Underwater critters at Emerald Bay

I did two dives yesterday, and there were some fun animals to run across. The water has been quite calm here in the lee of Catalina (wind is light from the south-west, the island is therefore a great wind block), and the water is mostly clear; it’s fun to get up in the morning and watch the fishes go about their morning ablutions followed up by breakfast.

Late last night the sailboat Serenity, anchored in Emerald Bay, reported a flare sighting out over the ocean to the USCG. Turns out the Coast Guard was already flying a search on our side of the island and the orange helicopter flew by while the pilot talked with Serenity about the flare, direction, height, color – and then headed off in the direction of the sighting. LA Baywatch also had a boat out, they were asked to run out two miles on that heading to see if anything could be found. Haven’t heard any reports today on the radio about last night’s activity, it was interesting to listen in on how the helicopter pilots communicate with their base, the boat, and the Baywatch counterparts. I looked a bit this morning and found that USCG has two helicopters based at Los Angeles International Airport – makes sense to keep their machines there given all the infrastructure available – such as landing pads.

Keith stopped by yesterday afternoon to discuss engine belts, he had found one at Isthmus but it was too narrow and too long – so no go. I have internet here on R16 mooring that he doesn’t have on the inner row – we must be just far enough out to see the antenna in Isthmus. So he came over and we researched belts, then telephoned a couple of car parts stores in Long Beach – the belt he needs is in Phoenix, not here. Rats! He said I could catch a ride with him to the ferry landing (and general store) when he goes in today. Hopefully we can have sundowners with them this evening.

Below are some pictures of fun critters seen yesterday.

Can you spot the fish?
He’s here. Amazing camoflauge for a small flat fish. It’s most interesting that he’s holding/standing on the bottom with the rays of his fins.
There are Pyrosomes all over the place, and the Garibaldi fish munch away on them – leaving small circular holes in the tunicate’s test.
A Pyrosome is difficult to take a picture of as they are so translucent the camera isn’t able to determine focus. Turns out if you pick one up and set it up backlit in the water column you can get a photo of one. They are rather pretty from this direction.
Came across an extra-colorful spiny fish hiding on a rocky ledge – he tried his best to blend in and refused to budge. When I got too close he raised his dorsal fin to expose the spines. My guess is the spines are hollow and contain a poison that would be uncomfortable to whatever wants to eat it (or step on it).
An interesting tube worm case poking up from the sea floor. Visibility was fairly good during the dives, though not as crystal-clear as it was in November.
A tube worm with all his tubes out – at least that’s what I think this is. Could be a sea anenome but those usually have flexible tubes, this one seemed to be in a fixed case.

This interesting fish likes to hide in the seaweed with his head pointed down, and would twists and move his body and tail to follow the swaying of his surroundings as they moved with the water.
If you wait long enough he will shift from place to place, and then you can easily spot the fish. Might be some kind of kelp wrasse, something to go look up!

Enjoy the day!

– rob

3 responses to “Underwater critters at Emerald Bay

  1. Rock Island Email

    Great pictures. Usually I could not find the fish until you pointed it out.


    Sent from my iPad


  2. You are finding fish with no names.  Have fun detetmining what  they are.  Little flat fish is nicely camoflauged.Opened sliding window near wifi unit at 7.15.  Vespids all hanging from new nest were soaked with Raid. Some fell to the deck with a satisfying splat.  Nest has a row or 2 of bluging cells.  May be the initial hatch.  Will check after the day warms and spray.Must tell you you painting work is holding up beautifully ;  you painted the inside trim too.  Great job.May have spotted a young deer.  Could be a couple of months old.  Hope for another sighting at some point.Enjoy Emerald and its faunaMomSent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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