Archive for November, 2013

Drysuit Repair Tips and Tricks

I don’t think I mentioned this in my write-up about my last dive, but while getting out after my first dive my foot started getting wet. On the second dive, this translated into a fully-flooded leg, to the point where my undergarment was saturated. Luckily I’m having some minor trim issues, otherwise the water may have spread to my core, hah!

Shining a light inside the drysuit to find a leak

Shining a light inside the drysuit to find a leak

I suspect that I nicked my ankle on a barnacle on the exit, which caused the leak. I’m somewhat rough on my drysuit feet and have patched multiple leaks and dealt with other drysuit issues over the years. Here are some notes/tips/tricks/ideas on repairing drysuits, the easy way!

I’ll tweak and update this post as time goes on, perhaps to improve presentation, and to continue putting new tricks as I learn more. At this point, I wrote this late and night and haven’t proof-read it yet, so I apologize if anything doesn’t make sense. As I find time I’ll proof-read and add some photos. I just wanted to hammer a quick post out while I was thinking of it.

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Crimson Anemone

A Crimson Anemone. Note the translucent tentacles with green tips.

30-Nov-13: I’ve improved upon the colours in some of these photos after messing around with the RAW files, and added some new ones. More info below.*

Armed with brand new batteries in my strobe, we hooked up to Furry Creek for a couple of dives. I haven’t dove Furry Creek in over a year, but it was nice to get back to one of my local favourite spots. Thankfully, we were treated with perfect surface conditions, a high slack tide and amazing visibility (for Vancouver, at least).

Having proper batteries in my strobe helped a lot, and I took a lot of photos, many of which were interesting subjects and some that turned out very nicely. Of particular treat was a juvenile GPO which I spotted popping it’s head out from it’s den. Even tucked away in his den, it made an amazing photo subject that was slowly started inching out towards us. A special thanks goes to my dive buddies, putting up with me obsessing over getting photos of this guy!


A little octopus.

Other treats were some really interesting Crimson Anemones, with a light pinkish hue and green-tipped tentacles. I got in close for a couple photos, which turned out amazingly well – A lot of details on these anemones.

In the rocky area in the cove were plenty of large sculpins, including a Buffalo Sculpin guarding an egg mass. I struggle at identifying sculpins, as they all look the same to me, but I took a shot at trying to identify some of the different ones I saw.

Interestingly, there were a couple of piles of starfish goo. I also found a few starfish arms scattered around, but I’m unsure if they were related to the starfish wasting syndrome, or a starfish that fell victim to another animal.

Red Irish Lord and Egg Mass

Red Irish Lord guarding an egg mass.

I think I’ve set a record for myself, with 37 photos I considered bloggable. Although many of the photos aren’t the best in terms of focus, composition, exposure, etc, I thought they all showed interesting subjects that I wanted to remember down the road.

*30-Nov-13: After messing around with RAW files in Darktable for the past little while, I’ve come to thoroughly appreciate the in-camera JPEG processing that my camera does. For the most part, I’ve been having trouble getting the RAW photos looking as nice as the JPEGs, especially with the rich reds that Canon cameras add — Very noticeable with the dull colours and lack of contras. 

I’m sure there’s a way to replicate the in-camera processing in Darktable, but I haven’t cracked that nut yet. For the most part, I’ve decided to switch back to just touching up the JPEGs for most of my photos, unless they need more correction than the JPEG files will allows. Interestingly, JPEGs allow a lot of flexibility for decently exposed shots.  I’ve gone ahead and tweaked the JPEGs from this dive, and replaced some of the more interesting pictures I’d previously posted. 

Without further adoo, the rest of the photos are below.



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A Good Dive at Whytecliff

Hairy Spined Crab

A Hairy Spined Crab hiding in a Glass Sponge

Only an entire 5 days after the dive, I’ve managed to finally get these photos proccessed and uploaded!

We hopped into the Cut at Whytecliff, to enjoy a nice long dive looking at glass sponges before heading back in towards the bay, in the hopes of finding an octopus. Sadly no such luck finding an octo, but a good dive nonetheless. We made it around through to the giant underwater “ridge” in the bay towards the islet, which was a nice treat. I haven’t dove on that feature in quite a while. I had a bit of trepidation after not finding the leak that caused a fairly large flood in my drysuit last week, but I stayed dry this time. It was probably something stuck in my dump valve, which I’d flushed out with water.

Glass sponges are interesting to see, since not only are they an intricately shaped themselves, they harbour a lot of different critters, especially many, many different types of crab and shrimp. This dive did not disappoint in that respect, and we found several Hairy Spined Crabs, Squat Lobsters and Hermits hiding around the sponges. I even found a Butterfly crab, which was an nice treat although not in or near any sponges. I’ve got some interesting photos of things hiding in sponges below.

Giant Nudibranch

A Giant Nudibranch, illuminated with my canister light.

Heading back into the bay, my strobe began to act up, again. I’ve been putting off getting new batteries for far too long and finally paid for it — My strobe died, and I was greeted by many various nudibranchs, including Giant Nudibranchs, and my favourite local fish, a Grunt Sculpin posing nicely. I tried illuminating with my can light, and got some okay pictures out of it. Long story short, I bought some new batteries this week. I don’t want to get caught without a strobe on a good dive, for the nth time.

The cool thing about the Giant Nudibranchs was the variation in the colour/highlights on them. Seeing many in a small area really allowed for a nice comparison. Also spotted was what appeared to be some sort of Nudibranch egg ribbon.


Some sort of Sea Cucumber?

An interesting, unidentified, critter we found is the one on the left. The best suggestion so far is that it’s a Red Sea Cucumber, which tends to hide within crevices and feed with it’s arms/frills. The interesting thing is that Red Sea Cucumbers are typically VERY red, whereas this critter has a white body with orange “frills”. I’m not sure if there is that much colour variation within the species, or if this is a related species of cucumber. If anyone has an answer, let me know!

I think I’m getting the hang of using Darktable for photo editing, this batch turned out much nicer than the previous ones. I think I’ll have to go back and try to fix up some of the old photos as well.

More photos below:

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