 10:06 am

National Geographic Kids describes the sea slug called the nudibranch, a slime-oozing creature with a boneless body. Many of them also sport brilliant colors and eye-catching patterns on their skin. In fact this sticky slug is often considered one of the most beautiful animals in the world. Their land cousins don't create such admiration :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon May 20, 2019 8:06 am

Another new discovery, this time in the world of sea anemones. Canadian diver Neil McDaniel, marine naturalist, great photographer and keen observer noticed, that there are differences in anemones which till now were classified as Cribrinopsis fernaldi, the Crimson anemone. One prefers soft substrates and sports a white columns while the other, typical pink form is found on walls and boulders in current-swept channels. He collected samples and with help of anemone taxonomists proved that there are indeed two different species living in our waters. Thank you Neil for sharing the manuscript. Here I am trying to share your findings with my own encounters with the beautiful sea anemone.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun May 19, 2019 7:55 am

And last few composites from the mid- May dives at Deception Pass. Dwarf stars, Velvet snail, fish inside sponge and some of the anemones ...
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat May 18, 2019 7:02 am

Encounter with some of the crabs in Deception Pass. Eat, mate, fight or be eaten, it is all part of life under the waves :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri May 17, 2019 9:31 am

Deception Pass, Monday May 13. Nobody else shows up for diving, not even the fishermen on beach or in their boats. The sun does appear, a welcome sight after two days of overcast here. Some of the fishies ... :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed May 15, 2019 6:19 pm

Thank you Curt.
You are absolutely right, the Pass is magical, above and below. The sudden weather changes adding to the feeling of wilderness, although fog being not that welcome when sailing through a busy waterway...

Sunday dive at Deception Pass. No fog, but marine layer over the area. Gray topside, colorful underwater.
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by oldsalt » Wed May 15, 2019 5:01 pm

Jan: I love these posts. Several comments. In my recent trips through Deception, I tell those with me to check these posts because amazing as the pass is, it is more so underwater. Many times I would leave port in my sailboat, cruising through the magic of a sunny morning, just to encounter a curtain of fog at the pass. I am sure meteorologists can explain it to us. And yes, while you are blessed with wonderful dive buddies, diving with Maya has to be the best.
-Curt
Happy to be alive.

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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue May 14, 2019 5:01 pm

More from the Saturday dive at Deception Pass.
Diving with Maya was an additional treat..
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun May 12, 2019 10:10 pm

Few snapshots from Saturday dive. It was amazing how fast the fog moved in. Fortunately, we bring sun (although only artificial), with us. Once we turn on our underwater lights, the world around bursts with colors. Deception Pass always delivers :)
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun May 12, 2019 7:00 pm

Sunday May 12. I am sure mother would approve for me to spend morning with friends :)
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sun May 12, 2019 7:28 am

Saturday May 11th. Deception Pass divers. Thanks Eric for delicious after dive barbecue!
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Jan K
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Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat May 11, 2019 6:11 am

Another critter going through a name change. One of many in these taxa challenging times...
Nudibranch, common in our waters .
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