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Posted by Max Bottomtime on April 20, 2006 at 14:44:28:

Date: April 19, 2006
Dive Location: Marineland
Buddy(ies): Solo
Time: 2:38
Bottom Time: 1:16
Max Depth: 64'
Vis: 5-15'
Wave height: 2'
Temp at depth: 51F
Comments: I rushed over to Marineland after work yesterday in an attempt to get some better images of Dendronotus iris, the newest addition to the reef community here. I have seen them on four consecutive dives now, after not finding them on any of my previous 195 dives at Marineland. I've learned a trick to finding them. I look for their eggs attached to a tube anemone. If the eggs look fresh, the critter is usually not far away. It can most often be found climbing up another tuber. The one I found yesterday was only about 1 1/2" and it was eating a morsel of tentacles. I would have never seen it if I hadn't been looking for it. I watched it climb over the top and get pulled in when the anemone retracted its tentacles. Moments later it crawled back out with a belly full of stinging Happy Meals. My camera housing was fogged up, so I was only able to save a few of the dozens of pictures I took.
I then headed downslope in search of Tritonia festiva. I've also learned how to find these as well. They eat the polyps of red Gorginians. I only found one, but it was large enough to spot from fifteen feet away. Why is it that when I have a successful search, my camera messes up? I only managed one shot of the Tritonia.
The parking lot was going to close early today, so I planned to limit my dive to 45 minutes. I was having so much fun that I didn't look at my compuiter until over an hour into the dive. I made a bee line for the cove and headed across the sand. I found a Swell shark egg case, but not much else. The caretaker was waiting to lock the gate as I reached the top of the hill. We talked about Marineland and the plans for the resort as I packed my gear. He didn't mind that I was late, and I was happy to have a successful critter hunt.

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