The Good, The Bad and The Crumbling

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on December 06, 2014 at 17:22:39:

The Good:
After a week of rain I didn't expect to get in the water this weekend, let alone find good conditions. The swell models called for one day of relative calm before the sea picks up again tomorrow so I gave it a shot.

The sea was flat but green as I approached Golf Ball Reef. As I descended I found kelp everywhere. This was strange because I always anchor near the barrel in the sand. My anchor was five feet from the barrel but there is now kelp everywhere and it nearly reaches the surface. Not only that, but the visibility was probably the best I've seen this year. From the bottom at sixty-eight feet I could see my boat. It helped that there was no wind nor current and the boat remained over the barrel for the next hour.

I swam to the west side of the reef but despite the thirty feet of visibility I didn't find a lot of subjects. Kevin Lee wasn't on the boat today, so he missed finding three black sea hares laying eggs. I hope he's not kicking himself with his bad knee.

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Black sea hares are difficult to photograph. Their skin absorbs most of the light from strobes.

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I thought I found some interesting eggs in the kelp during my safety stop. Upon further review, they turned out to be fish vertebrae.

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The Bad:
I moved to the Landing Craft for my next dive. It's only about six hundred feet from GBR but visibility was only six feet here. I saw three Giant Sea Bass but could only get close enough for one mediocre photo. The nudibranchs, hydroids and tunicates that once covered the vertical walls of the LCM3 were nowhere to be found. Some of the old familiar fish faces were there but it seemed as if most of the life had moved on.

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The Crumbling:
Large portions of the Landing Craft have collapsed since my last visit. The corridor that once housed larger fish inside and had Garibaldi nests on the roof is now a convertible. Most of the roof is in shambles below. The tall gate at the open end of the boat is laying on the sand. It won't be long before the wreck is flattened.

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Gate as it was before falling to the sand

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Corynactis-covered roof is now on the floor in piles of rust.

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