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Howland's Reef - Catalina Island


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Posted by Merry on June 04, 2011 at 20:57:37:

After waiting out the wind for 4 weeks, Phil and I set out around P.V. this morning only to encounter confused seas and closely-spaced swells. Dark green water or hopelessly murky water, chop, and wind forced us to try Catalina.

Phil wanted to visit a spot just west of Big Geiger Cove that he hadn't dove in ~ 15 years. Howland's Reef is a small wall dive about 30' at the top and 61' at the bottom. Twenty feet of milky vis kept us close to the anchor, and I'm sorry to say that we didn't explore the site to its full potential.

A few interesting things:

Cone snails were abundant, and this one is carrying a colony of encrusting bryozoans that are actively filter-feeding. Each tiny individual has extended its hollow, ciliated tentacles or "lophophores". These direct protozoans, bacteria, and organic matter to the mouth.


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Phil spotted two Mexichromis porterae in some sort of twisted gymnastics. After downloading the photo, we discovered that they were mating. Tidbit: Nudibranchs are actually hermaphroditic; they have both male and female reproductive organs, and the openings are on their right-hand side.

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Peltodoris nobilis (sea lemon) typically lays its large, flowing egg masses in a coil. See insert. But this lemon was trailing a thin, foot-long ribbon, nicely stretched to show the eggs. I wish we could have stayed to watch what it did next!

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