Posted by Max Bottomtime on August 25, 2007 at 18:12:42:|
Happy Birthday Margaret! We were also at Catalina for a Birthday dive vacation.
Merry's Birthday is the 22nd, so we took the week off and had a relaxing time in Avalon. We arrived Wednesday and spent the day eating Olaf's waffle cones and walking around town. Thursday and Friday were spent on the King Neptune in search of Giant Sea Bass. We were shut out on Day One, although most of the other divers saw some. We found gravel and sand. On Day Two our luck changed. Our first dive was at Italian Gardens where it is almost a guarantee to find them. We dropped below the thermocline and there they were. I spotted two in the kelp with a few more zipping by overhead. Dr. Bill told me it was two males chasing a female.
Our next dive was at the West End Quarry where we saw the largest Scythe Butterfly fish I have ever seen. It was about five inches long. It was the only one we saw, but Dr. Bill said he had at least ten in front of his face. Merry found a Hopkin's Rose nudibranch that measured less than 2mm. It looked like a pink dot on a kelp leaf.
While looking for more butteryfly fish I spotted two Rainbow scorpionfish, very rare in Southern California. They were within twenty feet of each other, so maybe they traveled here together.
As I dropped down for the sixth dive of the trip I saw slight movement in the sand. It was a baby Navanax polyalphos about 6mm long.
We came back on Saturday afternoon so we could relax, wash gear and get ready for some cold water diving again at Marineland tomorrow. The water temps in the shallows at Catalina were in the 70s.
Baby Navanax polyalphos
Baby Hopkin's Rose
Norris top snail
Ready for my close up, Mr. Norris
What's a Catalina dive without a Blue banded goby?
This one was shy
Dr. Bill video tapes his favorite dive buddy
GSB and diver
The birthday girls meets Mr. Black
Merry says goodbye to her new friend