See the Sea Bass.

One of the really great things to see out here in Southern California are the Giant Sea Bass. These huge fish, swim lazily in the water, moving slowing with long casual flicks of their tail. Often easily recognizable by their size and large black spots, they were over fished in the 1950’s and 60’s making them also an elusive find these days. After protection laws were put in place and fishing stopped the Giant Sea Bass has been making a come back.

Every time we dive certain sites, like Goat Harbor, we’re told that the Sea Bass typically can be found there.┬áThese days I am often with students and end up in the sandy shallows away from the deeper water the fish enjoy, and up until Saturday I had not had been lucky enough to glimpse one of these large fish.

Saturday we went out with Eco Dive Center on the Bat Ray to clean up parts of the wreck of the Star of Scotland in Santa Monica Bay. I was filming the group as they searched for fishing line, old lures, trash, discarded nets and more and removed them carefully to help make the wreck a cleaner and safer dive site. This wreck is also known to be home to several Giant Sea Bass, so once again I was hopeful. Towards the end of the dive, such hope was rewarded. I happened upon the whole school of GSB!! Unfortunately I didn’t get a great picture, and didn’t get too close to one, but check out the shot below. I count 10. Yep 10 just hanging out about 10 feet above the wreck! Love it. No spots on these guys, the biggest was only about 4-5ft, the rest around 3-4ft, but still an awesome sight!

The wonders of Mother Nature.

I wanted to get a quick post up today to reward all those that have been checking, no doubt in search of tales from the deep black, as I ventured out into the deep ocean last night for two black water dives. Let me jut say, it was incredible. Unfortunately the photos require a little work and the video…well it needs to be edited. I don’t want to leave you hanging though, so let me tell you about this fun little dive I did a few weeks ago.

After our blue water water dive in mid September we did two reef dives. The first was at Hawthorne reef, which is a wonderful deep reef. It sits in about 70ft of water about 1/2 mile off Palos Verdes. More on that later (those photos need work too…sigh, so much to keep up with these days!). What I want to tell you about today, was an adventure I’d be okay never experiencing again…okay, thats a lie, I wouldn’t mind it, only though for a chance to try and get a better picture of the scene!

Our final dive that day was off Christmas Tree Cove, a nice shallow reef that usually has pretty calm conditions and great viz. We dropped into the water and everything seemed fine, except that bottom of the ocean looked a little blurred. As we descended on the line the visibility started dropping, and blurring out. Imagine your mask starts to fog, and how that obscures your sight, it was like that, only my mask was not fogging. (I know this because I cleared it a few times, though after realizing what was going on, I kinda wish I didn’t). As Carolyn blurred out of sight a mere two feet from me I started to worry. I did not want to venture far from the anchor chain in fear of not finding it again, but I was not going to sit around wasting the dive. I decided that I would swim for the kelp in hopes that it would clear, and clear it did. Just like exiting a fog, suddenly the world took shape and I could see the rocks and kelp ahead of me. Not wanting to leave my buddy lost in the soup, I turned around and once more ventured into the cloud. Along the way I noticed that there were an abundance of sea stars piling up on the sea floor. Several of them were arching up in a strange position for a sea star and others were just piled one on top of another. Many of the sea stars had a weird white film oozing from their skin. Innocently, my first thought was that it was some sort of strange bacteria, and snapped a quick picture.

I found Carolyn and we enjoyed the rest of our dive in decent, but not great visibility. It wasn’t until we were back on board that the mystery was solved. “Do you know what I think that was?!” exclaimed Carolyn… “A sea star orgy!” So that’s it. We swam right into a large cloud of sea star eggs, as they piled up and mated, and I watched that white film ooze out of the male sea stars (i now know…) not bacteria. That was sperm. They were doing a mating dance releasing all their goodies and making new baby sea stars and we dropped right into it. Talk about walking in at the wrong time! Well, needless to say I thoroughly rinsed all my gear that day, but all in all having seen the way they mate first hand was pretty cool. Now I just wish I had a better photo! Enjoy the sperm. I’ll get my latest adventures up here soon, I promise!

Beware the Blob.

Now that the Halloween season is upon us*, I figured I’d share some horrifying pictures of a deep sea terror often found lurking in the shadows… or maybe just strewn across the sand and rocks?

Beware… the Sea Cucumber!!!

*It’s officially now October and I purchased a pumpkin spice candle. I’ve decided that the Halloween season is in fact upon us. And my candle smells amazing.