Marineland Explodes! With Dendronotus iris, that

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on April 22, 2006 at 16:22:09:

Date: April 22, 2006
Dive Location: Marineland
Buddy(ies): Evil Jeff Shaw
Time: 8:38
Bottom Time: 1:27
Max Depth: 60'
Vis: 10-25'
Wave height: 0-2'
Temp at depth: 50F
Comments: Jeff and I made an uneventful entry from the point and the vis looked great. We bobbed off into the blue. Suddenly, it turned to chocolate milk. The red tide is back. We decided to drop down and get under the muck. Most of my buddies have expressed an interest in night diving at Marineland. We did that today. It was so dark under the red tide that lights were required. We found a Dendronotus iris nudibranch soon after hitting the sand. That makes five dives in a row. I found another one, then two together then a few more, then six in an area less than a foot. I saw 21 altogether. That's right...21!!! They ranged from just over an inch to larger than my hand, and I have big hands.
I didn't see any Tritonia festivas, but I did find two snails that I can't remember the identification. I think Jim Lyle posted these a couple months ago. Jim? A little help here?
Jeff pointed out two Orange Puffball sponges with twin Swell shark eggs next to them. The marinelife is thriving here in the Spring.
As I headed east the light suddenly came on. I was out of the red ceiling and I could see white sand and rocks 25 feet away. Nudis were laying eggs on every structure. Two Cuthona divaes had a pile of eggs that was twice their size. I also found an Atagema alba nudi for only the third time. After nearly an hour and a half I surfaced to a flat, beautiful ocean. After washing gear and telling dive stories with the DiveVets a few of us headed back down to the beach for a little Earth Day beach cleanup. There was surprisingly little trash, although Drysuit Greg managed to bring back a dead animal that I can still smell.
If the red tide doesn't affect the conditions tomorrow, I may get my 200th Marineland dive. To be continued...

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