|Diving in a Fish Bowl|
Posted by Merry on September 10, 2015 at 13:40:56:|
Occasionally, a dive will provide a rare and memorable encounter with marine life, but we hit the mother lode at the Hermosa Artificial Reef. We'd been hearing reports of a resident pair of giant sea bass at HAR since last January, but seriously doubted that it would pan out if we jumped that spot. Reluctantly, we gave it a shot last week, and the endeavor turned into 5 awesome dives over 3 days.
Our goal was to take ID shots for Dr. Milton Love's study of the giant sea bass population. Although GSBs can change color and pattern to some extent, each fish has a unique pattern of spots and/or silvery, brown, gray, or black coloration. I noticed that even their head shape can be different, along with body shape and girth. We're beginning to recognize individual fish, and I can't resist the urge to name them.
It's important to note that we did NOT chase the fish to get a shot, rather we waited for them to check us out. Spooking them isn't worth capturing an image. By the second day of diving, they had became somewhat accustomed to us, and allowed a careful, slow, unobtrusive approach. On the third day, I settled near a bowl of concrete pilings that had become one of their resting spots. Unexpectedly, 3 GSBs slowly surrounded me. They were truly within touching distance. Disbelievingly, I could only freeze and mutter OMG into my 2nd stage.
From Milton Love's book: GSBs are known to live 72-75 years, possibly longer. They mature at perhaps 13-15 yrs old (50 - 60 lbs) and we saw fish larger than that.
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