Microscopic diving

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on October 12, 2014 at 16:19:13:

We finally found some good conditions this weekend. Visibility at Golf Ball Reef was as good or better than I've ever seen. Of course, we wasted that vis by hanging out in a single stalk of kelp photographing the smallest animals we could find.

There were other divers gearing up as we arrived on site. Merry left a marker next to some kelp a few days before. She found some tiny nudibranchs up in the kelp and wanted Kevin Lee to get some shots of them. Divers from the other boat swam by and must have thought it looked pretty strange to see three divers poking cameras into the kelp twenty feet off the bottom. They probably also noticed the lack of lobsters, fish and any rock larger than a basketball and wondered why anyone would want to dive there.

Merry's discovery paid off. None of us had a good photo of Eubranchus rustyus from Southern California. The kelp was loaded with them. There were hundreds if not thousands of the tiny white dots crawling around on the fronds. We also found several Doto amyra laying eggs. Neither Merry nor I had found them before.

The highlight of the dives was finding a species I didn't recognize. I looked in Dave Behrens' books and several websites when I got home. No luck. I emailed him and was surprised to find that it may be a newly discovered nudibranch. Merry and I went back today and found a few more but they are too small to get a decent image. We will probably have to collect a sample for the experts if no one can identify it from our grainy photos.

 photo Unknown-nudi-web_zps0f983a5a.jpg
Mystery nudibranch. It's like a Flabellina trilineata with short, round cerata.

Eubranchus rustyus photo Eubranchus-rustyus1web_zpsb108b93d.jpg
Eubranchus rustyus

 photo Doto-amyra-4_zpsc5c148cc.jpg

 photo Doto-amyra-3_zpsc6e208c5.jpg

 photo Doto-amyra-5_zps901c4c87.jpg

 photo Doto-amyra_zps44df3001.jpg
Doto amyra

 photo Crab3_zpsad98121b.jpg

 photo Crab1_zpsd2f4fd0b.jpg
I spent just enough time on the bottom to find this little hermit crab.

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