Archive for January, 2012

Whytecliff, January ’12

Decorator Crab

A decorator crab on a sponge.

After a crazy week of Vancouver snow and freezing rain, I skipped on over to Whytecliff park for a couple of dives. Luckily it had warmed up to above zero, and the snow had been washed away by all the rain. Unfortunately, the rain appeared to have washed the snow straight into the ocean, causing some pretty bad viz (10-20 feet.. Bad for winter, good for summer!) and cold temperatures on the dive.

At Whytecliff itself, there were some swells making entry and surface swimming a lot more fun. The tide was high, so we didn’t have to scramble over too many big rocks to get in. Instead of surface swimming around towards the day marker, we elected to descend early and go through the bay underwater to avoid some of the swell.

Sunstar Arm

If you've ever wondered what the tube-feet on one of a Sunstar's many arms look like, this is it.

Underwater I didn’t feel it was my best photography day, as I didn’t find too many critters posing nicely (though I found quite a few who flat out refused to co-operate). I spent a large portion of the dives fiddling with my buoyancy and trying to stay still in the frigid waters. (The coldest my computer read was 43 F, but it has an averaging algorithm that I think misses some of the more brutal thermoclines).

At some points on the northern part of the bay, you could see where the fresh water runoff was mixing with the salt water. Always a trippy effect that makes it hard to see, as everything turns blurry.

Even though the sun wasn’t out, it was fairly bright at around 20ft, so I attempted to take some shots without the flash in the shallows. It was a bit awkward, as making the shutter speed any less than 1/60s introduced too much motion blur, while pumping the ISO up to 400 introduced too much noise in the camera. Fiddling with the RAW files made things look  more interesting. Unfortunately, the poor vis made it hard to take any decent shots. It did make me wish I had a wide angle lens for this camera, however…..

Below are some of the photos:

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A Winter Day’s Dive at Porteau Cove

Red Dendronotid

a rather large Red Dendronotid


A Black-eyed Hermit Crab

After scraping the ice and snow off of my Jeep this morning, I made my way down to Porteau Cove with one of my dive buddies. It was a nice day hovering around zero, with a light dusting of ice and snow on the ground. Perfect for drysuit diving in cold water!

I’m pretty sure my computer measured the water at the surface at about 39 degrees F, but thankfully at depth it warmed up to about 44 degrees F. We managed two good dives, about an hour long each. My new Santi hood managed to keep me much warmer than my old hood did, so I didn’t get too chilled. For the second dive I did have to throw on an extra 4 lbs of weight so that I could inflate my drysuit some more…

I managed to get some nice pictures on this dive that I’m happy with. Without further addoo, here are the photos:

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Squat Lobster

This guy and several of his cohorts were hiding in a crack in the rocks. I think it's a Squat Lobster (aka "pinch bug")

A very small Anemone. There were plenty of these tiny guys on the wall.

In the fall, Paul introduced me to Furry Creek. Since then, I’ve been back a couple of times, and really enjoy it as a dive site. The wall has a nice amount of life (including a wolf eel!), plus in the shallows are some old bottles to dig through. This time around I found Pepsi-Cola bottle from the early 1950’s.

It was my first trip out with the camera in a while. The first dive I dove with the case empty, but satisfied when there were no leaks I took the camera with me on the second dive. I managed to get a few good photos, however right when I found a giant frosted Nudibranch that I really wanted a photo of, the strobe stopped syncing. I’ll need to adjust the fiber optic sync setup I’ve jury-rigged before my next dive.

Without further adoo, the photos are below.

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