Posted by Max Bottomtime on September 27, 2008 at 19:31:20:|
After a month of working overtime and sucky conditions I finally made my 300th Marineland dive today. It also coincided with Merry's 200th overall dive. We couldn't have asked for better conditions. It was the best we've seen this year.
We arrived in the parking lot (after I got off work) just as Melvin Pasley, Jeff Conner, Ken Kopp and Claudette Dorsey were packing up. Ken and Claudette told us it was thirty feet vis yesterday, but it was still nice at fifteen feet today.
We strolled into Lake Pacific and headed toward the Point. As much as I love the thick growth of kelp at Marineland this year, it made for a somewhat difficult surface swim. We dropped down and meandered to the pinnacles, where we were treated to more Sheephead than I've ever seen here. Maybe the kelp is so thick because the Sheepheads are controlling the urchin population. Nudibranchs were out and about as were snails, shrimp and the largest Sunflower star I've seen. I handed Merry a shell that was full of silt. She opened it to find an unidentified nudibranch inside. We were so excited until I downloaded my pictures to find a Hermissenda with a silt suit on.
The water was 56F as it has been for most of the year. If the kelp is not destroyed by winter storms we can expect a nursery of fish next spring.
It took me a long time to reach 300 dives here. I began free diving shortly after Marineland closed in 1987 and took up scuba in 1989. If the conditions are better in the next few years, and I get a boat, I hope the next 300 won't take as long. Of Merry's 200 dives, 55 are at Marineland. Her Marineland ratio is well ahead of mine. :)