Whidbey Island Critters

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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 :)
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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 :)
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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)...
Image
Image
Image
Image


User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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.
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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. :)
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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. :)
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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. :)
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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 ! :)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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 :)
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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 ...
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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 :(
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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 ... :) :)
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

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 :)
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:03 am

Saturday early morning Skyline survey. Happy to report, no wasting sea stars found :)
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:25 pm

Few more from the Skyline Wall dive.
The Hairy Oregon Triton snails are busy laying eggs. he one juvenile Wolf-eel was not interested in being photographed at all ...
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:55 am

Monday dive. Somebody went through the effort to bring the menace of plastic pollution even to the underwater world of Deception Pass. Filled half way with sand so it doesn't float and put the cap back on before tossing it into the otherwise pristine waters. I did not mind in the past recovering lost drone or GoPro camera from here in , but I was hoping that collecting trash would not be a part of my diving routine :(
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:40 am

Few more from the last two dives in Deception Pass.
Family of Canada geese floating towards the bridge as I prepare for the Monday dive :)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:15 am

June 12, Keystone Jetty underwater park. Yellowtail rockfish school...
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:49 am

Saturday June 15. Possession Point Fingers, as I found walking out of the water totally soaked in my not so dry drysuit, it was last day of Lingcod season. Five divers armed with spearguns were getting ready to try their luck. On my shortened dive, I did not see one Ling. Just a Ratfish, rockfish, Painted greenlings, Blackeye gobies...
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:49 am

I got wet on the Possession Fingers dive, but I was rewarded by finding a new critter.
Adding to my list a Windmill Bamboo worm ! In all those years diving here, I never noticed it. Looking around, I did not find any more of them, just that one, lonely windmill and I, the thoroughly soaked Don Quixote :)
Image
Image
Image

Tidepool Geek
Aquaphile
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:36 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Tidepool Geek » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:30 am

Hi Jan,

Great images and a terrific find! Hopefully, now that you've found your first, more of these will follow.
I'd love to have one of these at the Feiro Center but it might not be possible to collect one intact. Did you get any sense of how robust the tube and spokes were?

Enviously yours,
Alex

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:07 am

Thanks Alex.
I didn't dare to touch it, I have no idea how tough that windmill is. If there were more of them, I would try to collect it for you, but for now, I will leave it alone :)

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:14 am

Langley Harbor, seventeen days later. Bad visibility, especially in the first 35 feet of depth hampered the sea star wasting survey. In the miso soup-like visibility on the seawall, where many stars reside, surveying was not feasible. Many of the Ochre stars are showing signs of the disease and piles of goo, remnants of stars already dead, laying all over the area beneath the floating dock. Interestingly, on sunken piece of timber, ten Sunflower stars, seemingly still healthy, resided next to large Ochre stars with first signs of wasting - the white lesion blotches. I still don't know why sea stars congregate on some structures in such numbers...
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4131
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: Whidbey Island Critters

Post by Jan K » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:02 am

Possession Point Fingers - new gate and murky waters... :(
Image
Image
Image

Post Reply