This week we were at Halibut Point, once again, for a single dip. The weather was pretty good, cloudy but not cold, around 60s. The wind was mostly from south so perfect for hitting North facing Halibut Point, one of our favorites.
Despite the mostly calm surface the visibility was quite poor, 5-10ft, down to 40ft, then it opened up to 15-20 ft. While, observing poor visibility at shallower depths suggests it might be the best to head down as fast as you can, but the nudis, the treat of the season, mostly inhabit 20+-10 ft depth, so you just end up taking your sweet lovin’ time to get to the “green”.
There wasn’t as many nudis as you would expect, it might be due to strong winds hitting the north shore few days back. Though I saw plenty of D. fragilis and D. coronata of varying sizes. I actually saw the biggest D. fragilis I have ever saw, I will just exaggerate and say it was quarter to half an inch length. While J. Shine suggests they get up to 1.5 inches I was never lucky enough to see them as big. (I am tempted to make ‘J. Shine’ italic 😛 ).
In addition to D. fragilis I also saw a few F. verrucosa, just bunch of them on a rock, nowhere else. There were also a few bushy backs (D. frondosus) around that I could detect, but they were so tiny. At such times I miss Peirce Island dives…
It is cool to see different behavior of the creatures we generally see just munching up whatever is around. Mating, laying eggs, fighting for territory, etc, just observing how different life forms go around their days. Towards the end of the dive I saw a pair of tiny D. fragilis mating. Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites. They contain both male and female genitalia. When, finally they find a mate they position themselves anti-parallel genitalia side facing each other and they fertilize each other. With these tiny nudis it was really hard to see what they were doing, but coming home and looking at the photos confirmed my suspicion. They were totally doing it. Unfortunately, I suck as paparazzi photographer, I could not get the “details” of “doing it”. 🙂
I was wondering, as hermaphrodites, if nudis could inseminated themselves when they cannot find a mate. This behavior is observed in some other animals as well as flat worms. But, apparently, nudis need a mate to procreate.
It was a pretty good dive at Halibut Point, despite the low viz. The fish were also there, saw a rock gunnel, winter flounder, skate, radiated shanny and bunch of cunners. There were a few decent sized lobsters. The anemone were all closed but the blood stars and scarlet psolus were all having their breakfasts.
Next week no dive for me :(. It is quite unlike of my birthday week, as I have been planing Florida trip for my birthday since my certification. But this time, trying to correlate with my sisters schedule I had to postpone my Florida treat for two weeks. Just can’t wait for it!!!
50ft, 65min, 48F, 5-10 ft viz opening to 15-20 at depth
Dive buddies: Bert Perry and Jason Feick