Nudibranch tagging at the Matterhorn

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on July 06, 2006 at 22:58:37:

I've been wondering about the lifespan of nudibranchs, so I went on a run today to tag several of the little guys. I usually make my offshore dives with Ross-O but he was busy taking Kevin Rottner to the UB88 today. I rented one of those little Harbor Cruise boats and took it to the Matterhorn, a pinnacle near Santa Barbara Island. It tops off at 130' and anchoring is tricky. After stuffing the anchor into a bunch of hydrocoral I headed down the slope.
At 300 feet I could still see the boat. I knew I couldn't stay long with only a single 72 so I whipped out my stapler and began tagging nudis. This one tried to get away.

After tagging about 200 nudis, I came to the conclusion that they only live about five minutes. I was getting low on air so I headed up. I read on the internet that air is not an efficient deco gas so I decided to skip my deco obligation. By the time I reached the top of the pinnacle I noticed that the boat had dragged anchor and drifted away. I have such rotten luck. This happens to me all the time. I reached the surface, inflated my OMS bungeed wing and ditched my gear so I could make the five mile swim to the boat.

OK, now for the real report. I had the best conditions I've seen all year at Marineland this afternoon. The water was flat, blue and clear. Visibility was in excess of twenty feet and it had warmed up to 62F. Merry and I found a few large Batrays, Halibut, a baby Sunflower star and several rockfish, including a mating pair of Black and Yellow Rockfish.

We walked right out of the water without incident and made it back to the parking lot before John locked the gate. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

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