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Diver Ken

 

Date
2/28/2017
Water Temp (F) 51
Air Temp (F) Mid 60s
Max Depth (ft) 30
Time In 10:15am
Dive Time (min) 50
Topside WX Sunny and clear. Beautiful day
Comments

I did a single dive today. Topside was absolutely beautiful, including the drive up with everything so green after the heavy rains. Gary and I were planning our 2017 trips and were thinking of one in March. But we had heard that there was dredging going on in the Bay, and that can drastically affect the visibility. So I sacrificed myself, took one for the team, and did an exploratory research dive, promising Gary that I would not have any fun. I discovered that there was in fact dredging going on at the South end of the Bay near Los Osos. It apparently did affect the vis, I had only about 4 feet. So we might hold off for our first 2017 trip until later in the summer. Highlight of the dive was the return of the beautiful Hermissenda nudibranch, missing for so long. I saw at least 4 individuals on the dive, very promising!! Sorry Gary, I confess, I did have a lot of fun in spite of everything.

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Diver Ken



 

 

Date
10/17,18,19/2016
Water Temp (F) 57, 56, 55
Air Temp (F) High 80s
Max Depth (ft) 31, 28, 25
Time In 10:59am, 11:36am, 12:35pm
Dive Time (min) 49, 54, 48
Topside WX Warm and sunny.
Comments

Gary and I spent another delightful week in Morro Bay.  I picked him up at LAX on Sunday 10/16 and dropped him off for his flight home on Friday 10/21.  We did 3 dives (Mon-Wed) and relaxed on Thursday including a visit to the elephant seals at San Simeon.  The high tides were later this week, noonish and early afternoon, but we still managed to make it to most of our favorite photo sites (sunrises at the pier and The Rock, Windy Cove, Sweet Springs, and Spooner’s Cove in Montana de Oro).  Had a nice visit with Rouvaishyana at the Museum on Monday  We ate well, dinners at Harbor Hut, diStasio’s and, of course, a spiritual evening at Taco Temple.  Watched the 3rd Presidential debate on Wednesday evening (Gary brought pizza!). Weather was good, sunny and warm.  Water was very green with big surf pounding outside the bay, but still good enough for macro work.  Naturally it got crystal clear on Thursday, the day we didn’t dive. 

Nudibranchs were there but you had to work for them.  Saw several pretty Triopha catalineas, several lemon dorids, and a surprising number of Navanax inermis.  Navanax egg ribbons were everywhere (Image #4).  Hermissendas continued their long and amazing absence.  Highlight of the trip was a spectacular Spanish Shawl nudibranch (Flabellina iodinea) which Gary found on Tuesday and then found again for me on Wednesday.  Shawls are common elsewhere in California but this is the first one we have seen in 25 years of diving the T-Pier in Morro Bay.

All of our equipment worked fine! I dodged a big bullet after one of my YS-110's flooded last August. But the cleanup fix worked and both strobes performed flawlessly this trip.

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Diver Ken


Date
8/19/2016
Water Temp (F) 54
Air Temp (F) 68
Max Depth (ft) 29
Time In 11:28am
Dive Time (min) 44
Topside WX Overcast, cool, breaking about noon to sunny.
Comments

I did a single solo round-trip dive today (which is Gary's birthday, BTW!). Pam made the drive with me. It had been almost a year since Gary and I last dived here, and we were anxious to see how things had changed - in advance of our next-scheduled October trip. Things have changed! Water was clean and may be getting colder (54F today vs. 63F last October). I saw many more nudibranchs than I have been seeing, 4 species today (Janolus barbarensis, Triopha catalinae (first in a long time), many lemon dorids, and 2 Navanax). So maybe they are coming back, although the total absence of Hermissenda is still striking. About 35 minutes into the dive (35 frames taken) my YS-110 strobes stopped firing, and I noticed that the left was flooded. I could see a bulge of blue O-ring in the battery cap and small bubbles coming out, definite clues that even I couldn't mistake. My bad. When I got home I rinsed the strobe battery compartment and the cap with fresh water and dried everything with a hair dryer. After that the strobe fired and seemed fully functional, so maybe that bullet was dodged. Anxious to get back here with Gary in October.

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Diver Ken

 

Date
10/12,13,14,15/2015
Water Temp (F) 61, 61, 62, 63
Air Temp (F) 75-85
Max Depth (ft) 31, 30, 30, 30
Time In 9:54am, 9:52am, 10:37am, 10:11am
Dive Time (min) 59, 55, 64, 44
Topside WX Sunny and warm (hot), muggy, rain on Wednesday.
Comments

Our second semiannual trip for 2015 and it was fantastic. This time we got smart and I picked Gary up at LAX on Sunday and dropped him off at LAX on Friday. No more United commuters to the rarely used SLO airport!! We dived on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then because it was so good we decided to do a 4th on Thursday. So on Wednesday afternoon we drove to SLO Ocean Currents and filled 2 tanks. Then we started thinking about flying after diving and Gary wisely decided to pass on the Thursday dive, but strongarmed me into doing it. It didn't take much effort. First time ever I have done four dives on four consecutive days.

The diving was as good as we have ever seen it. Different, but good. Four straight days of great visibility made the dives delightful. Nudibranch life is down tremendously, we would see 3-4 individuals on each dive rather than the usual 100. I was 40 minutes into my first dive on Monday before I saw my first nudibranch. We attribute that to the warm water (63F - warmest we have ever seen in 25 years). Not a single Hermissenda all week but the species that showed up were good ones, including the lovely Trapania velox which made an appearance on Monday. On the bright side, other forms of life were thriving, particularly blennies including one that we have never seen before (top image) and fringeheads with blazing colors and hairdos in every bottle.

We had good topside weather although it was kinda hot and muggy. We made it to most of our favorite topside haunts including the elephant seals at San Simeon (thousands of females), Hearst Pier, a beautiful saltwater pond north of Cayucos, Sweet Springs (nice visit with Jerry Kirkhart), Windy Cove, and Montana de Oro. We watched each sunset and sunrise from the piers. Worshipped at Taco Temple Thursday night, and discovered another good Mexican restaurant, "Maya" which is just south of the Temple. These trips are precious, hope we can keep doing them forever.

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Diver Ken

Date
3/17,18,19/2015
Water Temp (F) 56, 54, 54
Air Temp (F) Mid 70s
Max Depth (ft) 31', 30', 31'
Time In 7:52am, 8:27am, 9:42am
Dive Time (min) 52, 51, 51
Topside WX Sunny and warm.
Comments

Gary and I spent another magnificent week in Morro Bay. He flew in from VA on Sunday 3/15 and headed home on Friday 3/20. We dived on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday we headed for Carizzo Plain (image #5) and on the dive day afternoons (and mornings) we did all our favorite topside spots including sunrise and sunset at Morro Rock, the elephant seal beaches in San Simeon, Windy Cove, Sweet Springs, Montana de Oro, Point Buchon Trail, Avila Pier, and a new one for us, the Botanical Gardens between Morro Bay and SLO just off of Highway 1 near Cuesta.

We had good clean water on all three dives, especially the first one on Tuesday which might have been our cleanest ever. Easily 20 feet of horizontal viz, I could see all four rows of piles across the pier at all times. Nudibranch life continues to be about 5% of what it used to be, I think I saw about 5 or six individuals on the 3 dives. But we got a nice visit from an old friend Trapania velox (image #1) who we haven't seen in five years. Water continues to be warm (mid to high 50s) and I can't help think this is related to the big change in nudibranch life. Nothing else seems to be affected, fish life was good (including a nice cooperative ling cod - Image #4) who spent some time with both of us.

United was much nicer to Gary this trip, all flights in both directions worked for a change. We agreed that on future trips I would pick him up and drop him off at LAX. No more commuter flights.

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Diver Ken

Date
12/8,9,10/2014
Water Temp (F) 61, 61, 59
Air Temp (F) High 60s - Low 70s
Max Depth (ft) 30', 30', 30'
Time In 9:58 am, 10:31am, 10:33am
Dive Time (min) 58, 54, 48
Topside WX Monday and Tuesday warm and sunny, worsening Wednesday (windy and overcast), nasty Thursday (wind and squalls)
Comments

Gary and I spent a magnificent week in Morro Bay. He flew in from VA on Sunday 12/7 and headed home on Friday 12/12. We dived on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and did topside trips on each afternoon and on Thursday. We hit most of our favorite topside spots including Avila Bay, the Monarch butterfly grove in Pismo Beach, the elephant seal beaches in San Simeon, Windy Cove, Sweet Springs, Montana de Oro, Point Buchon trail and the estuary. We also made it out to the Rock twice before sunrise and watched the sun come up over Morro Bay. We stopped by and had a pleasant visit with Rouvaishyana and Ronnie Goyette at the Museum on Monday and had a nice lunch with Jerry Kirkhart and Steve Corey at Dockside on Tuesday.

The dives were fantastic, spectacular on Monday and Tuesday with great viz, good critters, and nice topside weather, and very good on Wednesday with the topside weather worsening and u/w visibility dropping due to heavy surf outside the bay. We didn't see a lot of nudibranchs but the ones we saw were outstanding, lots of Janolus barbarensis and an unusual visitor, the Navanax inermis (4th image). Everything else was very healthy under the pier, including a beautiful and cooperative little octopus that Gary found on Monday. The water was the warmest we have ever seen, 61F on Monday and Tuesday. I used the YS-110s again with individual synch cords, everything worked fine.

Gary's 6am flight from SLO to LAX was cancelled like last time. Don't know why they have an airport at SLO, they don't use it very much. I drove him to LAX and he made his 11am flight home to Washington. Another GREAT trip.

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Diver Ken

Date
9/25/14
Water Temp (F) 59
Air Temp (F) Low 70's
Max Depth (ft) 31'
Time In 10:49 am
Dive Time (min) 47
Topside WX Sunny, broken clouds
Comments

I did a single solo dive today, and then stayed overnight at the BWSM to meet Dirk's Cal Poly class the next day. The dive was excellent but the nudibranchs still haven't returned. I saw a total of 3 nudibranchs on the entire dive, one Janolus barbarensis (image #1) and two Hermissendas (image #3). I saw the Janolus immediately upon entering the water right under the floating dock, and I thought that the nudibranchs have returned, but that was not to be. All the other critters were abundant, however, with fringeheads peeking out of almost every bottle, crabs of all sizes, and lush invertebrate life everywhere, like the corynactis anemones in image #4. One notable absence in the invertebrates is the red bryozoan which has vanished with the nudibranchs. Wonder if there's a connection there. Viz was above average, maybe 12 ft, and the water was warm, a toasty 59F. I will probably do a few more Thursday dives during the weeks I will handle the Friday office hours for Dirk's class. I called Gary after the dive with a complete report. He is going to be here in early December, can't wait! Brought Polly some mounted prints for the Harbor Department office.

Used the new (used) YS-110 strobes with individual synch chords (from the original YS-90s) that I bought from Fred Dion when he retrofitted the housing recently. Everything worked perfectly.

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Diver Ken

 

Date
7/11/2014
Water Temp (F) 58
Air Temp (F) Low 70's
Max Depth (ft) 31'
Time In 10:57 am
Dive Time (min) 58
Topside WX Overcast on entry, beautiful sunny day on exit
Comments

Coleen and I made a one-day, one-dive round trip. Main purpose was to see how things have changed since Gary and I were here in March and saw almost no nudibranchs. The good news is that it was a spectacular dive.

But the bad news is that not much has changed as far as nudibranchs are concerned, we saw very few. Good news is that everything else is thriving - fringeheads peeking out of every opening, big and little crabs everywhere, lush growth on the piles, corynactis thriving. But the big attraction was an absolute explosion in the little flatfish, they literally covered the bottom everywhere we looked. There were millions of them. All varieties (see photos #2 and #3). We saw a few nudibranchs but they were rare, several lemon dorids (#4), a small Flabellina trilineata, and a few Hermissendas. But nothing like the old days.

I used 2 SB-105s with the (#1) dual synch cord in the left connector. Worked flawlessly!

Water quality was excellent, great visibility (about 15 feet) and not much particulate stuff. Other than a few frames at the start of the dive Coleen did all the photographic work. She set a school record by filling up the disk with 153 images!! First time that has EVER been done. We called Gary on the drive home and gave him a complete report.

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Diver Ken

 

Date
3/2,3,4/2014
Water Temp (F) 53, 54, 55
Air Temp (F) Low 60's
Max Depth (ft) 30', 30', 29'
Time In 10:26 am, 11:05 am, 11:57 am
Dive Time (min) 44, 45, 51
Topside WX Generally bad, rain, wind, low 60's (Dutch)
Comments

Four great days and three dives with Gary on the Central Coast. Weather was bad and United Airlines was not kind to Gary (big understatement), but nonetheless our time together was priceless. He flew from Washington to SLO through LAX on Friday 2/28, and his flight from LAX to SLO was 5 hours late, landing finally at 1am Saturday morning. We had plans to make three dives and have one free day, so we chose the free day at the front end and kissed off the dive on Saturday 3/1. Instead we went to play with the elephant seals at Ragged Point and made a quick visit to the Hearst Pier. Weather was cold and windy but fortunately there were only occasional bursts of rain. The grey skies and angry ocean made for some interesting photos.

We did a dive in bad topside weather on Sunday 3/2 with limited visibility. I used my Sea and Sea strobes and was disappointed, slow recycle times and they seemed to underexpose. After the dive we headed for Windy Cove and Sweet Springs.

I switched to two Nikon SB-105s for the dive on Monday 3/3, using a dual cord connected to the right port. That was a mistake, the strobes worked in air but were totally inoperative in water. Zero frames. The topside weather was, however, good, but just for that one day. After the dive we headed south to the butterfly grove in Pismo (very few left) and then spent some time driving on the beach at Oceano.

For the last dive on Tuesday 3/4 I went to a single SB-105 strobe connected to the left port. Worked fine in air on TTL but wouldn't fire underwater. I switched to full power and voila - it worked. Got some decent images of octopus and fringeheads. Topside we headed out to the Rock before the dive and then to Windy Cove.

We noticed a striking change in the life under the pier. The nudibranchs, all of them, all species, have substantially disappeared! We would see 2 or 3 on each dive, rather than the usual 40 to 50. The absence of Hermissendas was unbelievable! The only ONE I saw in all 3 dives is shown in image #4. Gary will write more about this in Field Notes.

Gary's flight from SLO to LAX was scheduled to depart at 6am on Wednesday. We got to the airport at about 5am and discovered the flight was cancelled - fog at LAX. They offered Gary a 5:45pm departure from SLO to LAX and a redeye to Dulles arriving at about 6:30am on Thursday. Somehow that was not attractive and instead I drove him to LAX where he made a 1pm flight and was home about midnight. Gasp. In spite of the bad weather and bizarre travel glitches we had a great time and I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

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Diver Ken

















Date
11/5,6,7/2013
Water Temp (F) 53, 52, 53
Air Temp (F) Mid to high 70's
Max Depth (ft) 31', 29', 30'
Time In 9:56, 10:00, 10:41 am
Dive Time (min) 47, 50, 47
Topside WX Sunny (Dutch)
Comments

Gary and I spent a magnificent week in and around Morro Bay. He flew into San Luis Obispo on Monday 11/4 and we did dives on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then he flew home on Friday 11/8. The dives were fantastic, some of the best we have done. Water was clean and the critters were out and cooperating. I may have seen a new nudibranch species (Image #2), although it may just be a color variation of Polycera hedgpethi. It is much lighter in color and very different in color pattern than hedgpethi.

In the afternoons we visited some of our favorite Central Coast haunts; the elephant seal beaches near Ragged Point, the Monarch butterfly grove in Pismo, Windy Cove, and Sweet Springs in Los Osos. We stopped by the Museum and had a nice visit with Rouvaishyana, and Jerry Kirkhart came to the pier and took our picture as we exited the water on Wednesday. All around a very wonderful week!! Hope we can do it again soon.

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Diver Ken





Date
5/21,22,23/2013
Water Temp (F) 53, 51, 49
Air Temp (F) Mid to high 70's
Max Depth (ft) 30', 19', 22'
Time In 6:50, 7:27, 8:31am
Dive Time (min) 55, 30, 35
Topside WX Sunny (G)
Comments

These were my first dives in eight months, since my embolism episode in September, 2012. That's by far the longest I have ever gone without diving since I was certified in 1980. Gary and Sharon flew from Washington to Oakland and drove to Morro Bay where they met me Monday afternoon May 20. It was wonderful to see them again and visit many of our old Central Coast haunts. We did three dives, one each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. They were magnificent, not the best water we have ever seen (the dredge was working) but it was fantastic to get back in the water and see our critter friends under the North T-Pier again. Water was VERY cold (I saw 49F at several points), viz was less than one body length, and I had a slow leak in my suit (which disappeared mysteriously on the third day), but nonetheless they were some of the best dives I have ever done :) No particular critter highlights although I did see a very large Triopha catalinae (top photo, he/she was about 6 inches long). I also saw a nice but tiny Polycera hedgpethi on the first day. The otters were rafting and one saluted me. We will try to do this again in the Fall.

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Diver Ken


Janolus and grumpy fringehead

Janolus

Four nudibranchs, three species.

Triopha catalinae surrounded by Polycera atras.

Flabellina trilineata

Polycera atra on nose of sheep crab.

Egret at Sweet Springs

Date
9/5/2012
Water Temp (F) 55
Air Temp (F) Mid to high 70's
Max Depth (ft) 23
Time In 12:25pm
Dive Time (min) 55
Topside WX Broken overcast (G)
Comments This is a tough one to write, because it may be the last entry for quite a while. We decided to do one last dive before Gary and Sharon head for Virginia. We came up on Wednesday the 5th and entered the water a little after noon, about two hours before the slack high tide, stayed over that night at the BWSM, then headed home on the 6th. As fate would have it, it was one of the best dives we have ever done. Viz was reasonably good and the explosion of beautiful Janolus barbarensis nudibranchs has returned. Along with the barbarensis, nudibranchs of all species were everywhere and it was not unusual to get multiple species in the same frame, including several triple-species shots. The highlight for me was the Janolus/grumpy fringehead image (#1). There were so many nudibranchs out and about I even found one (a Polycera atra) on the nose of a big sheep crab (Image #6). After the dive on Wednesday afternoon we headed out to Sweet Springs and watched a beautiful snowy egret hunting.

This was the 102nd dive Gary and I have done together here since we started this great run back in 2006,

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Diver Ken

Date
8/19&20/2012
Water Temp (F) 54/54
Air Temp (F) Mid to high 70's
Max Depth (ft) 30/22
Time In 11:32am/11:29am
Dive Time (min) 58/38
Topside WX Broken overcast (K)
Comments

Happy #70 Birthday Gary!!! Pam and Sharon joined us to celebrate Gary's 70th birthday on Sunday 8/19. We had two excellent dives. Viz was so-so but the nudibranchs were out in full force. The first dive Sunday, on Gary's birthday, was spectacular. There was an explosion of the beautiful Janolus barbarensis. I think I saw at least 15 individuals, they seemed to be every 6 inches on center. There were also a few magnificent clown nudibranchs, Triopha catalinae and, for the first time in a long while, a mature Triopha maculata revealed itself to me. Monday's dive was also good, but amazingly the barbarensis disappeared. I didn't see a single one. But there were plenty of beautiful catalinaes posing for me.

We dropped off a copy of our new book at the Harbor Department office (Polly was overjoyed to see her photo credit) and to the Coast Guard. We also gave one to Sue at BWSM, and left one for Rouvaishyana at the Museum. The two days were topped off with a great birthday dinner at Windows on the Water Sunday night. Finally a run out to the Rock to see the rafting otters. It was a wonderful two days in Morro Bay and a great sendoff for Gary and Sharon who are about to move east to Virginia. Gary claims he will come back every so often to dive Morro Bay with me, we will see :)

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Diver Ken

Divers

Black Hill.

Trilineata

Fringehead

 

 

Date
7/17&18/2012
Water Temp (F) 53/53
Air Temp (F) Mid to high 70's
Max Depth (ft) 22/27
Time In 10:33am/10:06am
Dive Time (min) 37/54
Topside WX Overcast Tuesday, Fair Wednesday (K)
Comments

This was a big one for me, my first dives since my hand surgery in April. Everything went fine, the hand was fully functional and I had no pain in the thumb joint. This is the first time since the surgery I felt 100% sure that I did the right thing.

Coleen joined Gary and me for two delightful dives. Water was green, viz slightly less than average, a little more than a body length. Coleen and I got separated early in the dive on Tuesday but we found each other on the surface under the pier and proceeded with a nice dive. We did everything right on Wednesday and stayed together for the whole dive. I spotted for Coleen on both dives while she did the photography and got some nice images. Highlights were some very nice fringeheads and a beautiful Flabellina trilineata.

After the Tuesday dive we headed up to the tidepools at the north end of Morro Strand beach. We didn't find any nudibranchs but there was a lot of life in the tidepools including anemones, barnacles, mussels and crabs. On the way back to BW we hiked up to the top of Black Hill and got some nice scenic shots of Morro Bay and Los Osos. An absolutely wonderful two days!!

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Diver Ken

Date
6/18&19/2012
Water Temp (F) DNA
Air Temp (F) Low 70's
Max Depth (ft) DNA
Time In DNA
Dive Time (min) DNA
Topside WX Bright and sunny (G)
Comments

This was my first Morro Bay trip since my hand surgery in April. I was still grounded, but that didn't stop me from doing topside photography. Weather was great and after Gary did the first day's dive (and I did some HDR stuff around the pier) we headed for the flower fields on Los Osos Valley Road, then on to Montana de Oro and the Point Buchon Trail. It was good to get back to our routine of hot tubbing at the Best Western San Marcos and dinner at Harbor Hut.

Something really unusual happened on Gary's second day's dive. I was waiting for him at the top of the slope when he surfaced after about an hour. After he put his camera on the rocks as we always do, he stood up and told me he had seen a shark and was going to go get it. WTF??? He submerged and swam underwater towards the floating dock. In a few minutes he was back at the exit point with a 4-foot deceased shark. I hauled it up to the area in front of the Harbor Department office. Gary said he had seen it wedged in the rocks when he entered the water and it was still there when he finished his dive. At first we thought it was a young white or mako. Later, through photos, it was identified as a salmon shark.

We are scheduled for another two dives July 17/18, hopefully I can get underwater then.

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Diver Ken

Triopha catalinae

Sweet Springs

Egret.

 

Date
4/5&6/2012
Water Temp (F) 47
Air Temp (F) Mid 60's
Max Depth (ft) 19
Time In 9:31 am
Dive Time (min) 30
Topside WX Cold and windy on Thursday, sunny, beautiful on Friday (K)
Comments

We have been having great water conditions recently, but that changed this trip. Viz was terrible on Thursday (3-4 ft) with green cold water. On top of that, my hands were really hurting. I managed one showable Triopha catalinae image, but then called it quits after only 30 minutes. Gary wasn't feeling too well after his dive either, he still has a touch of the flu/crud he has been fighting. So we headed south and spent some time in Los Osos at Sweet Springs (#2), a gorgeous place right off of Los Osos Valley Road, then headed back to Windy Cove, which was almost too windy for bird photography. We saw a few cormorants flying backwards into the wind. So we headed for an early dip in the hot tub and another great dinner at Harbor Hut.

All things considered, we decided not to do the dive on Friday. I actually don't think I could have done it, hands were too painful. Hopefully the left will get fixed next week with surgery on Thursday. We headed back to Windy Cove. I spent a little time photographing the birds, got one nice egret image (#3), but then headed for home at about 10:30 am. Gary stayed for awhile and got some fantastic bird images.

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Diver Ken

Tiny crab.

Acanthodoris lutea mating pair.

Small crab.

Date
3/9/2012
Water Temp (F) 47
Air Temp (F) Low 70's
Max Depth (ft) 30
Time In 10:20 am
Dive Time (min) 46
Topside WX Sunny and warm, beautiful day topside (K/L)
Comments

I did a one-day round trip for a dive with Gary on Friday. Weather was beautiful, warm, sunny and most of my morning drive was looking right at a magnificent full moon. Underwater visibility was excellent, maybe 20 feet, and the water was EXCEPTIONALLY cold, 47F. I had a lot of pain in my hands and it cut the dive short at only 45 minutes. I didn't see anything unusual underwater, although there were a lot of small crabs scurrying around and I spent some time with them. Also saw a nice pair of large mating Acanthodoris lutea. This may be my last dive before my hand surgery on April 12 although we might be able to squeeze in two in early April. I brought in a large portion (maybe all) of a nasty net that was wrapped around some piles. Gary first saw this net on our last dive in February. Fortunately it didn't have any fish in it but it did have some sea stars and mussels which we returned.

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Diver Ken

Gary and the elephant seals

Mom and pup

Blue heron.

 

 

Date
2/7/2012
Water Temp (F) 51
Air Temp (F) Low 60's
Max Depth (ft) 29
Time In 8:52 am
Dive Time (min) 42
Topside WX Cool, overcast, light rain on Tuesday morning (G)
Comments

Gary and I presented our "Morro Bay Underwater Wonders" Mind Walk on Monday at the new venue, the Inn at Morro Bay. The attendance was about 90 and it was a big success and a lot of fun. After the Mind Walk and a bread bowl we headed over to Windy Cove (which was very soggy from an extremely high tide earlier in the day) and we found our friendly blue heron at Fairbanks Point. Then we drove north to the San Simeon elephant seal beaches, which were loaded with pups. We hit the hot tub and did dinner at the Harbor Hut.

Tuesday morning we did a very nice dive with decent visibility (not as good as last month but very respectable). Highlight of the dive for me was a beautiful, well-posed Flabellina trilineata. I used the SB-105s with the single connection at the housing and once again they performed flawlessly. The Coast Guard requested that we use a dive flag when we are underwater, so next trip we will comply.

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Diver Ken

Hermit crab.

Octopus.

Fringehead.

Janolus barbarensis.

Polycera atra.

Gary at San Simeon.

Hearst pier.

Date
12/12&13/2011
Water Temp (F) 53/54
Air Temp (F) Low 60's
Max Depth (ft) 29/25
Time In 9:31am/10:16am
Dive Time (min) 59/49
Topside WX Broken overcast, cold, intermittent rain on Monday: clear and cold on Tuesday. Hard rain in the dark on the drive up. (K)
Comments

Gary and I had two incredible days with the best underwater viz we have ever seen in the bay. We both estimated it at 30-35 feet horizontal. The surface was visible at all times, even outside the pier in deeper water, and you could see across the full width of the pier arm, four rows of piles. It was actually very pretty under the pier, the colors on the piles are striking and the fields of small white metridiums on the bottom were spectacular and not normally seen. UW highlights were an excellent variety of nudibranchs, a large octopus who stayed with me out in the open for about five minutes, and the mother of all hermit crabs. It was an extremely high tide, the water was over the top of the exit pile when we arrived.

On Monday afternoon we drove south to the butterfly grove in Pismo, there were clusters on just one tree branch but nowhere else in the grove. It was cold and I think we were early in the season. Then we headed north to the elephant seal beaches and had some magnificent landscape photo opportunities with a fantastic sky and flat, golden light from the setting sun.

I went back to my favorite SB-105 strobes using the single socket dual synch chord attached to the left port (facing front) and a plug in the right port. Everything worked fine and I will keep using this setup with which I have never had any problems.

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Diver Ken

New species Onchidoris bilamellata

Triopha catalinae

Janolus barbarensis

Acanthodoris lutea

Fringehead

Blue heron

Shorebird

Date
11/16&17/2011
Water Temp (F) 53/53
Air Temp (F) Low 70's
Max Depth (ft) 28/26
Time In 10:52am/10:30am
Dive Time (min) 54/46
Topside WX Sunny, warm ideal topside conditions (G)
Comments

Gary and I did two outstanding dives in perfect topside and underwater conditions. Topside weather was clear and balmy with temps in the low 70s. Water viz was excellent, maybe 15 feet horizontal. High tides were at about 1:30pm and 2:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, but the difference between low and high tides was only about 1 foot so there was very little current between slack tides. All that meant that we could go in pretty much anytime we wanted, thus the 11am and 10:30am entries.

Nudibranchs were plentiful, I think I saw about 10 species on each dive, including the newly discovered Onchidoris bilamellata (Image #1) which were everywhere on the bottom just outside the pier. My left arm got very wet on both dives, I found a small split in my left wrist seal after I suited up on Thursday. I probably should have changed seals because I got really cold with the wet arm. After the Thursday dive I poured out about a gallon of water from my left arm through the wrist seal. I changed the seal when I got home so should be good to go now when we dive in December.

On Wednesday afternoon we drove up to San Simeon and played with the elephant seals, actually seemed like there were less on the beaches than last month but still enough to make it interesting. On Thursday morning we spent some time with the birds at Windy Cove. Two great days!

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Diver Ken

Janolus barbarensis

Elephant seals.

Hearst zebra.

Date
10/12&13/2011
Water Temp (F) 51/51
Air Temp (F) Mid 80's
Max Depth (ft) 28/29
Time In 9:49am/9:52am
Dive Time (min) 48/53
Topside WX Sunny, extremely warm Santana conditions(K)
Comments

For the first time in many years, we dived the South T-Pier. We got the approval of Jim Leage, owner of Great American Fish Company, earlier in the week, and as he assured us, the gate leading to the entry dock in front of the restaurant was open. It was a SPECTACULAR dive, best I've had in a long time. Highlight was a profusion of the beautiful Janolus barbarensis nudibranch. They were everywhere, I think I photographed 6-8 individuals. Exit was fairly easy, up the rocky slope leading to the gate at the west end of the restaurant, although Gary, who exited first, had to get a passerby to open the gate for him. It can't be opened from the inside. We need to remember this next time we do the South T-Pier.

After cleaning up at the BW we headed north to San Simeon and played with the elephant seals. There were many on the beaches, not as many as at the peak, but enough to make it interesting. Most of the individuals were young females, although there were a few young males sparring in the surf. On the way back we saw, for the first time in a long time, the Hearst zebra herd. Glad that the lunatic rancher who shot three of them recently didn't get them all.

Thursday morning we spent a little time at Windy Cove in beautiful flat morning light. Then we dived the North T-Pier and once again had a great dive with excellent visibility and another amazing explosion of Janolus barbarensis. It was a wonderful two days on the Central Coast.

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Diver Ken

Date
9/15/2011
Water Temp (F) 55
Air Temp (F) Mid 60's
Max Depth (ft) 28
Time In 10:23am
Dive Time (min) 55
Topside WX Overcast, mild (G)
Comments On Wednesday 9/14 Gary and I showed our Morro Bay Nudibranch Mind Walk show to The Villages Assisted Living Facility on Broad Street in San Luis Obispo. We really enjoyed it and I think the residents did also, at least the ones who stayed awake :). Actually the ones who fell asleep probably also enjoyed the show. We had thoughts of doing a night dive after the show, but rationality prevailed and we opted for the hot tub, wine, and dinner at Harbor Hut.

We had a very nice dive on Thursday. When I got home after our last trip my Nikon SB105 strobes continued to misbehave (no ready light) but the Sea and Sea YS90DX's seemed to work fine, so I used them for this trip. They worked fine in the early part of the dive but started taking a VERY long time to recycle after about 40 minutes underwater. I think the problem was just old batteries. When I was testing the strobes at home I think I put in the used batteries from the SB105s and then forgot to exchange them for fresh ones. Anyway I wish my equipment bugs would finally get exterminated. I will continue to use the YS90DXs until they get crazy also. Nothing unusual spotted on my dive, just the usual suspects. Lots of dorids and one nice Acanthodoris lutea with a Hermissenda by his side.

Thursday morning we headed up to Windy Cove and got some nice bird images including the turkey vulture. Russell, the resident male sealion who hangs out at the base of the North T-Pier under the fish-processing plant, was very cooperative on Wednesday afternoon..

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Diver Ken

Hermissenda laying eggs

Hermissenda papillosa

Fringehead likes Heineken

Crab face.

Anemone mouth detail

Date
8/25 and 8/26/2011
Water Temp (F) 53/53
Air Temp (F) Mid 60's
Max Depth (ft) 28/27
Time In 9:00am/8:51am
Dive Time (min) 59/45
Topside WX Overcast, mild (K)
Comments

Despite two more nice dives, the equipment gremlins were back with me this trip. Before the dive I had broken off the little plastic knob that engages the on/off camera switch in the housing, couldn't get a replacement in time for the dive. No biggie, before the dives I just took the camera out of the housing, turned it on manually, and put it back in the housing. I noticed minor corrosion on the terminals of the housing connectors after using the Ikelite 50s on the last trip so I switched to the Nikon SB105s. They worked fine on the first dive but on the second day I got no ready light. The strobes fired in air so I made the dive. The strobes did fire but the camera didn't think there were any strobes attached so the shutter stayed open trying to make an ambient-lit exposure. At f38 that takes a long time!! So I got no images on the second dive. I did get a few showable images on the first day, highlight was the nice Aeolidia papillosa (Image #2) and the fringehead in the Heineken bottle with the little tiny Polycera atra on the rim of the bottle on the left side of the photo (Image #3). Good news was that Oceanic replaced my fried ProPlus 2 computer with a new one for only $160. I think that gage sells for about $1000 now. Gary and I checked out a nice flower field in Los Osos Valley and spent some time at Windy Cove.

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Diver Ken


I just love resting my chin on this rock

Date
7/27 and 28/2011
Water Temp (F) 54 (guessing)
Air Temp (F) Mid 60's
Max Depth (ft) 26/20
Time In 9:30am/9:30am
Dive Time (min) 50/40
Topside WX Overcast, mild (K)
Comments

Two nice dives, overcast in the morning but clearing in the afternoons. Gary brought me his prints for the Santa Barbara exhibit. Visibility was better than average. Janolus fuscus were gone, no sightings. I was happy to spot a young Triopha maculata on each dive (photo #2). On Thursday there were hundreds of egg-yolk jellyfish floating into the bay on the high tide. They were all sizes and very beautiful, but extremely difficult to photograph. Just couldn't autofocus on anything except the tentacles and the edges of the bodies. I did manage one decent edge detail shot (photo #1). I did a battery change on my Oceanic Pro-Plus computer/gage before the trip, and thought it was ok because it worked the whole first dive on Wednesday. But Thursday it was fried so I did the dive with no gage. No big deal but it is obviously wise to know tank pressure so I will probably go back to my old Suunto Eon for awhile. Don't think it makes sense to buy a new Oceanic although I really liked it. On Wednesday Gary and I dropped off some of our new MB books with Rouvaishyana at the Museum. He seemed very interested. Then on Wednesday afternoon we headed north and hiked the full length (and more) of the Harmony Headlands trail (1.5 miles each way). It was very beautiful (photo #5) but we both picked up a lot of ticks, especially me I ended up taking off about 15 of the nasty little buggers. We also infested our rooms at the BW which I am sure they appreciated.

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Diver Ken



 

 

 

Date
6/2/2011
Water Temp (F) 50
Air Temp (F) Low 60's
Max Depth (ft) 20
Time In 11:28 am
Dive Time (min) 47
Topside WX Cool, partial clouds
Comments

Pam and Sarah drove up with me to meet Gary for a one-day, one-dive round trip. Gary had dived the day before. It was another fuscus day, I saw perhaps four individuals. One was on the bottom on nudibranch hill, the others on the piling. Visibility was limited (4-5 ft) but adequate, although I got very cold and my hands were really hurting during and after the dive. These fuscus are so interesting and beautiful I find I am not looking for any other species, although I did see several nice Polycera atra clusters. All in all a very nice dive and a nice day. Except for the dead battery in the Escalade, of course. AAA got us started and we made the drive home nonstop. A new battery has solved the problem. Oh, almost forgot one other problem, for the first time I can remember I left a piece of equipment up there, my favorite Cressi mask. Another one of those is also on the way.

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Diver Ken



 

 

 

 

Date
5/17&18/2011
Water Temp (F) 52/53
Air Temp (F) Low to mid 50's
Max Depth (ft) 27/21
Time In 10:58am/12:18pm
Dive Time (min) 51/48
Topside WX Cool, overcast, some rain, very windy on 5/18 Wednesday
Comments

Gary and I spent two spectacular days in MB on Tuesday and Wednesday. Topside weather was iffy, cool and overcast and very windy on Wednesday, but we had some great photo opps above and below water. On the first dive on Tuesday Gary hit the jackpot with a great find, an explosion of the beautiful Janolus fuscus on the piling, including one laying eggs (Photo #1). There were individuals on almost every piling. They seemed to be feeding on a gray bushy growth on the piles, but some were on the red bryozoan. It was a GREAT find, they are very beautiful and we had only seen them a few times in the past. Gary told me where they were and I found them on the second dive on Wednesday and had my way with them. If this wasn't my best MB dive ever, it was definitely a contender. In spite of the topside weather we also had some good topside opportunities. The bird nesting activity was good at Windy Cove, a whole new flock of cormorants were brooding in the trees along with many egrets and a few blue herons. I found one cooperative blue heron on the drive into town on the golf course side of Windy Cove, he was stalking and let me get very close (Photo #3). We also hiked up to the top of Black Hill in the State Park above the golf course and got some good HDR images of the Rock (Photo #2), the Back Bay, and US1 heading into SLO.

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Diver Ken

Clowns mating.

Acanthodoris lutea

Triopha catalinae

Elephant seal pups.

Sunset at the Rock

Date
3/9&10/2011
Water Temp (F) 50
Air Temp (F) mid 60s
Max Depth (ft) 25
Time In 11:01am
Dive Time (min) 53
Topside WX Sunny, cool, windy
Comments

I made the dive on Wednesday 3/9 alone, Gary hurt his back and thought it best not to do any lifting. He arrived about noon after taking some magnificent pictures of the sandhill cranes at the Merced wildlife preserve. After lunch we did some photography at Windy Cove, then drove down to the butterfly grove at Pismo but they were mostly gone. Just a few individuals fluttering around but no big clusters. We proceeded a little farther south to Oceano Dunes and drove a few miles on the beach, then back to MB for some sunset photos from the North T-Pier.

My dive was good, lots of Triopha catalinae including a mating pair. Also saw a very nice Acanthadoris lutea.

I didn't want to do the dive on Thursday 3/10 without Gary, so we decided to drive up to San Simeon and check out the elephant seals. They were there but not nearly in the numbers in previous months. The adults were mostly gone, but there were still quite a few pups and yearlings on the beaches. We saw a young male with a horrific wound on his side (most likely a white shark bite). Two young guys reported him to the docents and one docent arrived just as we were leaving. He said they couldn't do much for him because they were prohibited from helping the animals unless the damage was "man-made". We also saw a starving pup trying to nurse from his dead mom. That was terribly sad and even days later I am having a hard time getting it out of my mind. Kinda wish we hadn't driven up there that day. The good news, of course, is that most of them do survive and seeing these animals living their lives on these beaches is one of the greatest sights you can see in nature.

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Diver Ken

Flabellina trilineata

Flatfish

North of Santa Barbara.

Date
2/3/2011
Water Temp (F) 52
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 26
Time In 9:30am
Dive Time (min) 53
Topside WX Sunny, cool
Comments

I met Gary for just one dive on Thursday. He stayed over for another on Friday but I had to head for home because of the UCLA Old-Timers baseball game on Saturday. It was a nice dive, limited visibility but always good to get in the water. Highlights were a nice trilineata and a very unusual flatfish. I stopped on the way home for a few photos at a view spot north of Santa Barbara.

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Salt & pepper

Triopha catalinae

Flabellina trilineata

Janolus barbarensis

Polycera hedgpethi

Male elephant seal

Date
1/6&7/2011
Water Temp (F) 51/52
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 26'/26'
Time In 10:05am/10:09am
Dive Time (min) 55/51
Topside WX Cool, broken clouds, pleasant
Comments

Two more nice dives with Gary, our first of 2011. Viz was very limited on Thursday 1/6 but improved dramatically on Friday. Nudibranchs continue to be abundant in number and variety particularly on the east-west berm (Nudibranch Hill). Five species shown at right, I think with several dorid species and ubiquitous hermissendas I probably saw a total of eight species on the two dives. We are seeing lots of salt & pepper (Aegires albopunctatus) nudibranchs now (top photo), several on every dive. That's very unusual, used to see them only about once a year.

After the dive on Thursday we headed up to San Simeon to play with the elephant seals. It's not quite the peak but there were lots of pups on the beach, and we saw some mating activity and some of the bulls were sparring. Action should be good through mid-February. Sky was beautiful and it turned into a magnificent sunset.

 

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Diver Ken

Flabellina trilineata

Flabellina trilineata color variation.

Polycera hedgpethi (2)

Triopha maculata

Janolus barbarensis

Triopha catalinae

Museum exhibit

View from the Museum.

Date
12/7 & 8/2010
Water Temp (F) 52/52
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 25'/27'
Time In 9:32am/9:53am
Dive Time (min) 60/55
Topside WX Beautiful
Comments

Two absolutely great dives with Gary. . We had a constant parade of nudibranchs, I think I saw eight species on each dive, including the elusive Polycera hedgpethi (image #4). There are so many nudibranchs of every species that I hardly even look for anything else any more. Water was clean, maybe 20' viz on Tuesday, a little less on Wednesday as the surf was up outside. The berm area is really producing for us. We are seeing LOTS of Janolus barbarensis now which is fabulous, they are incredibly beautiful. Also the Triopha maculata are making a comeback, seeing several on every dive recently.

On Tuesday afternoon 12/7 we hung our prints at the Museum for our third exhibit. Rouvaishyana said it would be on display for about two months

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Diver Ken

Triopha maculata

Flabellina trilineata

Plycera atra with skeleton shrimp

Janolus barbarensis

Triopha catalinae

Three species

 

Date
11/10/2010
Water Temp (F) 53
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 27'
Time In 10:00am
Dive Time (min) 61
Topside WX Clear and cool
Comments

Best dive in a long time, and there have been some good ones recently! A one-day round trip for me, the second day of a two-day trip for Gary. Viz was not particularly good (maybe 8 feet) and a little green but the critters were abundant. I spent the last 25 minutes of a 61 minute dive in exactly the same place, at 19 fsw on the berm near the Cal Poly float. In an area no more than about 16 inches square, without moving, I photographed Janolus barbarensis (2 individuals), Polycera atra, Triopha maculata (first of the year), Triopha catalinae, and MATING Flabellina trilineatas. Where in the world can you photograph five relatively unusual nudibranch species without moving?? Saw lots of fringeheads in new and old bottles but the nudibranch show was so spectacular I didn't even bother with the fish. Also saw three other nudibranch species on the dive (Hermissenda crassicornis (of course), Archidoris montereyensis, and Aegires albopunctatus) bringing the total to eight species seen on the same dive. In the last photo on the right I photographed three species in the same frame, maculata, janolus, and trilineata, that's a first for me.

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Diver Ken

Triopha catalinae

Pink corynactix anemone

Young cabezon on bryozoan.

 

Date
10/21/2010
Water Temp (F) 55
Air Temp (F) mid 60s
Max Depth (ft) 26'
Time In 9:20am
Dive Time (min) 60
Topside WX Overcast
Comments

I did a one-day round trip dive on Thursday with Gary, who stayed and did a second dive on Friday. It was a good one for me, although Gary had camera battery problems (he made up for that with a great dive on the next day). Highlight for me was a beautifully positioned little octopus (Image #1). There were an extraordinary number of Triopha catalinae scattered around, I think I saw 10 individuals (Image #2). I also photographed a very nice cluster of healthy pink corynactis anemones (Image #3) and a nice cabezon (Image #4).

We were met and interviewed/photographed by a reporter and photographer from the SLO Tribune who are going to do a feature story on us. Who woulda thunk??!!.

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Janolus barbarensis

Sarcastic fringehead

One-spot fringehead

Triopha catalinae and Hermissenda crassicornis

Gary at Windy Cove

White pelicans at Windy Cove

Flower fields in Los Osos Valley

Date
9/20 & 21/2010
Water Temp (F) 54/53
Air Temp (F) mid to high 60s
Max Depth (ft) 26/28'
Time In 9:32am/9:37am
Dive Time (min) 62/62
Topside WX Clear and sunny
Comments

Two of the best days Gary and I have had in a LONG time. Everything was great, clean water (viz about 15ft) and beautiful sunny topside weather in the mid to high 60s, and lots of critters out and about. Highlight of the dives (there were so many) was a spectacular Janolus barbarensis posing for me on a clump of red bryozoan (photo #1). I had some nice fringehead encounters including a male sarcastic (#2) and a one-spot completely exposed (#3). Also had a catalinae and a hermissenda side by side on a clam siphon (#4). It was with some trepidation that I used, for the first time in many dives, individual cords on the two SB-105 strobes (instead of the dual cord plugged into one port). I had tested them at home in air and in the pool. Glad to report they worked!! Don't know how they healed themselves but they did.

After the dive on Monday 9/20 we photographed the flower fields along Los Osos Valley Road (still spectacularly in bloom) and a squadron of beautiful white pelicans in Windy Cove. We stopped by the Harbor Festival office, met Hunter, and saw where our booth is going to be located (South T-Pier). Our pictures look nice hanging in the Best Western San Marcos.

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Diver Ken

Small metridium anemone.

Polyceras mating.

Hermissenda on clam siphon

Date
8/27/2010
Water Temp (F) 53
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 27'
Time In 11:05am
Dive Time (min) 55
Topside WX Broken clouds
Comments

I came up (with Pam) for the second day of Gary's two-day trip. Had a nice dive with fair visibility. Usual critters, nothing unusual. Highlight was the mating Polycera atras.

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Diver Ken

Crab

Salt & Pepper nudibranch

Three Polycera atras.

Triopha catalinae and Hermissenda crassicornia

Seed flowers blooming in Los Osos Valley.

Date
8/11/2010
Water Temp (F) 54
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 28'
Time In 11:57am
Dive Time (min) 63
Topside WX Overcast, gray on entry, broken sunny on exit
Comments

I did a one-day, one-dive round trip today. Neither Gary nor Coleen could make it today and I couldn't resist getting wet. Water was cleaner than it has been in a long time, probably associated with a very high tide (5.5 ft). Estimated viz was 10-15ft. I could see adjacent sets of piles in both directions most of the time, that's about 15ft of horizontal visibility. I saw four nudibranch species, lots of Polycera atras (including a triple in the same frame), Triopha catalinae, Salt & Pepper, and of course several thousand Hermissendas. All in all a wonderful 63-minute dive.

There were several beautiful fields of seed flowers in bloom along Los Osos Valley Road and I spent some time photographing them.

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Diver Ken

Trapania velox

Fringehead with very bad hair

Beach on Point Buchon Trail

Sea Cave on Point Buchon Trail

Date
7/22&23/2010
Water Temp (F) 53/53
Air Temp (F) high 60s
Max Depth (ft) 28'/27'
Time In 9:48am/9:43am
Dive Time (min) 58/63
Topside WX Overcast, gray
Comments

It was great to get back in the water after missing a month (last June). First time I missed a month in years. Two more excellent dives with Gary. Water dirty, very green, visibility maybe 4-5 ft and DARK. But the critters were there!! A big first for me, a new nudibranch species Trapania velox. Gary has seen it before (it's on the Nudibranch page) but this was the first time for me. It's an exquisitely pretty little thing (Photo #1). Also saw a great little fringehead in a bottle having an exceptionally bad hair day.

On Thursday after the dive we walked about four miles on the Point Buchon Trail in Montana de Oro. Spectacular coastal scenery!!!

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Diver Ken

Serpulid worm.

Sand dab.

Pipefish.

Flabellina trilineata.

Cormorant with nest material.

Egret.

Gull harassing hawk.

Date
5/13&14/2010
Water Temp (F) 50/50
Air Temp (F) high 60s
Max Depth (ft) 26/24
Time In 10:28am/11:04am
Dive Time (min) 54/52
Topside WX Broken, occasionally overcast
Comments

Two more exceptionally nice dives with Gary. Visibility still limited, water "muddy" colored and unusually cold for this time of year (50F). I finally found one of the pipefish Gary has been regularly seeing along the west edge of the stem of the pier, and it let me do a nice face shot. Lots of the usual critters out and about.

We spent some time photographing the nesting cormorants, both from Windy Cove and from the back parking lot of the Inn at Morro Bay. Lots of great bird activity in the air.

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Diver Ken

Janolus barbarensis.

Sculpin face.

Flabellina trilineata.

Wildflower.

California poppy at Windy Cove.

 

Date
4/28&29/2010
Water Temp (F) 52/50
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 26/26
Time In 10:40am/11:20am
Dive Time (min) 54/50
Topside WX Clear and sunny
Comments

Two wonderful dives with Gary. Limited visibility but enough to see some nice critters. Highlight was a very pretty Janolus (Image #1). There are still lots of nice wildflowers in and around Morro Bay, I photographed some at Windy Cove while looking at all the cormorants nest-building in the trees.

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Diver Ken

Flabellina trilineata

Flabellina trilineata

Hermissenda on clam siphon

Otter mom and pup eating clams

Wildflowers at Carizzo Plain

Date
3/30//2010
Water Temp (F) 52
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 27
Time In 10:26am
Dive Time (min) 53
Topside WX Clear and sunny
Comments

I participated in a Mind Walk at the Museum on Monday morning 3/29, and then drove to Carizzo Plain to meet Gary and photograph the spectacular wildflower display. What an awesome place Carizzo is - never knew it existed. Returning to MB we did a very nice dive on Tuesday morning. We are seeing fewer nudibranch species now, still lots of Hermissendas but almost no other species except trilineatas which have become abundant. Go figger. Before the dive we were visited by an otter mom and pup who were hanging in the current right off the east end of the pier chomping on clams. Nice touch.

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Diver Ken

Serpulid worm.

Serpulid worm.

Sculpin.

Sculpin.

Anemone.



 

Date
3/16//2010
Water Temp (F) 51
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 27
Time In 10:35am
Dive Time (min) 54
Topside WX Clear and sunny
Comments

Very nice dive, first one after our bad day at San Luis Bay. It was like getting back on the horse after you have been bucked off. Gary did a dive on the previous day 3/15, I could only make it on the 16th but it was worth the long roundtrip dive. Highlight was a very cooperative little snubnose sculpin who let me have my way with him. Also a few nice serpulid worms. It was really good to do a dive with no equipment loss, rescue, etc. Will do a Mind Walk at the Museum on 3/29 and then Gary and I will do another dive on the 30th.

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Pelican on equipment pile.

 

 

Date
2/9/2010
Water Temp (F) 49 (Brrrrr)
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 22
Time In 6:38am
Dive Time (min) 45
Topside WX Light rain on entry (in the dark), nice morning on exit..
Comments

All last year I have been threatening to do this dive on my 70th birthday, today it happened. High tide was at 7am so Gary and I suited up in the dark and hit the water at about 6:40am. Visibility was very limited (about 3 ft.) but it was still fun to do the dive (and now I can say I did it on my 70th!!). Nothing special was seen (by me); some Hermissendas and several fringeheads. Gary had a better dive with pipefish and trilineatas. The most interesting thing I saw was a pelican sitting on the pile we use for our equipment when we leave the water (see photo). He/she was drying wings and seemed annoyed that we needed the space - he/she finally hopped to another nearby location. Gary had to head home after the dive - but Pam, Karen and Andy (and the doggies Sarah and Kiya) spent the rest of the day playing with the elephant seals, wine-tasting in Harmony, lunching at Nucci's in SLO, napping, and more eating at Harbor Hut. Great day!!!

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Dendronotus frondosus

Dendronotus frondosus

Pipefish

Flabellina trilineata

Northern elephant seal mom and pup.

 

Date
1/18/2010
Water Temp (F) 55
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 28
Time In 10:35am
Dive Time (min) 53
Topside WX Driving hard rain on entry; tornado winds on exit.
Comments

We planned dives on Monday and Tuesday, the first trip in 2010. Monday's dive was made in what was certainly the most bizarre topside weather we have ever seen here; a driving rainstorm when we entered, and strong winds with whitecaps in the bay when we exited. Nonetheless it was a pretty good dive for me. Viz was only about 3-4 ft. but I managed to find a new species (for me), the beautiful and strange Dendronotus frondosus (top two photos). Gary has seen and photographed this one before but this was my first time. I also found two pipefish together (one shown in photo #3) and a nice Flabellina trilineata (fourth photo). The weather improved, and we spent Monday afternoon on the San Simeon beaches playing with the elephant seals. There are thousands of pups on the beaches now and it was fun watching the interactions between the pups and their moms. Tuesday we were greeted with another driving rainstorm. We were prepared to handle the rain, but when we checked out the water at the pier it was bright green with a visibility measured in inches. Looked like the bay was picking up a lot of runoff. So we grudgingly decided to abort and head for home early.

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Diver Ken

Juveniles sparring

Bull

Bull

Anemone cluster

Hermissenda crassicornis

Monarch butterflies

 

Date
12/17 & 12/18/2009
Water Temp (F) 56/54
Air Temp (F) high 60s
Max Depth (ft) 15/17
Time In 9:27am/9:24am
Dive Time (min) 10/38
Topside WX Mild, cool, breezy
Comments

We have been having excellent visibility on the last few dives, but things sure averaged out on this trip. The surf was really kicking up outside the bay (15-20' waves) and there were still dredging operations going on inside the bay. As a result, the water was a metallic greenish gray color. On Thursday, the first of our two days, I dropped down to about 15 ft. at our entry point, and couldn't see my strobes. I thought my mask was fogged, so I cleared it. Still couldn't see anything. I put my hand in front of my mask, and determined that the visibility was about 2-3 inches. I headed east towards the stem of the pier, and couldn't see a thing. Recognizing that it was hopeless, I aborted the dive after about 10 minutes. When I surfaced near our normal exit point, Gary was there and had already come to the same conclusion. We regrouped, cleaned up, jumped in the car, and drove north to San Simeon where we had a wonderful time playing with the elephant seals. The big males were just arriving and we had some great photo op's with them up close down on the beach.

Friday the water cleaned up a little bit. The viz was about 3 feet which was enough to make a dive out of it. Gary went outside, but I stayed under the pier for most of the dive. I didn't see anything unusual but did manage a few images of Hermissendas and the beautiful little tube anemones which are everywhere near our exit point at the base of the pier.

I stopped at the Monarch Butterfly grove in Pismo Beach on the way home and spent some time there photographing that amazing winter event.

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Diver Ken

Flabellina trilineata

Janolus barbarensis

Triopha maculata (young)

Salt and pepper nudibranch

Triopha catalinae

Dirty dorid (Doris monteryensis)

Polycera atra

Date
11/19 & 11/20/2009
Water Temp (F) 53/53
Air Temp (F) high 60s
Max Depth (ft) 27/28
Time In 10:04am/10:33am
Dive Time (min) 55/64
Topside WX Sunny, broken cumulus clouds, light breeze
Comments These were two spectacular dives. Gary and Sharon met me for two dives on Thursday and Friday. It was a real nudibranch convention. On Thursday I saw 8 species on the same dive, maybe a school record. Water was fairly clean, better than average. We concentrated on the "berm", the buildup of sand just inside the south (outside) edge of the pier. This area contains patches of grassy material and it is loaded with nudibranchs. We used to not pay attention to this area because it seemed to just contain thousands of Hermissendas. It does, but if you look closer it has a LOT of other species also. I saw three individual Triopha maculatas on Thursday, all the young "solid gold" color phase. Good to see them showing up again. We will be paying a lot more attention to the "berm" area in the future.

We took a ride up to the elephant seal beaches in San Simeon on Thursday afternoon after the dive. There are still lots of mature females on the beaches but the big males are starting to arrive and arrange their harems.

I continue to use the dual synch cord attached to the left housing connector, mainly because it continues to work. I will probably keep using that setup indefinitely now.

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Cantilevered Polycera atra.

Trilineata doing stretching exercises.

Puff nudibranch Acanthodoris lutae.

Sculpin face.

Sculpin frontal with full body visible.

Sculpin pose.

Janolus and Hermissenda.

Crab.

Date
11/4/2009
Water Temp (F) 54
Air Temp (F) high 60s
Max Depth (ft) 29
Time In 9:46am
Dive Time (min) 61
Topside WX Overcast, calm.
Comments

Gary and I met for a one-dive, round-trip day. Extremely high tide (about 5.5 ft.) and CLEAN water, maybe the best visibility we have ever seen. Surface was constantly visible, even at 29 fsw, and it is always great to look up and see several rows of piling. It was a FABULOUS dive, the best in a long time. Only thing that would have made it better would have been some sunshine, but you can't have everything. Water has mysteriously warmed up from 45 six days ago to 54 today.

Lots of critters out and about, and easy to see with the good viz. 4-5 species of nudibranchs with the highlight being several Polycera atra individuals all anxious to do stretching, cantilever poses. Also saw a nice Janolus/Hermissenda relationship. Saw lots of pretty little sculpins, they are very beautifully marked with interesting, colorful patterns. You just have to notice them, they are not shy and will hang around for several frames. I used my double synch cord setup again with the housing connector on the left side looking forward. Everything worked so I am going to keep using this for awhile. Eventually I will experiment to try to get back to two single cords but since the dives have been so good and the equipment is working I don't want to risk a change. All in all a great dive, best in a long time.

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Diver Ken

Octopus peeking out from clam shell.

Out in the open.

Strange buddies.

Full frontal shot, octopus on right.

Right profile, last shot.

Happy-face crab with moustache and mohawk.

Date
10/29/2009
Water Temp (F) 45 (that's right, 45F!)
Air Temp (F) low 70s
Max Depth (ft) 28
Time In 7:45 am
Dive Time (min) 55
Topside WX Clear and sunny morning, light breeze.
Comments

Thursday 10/29 was takedown day for our photo exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. Gary was still busy with harvest, so I came up alone on Wednesday morning. I stopped for pizza at Nucci's and met Maryanne (Chuck Adams' sister) for the first time. Checked into the BW San Marcos, and sampled the jacuzzi and then on to Harbor Hut for cioppino. Enjoyed everything but it wasn't the same without Gary. Did a nice early morning dive on Thursday, cleaned up and then headed out to the Museum where Rouvaishyana and his great docent crew helped me take down the photos and load them all in the car. We got a lot of nice comments on the photo exhibit, it was fun.

For awhile the dive was kinda average, water was VERY cold (45F, I think the coldest I have ever measured in MB), viz not very good with lots of small particulate material in the water column, and nothing too exciting in the way of critters. Then it happened. I spotted a small octopus peeking out at me from a large broken horseneck clam shell (photo #1). After a few frames it eased out into the open and jetted a few feet away where it let me get a few full-body shots while it changed colors and shapes to confuse me (photo #2). I was not confused, so it jetted away again, just a few feet, but this time it landed right in front of a large one-spot fringehead blenny (photo #3). The blenny looked confused, coming WAY out of its lair and seeming to check out the octopus. The octopus hung around long enough to let me get several shots, left profile, full frontal (photo #4), and right profile (photo #5), until it tired of all this and jetted away into the gloom for good this time. All this was witnessed by a smiling crab with a moustache and a mohawk (photo #6). It was a GREAT encounter, I've never seen anything quite like it. That made it an excellent dive. BTW camera and strobes worked fine, I used the double cord connector again. I will stick to that setup for awhile as long as it keeps working. Gonna do another one-day trip with Gary tomorrow 11/4 Wednesday.

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Acanthodoris lutae.

Aeolidia papillosa.

Fringehead in bottle with Hermissenda.

Gold sculpin with Hermissenda.

Blackeye goby.

 

 

Date
9/21/2009
Water Temp (F) 55
Air Temp (F) low 70s
Max Depth (ft) 29
Time In 12:04 pm
Dive Time (min) 68
Topside WX Clear and sunny; some puffy cumulus clouds, big fog bank offshore
Comments

Things finally came together today. Weather was beautiful, my strobes worked, and I exited the water with all the same equipment I entered with, all of it attached to me in pretty much the original position. I tried a dual Nikon synch cord plugged into the left bulkhead connector with a plug in the right bulkhead connector. It worked fine, but I would sure like to find out why the individual cord setup didn't work. It might be a cord; it might be something in the right bulkhead connector. Anyway even though it was a little awkward keeping the cords off of the front of the port, it sure beat the hell out of the strobes not working at all!! :) The dive was LONG, an hour and eight minutes. Visibility was excellent again, maybe 12-15 ft, one of those days when you could see several rows of piles at the same time. Once I got out to the south (outside) edge of the pier I turned left (east towards Los Osos), pushed along gently by the slowing incoming tide, and eventually got to the east end of the pier before I turned around and let the now outgoing tide take me back. I constantly heard boat engines directly above me, which was a little unnerving. Lots of critters, several species of nudibranchs (Hermissenda (of course), Aeolidia papillosa, Acanthadoris lutae, sandiegensis, but sadly I didn't see Triopha maculata on this trip), but the highlight was several different sculpin, including a gorgeous little gold one that I need to indentify. I was so happy with the sculpins that I already put 4 of them in the Fish Gallery. I was prepared to stay another day to further investigate the problem I've been having, but everything went so well today that I decided to head for home. Plus it's just not the same without Gary, who will be busy with harvest through October.

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:(

So Sad!!!

7 hours of driving, 48 minutes underwater, no pictures.

Date
9/16/2009
Water Temp (F) 54
Air Temp (F) low 70s
Max Depth (ft) 28
Time In 9:33am
Dive Time (min) 48
Topside WX Clear and sunny
Comments The little equipment cloud that has been following me around in Morro Bay was hovering again today for the second straight dive. After losing a fin on the dive last week, I was all worried about how my backup Scubapro fins were going to work today. Turns out that they worked fine (actually I really liked how they felt and I managed to keep them both with me for the whole dive). But alas, my SB-105 strobes decided not to fire. I thought that problem had been solved. To make it worse, or better, depending on how full you see the glass, it was a fabulous dive, perhaps the best of the year. Viz was excellent, perhaps 15-20 ft. I could see the bottom of the piles at the edge of the pier at the bottom of the ramp down to the floating dock. That's about 18 ft. Plus the critters were there and cooperative!! Naturally, they knew I couldn't take their picture so they did all kinds of great poses. I saw four Triopha maculatas with various sizes and color variations, several trilineatas, and a beautiful little golden sculpin curled up around a Hermissenda. They tortured me by staying put for about 5 minutes while I tried everything to get the strobes to fire, changing settings, shaking the housing, shouting at the housing, all the usual stuff but nothing worked. Anyway I packed it in after 48 minutes and no images. Seven hours of driving for no pictures, not a good deal.

When I got home I tested the strobes in air and they did not work. I put on the YS-90DX strobes (with their own cords) and they did work. I then put on a dual Nikon synch cord in one of the housing bulkhead connectors, attached it to both SB-105 strobes, and lo and behold, they worked fine on every setting, including TTL. So the problem is NOT the strobes. It could be a cord, or it could be a connection in the housing. I will put a plug in the other bulkhead connector and try the dual-cord setup in the pool with the SB-105s, then maybe go back to MB next Monday (12:45 pm high tide). I desperately need to do one dive where everything works.

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Small golden sculpin.

Serpulid worm.

Small feeding barnacle in field of orange Corynactis anemones.

Date
9/8/2009
Water Temp (F) 54
Air Temp (F) low 70s
Max Depth (ft) 19
Time In 11:27am
Dive Time (min) 40
Topside WX Overcast
Comments

Gary and I did a single dive today. We got in early, about two hours before the slack high tide, and the current was ripping pretty good. The dive started fine and as I was under the pier, making my way south towards the outside edge of the pier, I noticed that I had lost one fin. I backtracked, hoping that it had gotten stuck on something, but that was not to be. I couldn't find it anywhere. Deciding, with that current, that my fin was probably in Los Osos by now, and realizing that it was really difficult to move without literally pulling myself along using something solid on the bottom (kicking with one fin was pretty useless), I decided to just stay put and see what I could see close to shore. I actually had a pretty nice dive under the pier close to the exit point, fired off 40 frames, and finally called it quits after about 40 minutes. But, with benefit of two fins, Gary emerged about 25 minutes later reporting a magnificent dive outside, finding a fabulous fat Janolus barberensis and lots of shrimp including a new one.

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Horseneck clam siphon.  Clam is about 18" below.

Small tube anemones.

Hermissenda nudibranch on clam siphon.

Triopha maculata.

Date
8/20/2009
Water Temp (F) 54
Air Temp (F) low 70s
Max Depth (ft) 28
Time In 10:57am
Dive Time (min) 59
Topside WX Overcast on entry; sunny on exit
Comments Wonderful hour-long dive with Gary and my daughter Coleen. We could only do one day, so we drove up and met Gary and Sharon on the second day of their trip. Sharon tended Sean (my 7-year-old grandson) while we were in the water. Coleen did all the photography on this dive, four of her photos are shown on the right. She found the beautiful Triopha maculata (the bottom image); I think it is the first and only one I have seen this year. They always seem to show up only in the late summer.

Stopped by the museum and showed Coleen and Sean our underwater photo exhibit. The exhibit looked great and it was fun to see and hear a few families pass by and "oooh and aaaah" over the prints.

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Polycera atra nudibranch.

Serpulid worm.

Flabellina trilineata.

Tiny trilineata with eggs on kelp leaf.

Date 7/9&10/2009
Water Temp (F) 54/55
Air Temp (F) mid 60s low 70s
Max Depth (ft) 27/21
Time In 12:52 pm and 1:08 pm
Dive Time (min) 58/60
Topside WX Beautiful mellow summer days
Comments With great trepidation I entered the water for the first dive on Thursday and was overjoyed when the strobes worked!! Don't know what the problem was (I suspect it was too much silicone grease in the housing bulkhead strobe connectors) but regardless of what it was, it seems to be healed. Everything worked fine for both dives (although I did break a fin strap just as I was about to enter for the first dive. Had to walk back to the car fully suited up and get a spare, UGH). Other than that, the two dives were GREAT. Viz was not too good but the critters were there. Saw several individual Polycera atras and numerous Flabellina trilineatas. On Friday I stayed under the north/south leg of the pier (shallow) the whole dive, never went outside. There was lots of stuff to see there. Highlight of the dives was the tiny trilineata on a green leaf (photo #4) with eggs. The nudibranch was smaller than the nail on my little finger. Can they reproduce at that size? Don't know if the eggs belonged to the nudibranch but it sure seemed like they did because of the proximity.

Gary and I hung our photos for our new exhibit at the museum. They will be on display for several months.

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Ring-top snail.

Serpulid worm.

Ceramicus bondyii.  Very rare.  Can survive in fresh or salt water.

Date 6/24&25/2009
Water Temp (F) 55/54
Air Temp (F) mid 60s
Max Depth (ft) 26/26
Time In 12:21 pm and 1:33 pm
Dive Time (min) 46/31
Topside WX Partially cloudy, nice days
Comments For the first time that I can recall I had serious equipment problems (camera). On Wednesday as soon as I got in the water I noticed that the strobe ready light was flickering in the camera. The strobes (SB-105's) would not fire. After fiddling around with a bunch of settings, turning things on and off, I switched the strobes from TTL to full power manual, and they fired - for about five frames until they quit for good. I managed one keeper shot, the ring-topped snail. I aborted the dive after about 45 minutes. That night I switched strobes to the Sea & Sea YS-90DX's. They worked in air, and I took them into the jacuzzi at the Best Western, where they also worked. When I entered the water on Thursday they worked fine initially and I thought I had isolated the problem to the SB-105 strobes. NOT. The YS-90's also stopped working completely after about ten frames (I managed a few decent tubeworm images). I aborted this dive after about 25 minutes. While waiting for Gary to exit I sat on the Liar's Bench in front of the Harbormaster's office and started fiddling with the camera, and of course the strobes came back to life. I took several decent photos of the flowers growing next to the bench. Go figure.

UPDATE: When I got home I cleaned everything up and examined all the connections, inside the housing, the strobes, cords, etc. Everything worked in air, every combination of strobe and setting. So I put on the SB-105s and went into the pool where I shot 46 frames of my test fish (see image to the right) with all kinds of settings. Everything worked fine. So I will keep my fingers crossed. Next week Gary and I will do two dives in MB and then I head off for my sand tiger shark dive in North Carolina.

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One-spot fringehead blenny.

Hermit crab in tube.

Serpulid worm.

Unidentified shrimp.

Date 4/27/2009
Water Temp (F) 49F (Brrrrrr....)
Air Temp (F) low 60s
Max Depth (ft) 26
Time In 12:34 pm
Dive Time (min) 61
Topside WX Cool and breezy
Comments We went in about two hours before the 2:20pm high tide so there was a pretty good current ripping along west to east for the whole dive. But it seemed to energize the critters. Lots of particulate matter in the water however. Three highlights: a confused hermit crab who took up residence in a short (3") length of tube (photo #2); lots of beautiful little serpulid worms (photo #3); and an unidentified shrimp (Lisa Needles - HELP, photo #4). I am disappointed with the shrimp image, not very artistic but it might be scientifically identifiable :) We just did one dive on this trip, busy week for both Gary and me. Pam and Sarah (our red English bulldog) drove up with me and spent some time on the Liar's Bench while we were underwater.
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Polycera atra.

Sand dab tail being eaten by fringehead in bottle.

Tail of sand dab protruding out of fringehead mouth.

Date 3/23 & 24/2009
Water Temp (F) 45F (Brrrrrr....)
Air Temp (F) 60F
Max Depth (ft) 27/27
Time In 8:23am/8:48am
Dive Time (min) 64/52
Topside WX Sunny and cool; breezy Monday
Comments Coldest water I have ever felt in Morro Bay (45F). Water was green and loaded with particulate matter on Monday, ocean was really kicking up outside the bay. Much better on Tuesday as things laid down. Saw an incredible event on Tuesday, a medium sized one-spot fringehead ATE a full-sized sand-dab, right before my very eyes. I was closing in for a photo of the fringehead in a bottle when he/she darted out of the bottle and nailed a sand-dab, dragging it back inside the bottle (see photo #2 where the tail and a lot of the sand-dab body can be seen hanging out of the bottle). A brief flurry occurred inside the bottle, then the fringehead reappeared with just a small piece of tail (pardon the expression) sticking out of his/her mouth (see photo #3). Other than that I saw all of the usual suspects, including a nice-sized Polycera atra which I got head-on (photo #1).
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Diver Ken

Polycera hedgpethi nudibranch.

Goby.

Triopha catalinae.

Janolus barbarensis.

White serpulid worm.

 

Date 2/25 and 26/09
Water Temp (F) 54
Air Temp (F) 60
Max Depth (ft) 27/28
Time In 9:45am/10:04am
Dive Time (min) 65/71
Topside WX Clear, sunny
Comments Saw Polycera hedgpethi for first time, thanks to Gary who found three of them together (two mating, one voyeur). Used 105mm on 2/25, difficult focusing. Will go back to 60mm. Excellent conditions both topside and underwater. Saw Evan first time since he broke his foot. Glad to see him back. Have been seeing Janolus on almost every dive now (Gary saw mating pair).
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