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There be kelp here!


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Posted by Max Bottomtime on December 07, 2014 at 18:09:38:

Hawthorne Reef is a rocky reef offshore from Pt. Vicente filled with marine life. Fish, sponges, nudibranchs, gorgonians and many other animals abound. The only negative to Hawthorne Reef is boat traffic. When I dive here I usually stay within sight of the anchor. Making a surface swim at Hawthorne Reef could be quite hazardous. I've always felt that the one factor that would make it the perfect dive site would be kelp. Well, sometimes you get your wish.

The reef is now covered with tall, healthy kelp that reaches the surface. The visibility was good enough to see the boat from thirty feet, which allowed us to ascend in the kelp. There were a few tiny nudibranchs, flatworms and skeleton shrimp on the fronds to keep us busy.

The reef itself was devoid of the nudibranchs I'm used to seeing here. Maybe it's the time of year, but they seem to be in dwindling numbers everywhere. The fish, however were more than willing to pose for us.

 photo HawthorneReef1_zps02457a5d.jpg
Remnants of an old fishing net are still found here.

 photo HawthorneReef3_zps16d5a7fd.jpg

 photo HawthorneReef5_zpscdd7ce16.jpg

 photo HawthorneReef2_zpse9c64276.jpg
Juvenile Blacksmiths

 photo HawthorneReef4_zps3ec31297.jpg
Olive rockfish

 photo HawthorneReef6_zps480cb836.jpg
Halfmoon

 photo HawthorneReef7_zps44a73abd.jpg
Sand bass

 photo HawthorneReef9_zps04fcc7cc.jpg
Treefish

 photo HawthorneReef10_zpsa556721a.jpg

 photo HawthorneReef11_zpsb0757bbc.jpg
Rainbow seaperch

 photo HawthorneReef12_zps6bc98752.jpg
Some kelp trying to reach the surface the wrong way

 photo HawthorneReef8_zps7ee1e2ce.jpg
Felimida macfarlandi

We motored to Golf Ball Reef in search of sand critters. Visibility was down considerably from yesterday but we were able to find sand. Lots of sand.

 photo GBR2_zpsa1cf5c21.jpg
Serpent star

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Windmill worm

 photo GBR4_zps8161482f.jpg
Hermet crab

 photo GBR5_zps800e0a25.jpg
One spot fringehead

 photo GBR1_zps01a2dd44.jpg
Tiny red octopus



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