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When it rains, it pours mola molas.


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Posted by Merry on December 05, 2011 at 10:21:06:

Any sighting of these unearthly looking fish is a rare treat, but to find mola mola cleaning stations on 3 consecutive dives is remarkable. Within a week, we saw them on the Redondo Barge, the PV Underwater Arch, and the crane off Haggerty's. Could this be an annual occurrence?

At Haggerty's Crane yesterday, I counted 6 mola molas of approximately 16 inches. They were much less skittish than the others previously encountered.

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On Sat., we encountered almost every sea state we could imagine, from getting trounced on the way to the fuel dock to flat calm later in the day at the Underwater Arch.

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The surface vis was miraculous at the Underwater Arch - from deck, we could see the scales on schooling fish and it was darn nice at depth. There was certainly no shortage of widely different photo subjects. After a nice 1 1/2 hour dive, I saw several mola molas being cleaned by half-moons right behind the boat.

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Another surprise was this adult giant kelpfish, Heterostichus rostratus.

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Before we dropped Phil found a 2-inch comb jelly, Beroe forskalli, at the surface. I chased after this nimble, predatory, spiral-swimming little thing, mesmerized by its shimmering comb rows.

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The wide end is the mouth, which contains macrocilia used to chomp on or engulf other jellies. Some can be seen in this photo.

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Besides Chromodoris macfarlandi and Berthella californica, the Arch holds Phil's coveted nudi, Dendrodoris behrensi.

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Many different species of sponge and tunicate can be found at the Arch. We need to showcase more representatives from there.

Gray tunicate.

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Gray puffball sponge

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