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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