The way this dive went was exactly why we fell in love with night dives at Fort Wetherill. Nice warm summer night you enter the water cutting through the bioluminescence and once you turn your light on the show starts. Thanks to consistent northern winds the visibility had improved significantly compared to our earlier dives here. The little swarms of fish had grown up a bit, at least whatever was left from them. We had a really amazing 1.5 hour dive taking lots of footage or just shining our lights out and watching the life proceed in front of us.
As the star of the night was the squid. Again, no army of squid shooting our bodies. We would see here and there but cool thing we observed was that it was obviously dinner time. Almost every squid had a fish wrapped up with its tentacles, which was getting sucked until no life has left and then some more. In the middle of darkness I would see something shiny in the water column moving in a pulsating motion and as I get closer I would figure out that it was a silvery fish being eaten by a squid. So many times!
And then there were regulars, the blue crabs were everywhere. I was sure that I almost caught one about to release her eggs but she got too agitated with my nosiness so wouldn’t let me watch. There were quite a few pregnant ones around. I hope in one of these dives I will see little crabs being released into the water.
There were spider crabs also. Funny, though, I never see them pregnant. It must be true when we depict them as “a face only a mother can love” 😛
You can always rely on Fort Wethrill for summer flounder. At times it was like carpet under us, where ever you look there was a flounder giving you dirty looks, with one eye, at least.
The same with jellies. I always see comb jelly in Fort Wethill. It was a little different this time. At some point, the water column was full of comb jellies, where ever I look there was a wall of them swarming in as the high tide was rushing in. After a while it got little calmer, there were still some but not in crazy amounts.
Also, finally, we saw a bunch of puffers and searobins at the very shore. I have missed these little guys buzzing around. Last year I was really disappointed here that I didn’t get to see many puffers I had seen the year before but it looks like we are lucky this year :).
There were few new things I observed. First was a grubby. It wasn’t a first time I have seen a grubby, obviously, but first time I saw in Fort Wetherill. It is no big surprise but cool to see a familiar face when you don’t expect it.
Another new was a goby. I have never seen a goby in New England and I didn’t know that there were any. However, after I share the photos and ask around I was told that they are there and they are local. There were two names suggested, either “naked goby” or “seaboard goby”. Both seem possible; the goby was too small and photo not that great to properly ID the little guy. Either way, I always enjoy seeing new things and I always enjoy gobies.
The mystery of the dive was the little crab I found. First I saw I thought it looked like a porcelain crab, which has no business being around here. It was quite different shaped, if it was local closest would be a baby blue crab. However, later I learn that juvenile blue crabs just look like tiny blue crabs. So It wasn’t that. Maybe a tropical? My online questioning did not come back with an answer but Andrew Martinez was interested and hopefully his investigation will result in some kind of answer for what this creature might be.
So much fun squeezed into one dive. Looking forward to another dive in Fort Wetherill, possibly full of other surprises. We are due some tropicals, for example 🙂
96 min, 16 ft, 65F, ~15ft viz
Buddy: Bert Perry