Cold Day In July

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on July 15, 2019 at 08:55:26:

We've been out of the water too long. Swells, wind, fog and a never-ending plankton bloom have kept us land-locked for two months. Jim Lyle reported improved visibility off Redondo Beach, so Merry and I snuck out for some early morning diving to beat the wind. We got lucky.

The water was flat and calm as we motored around the Palos Verdes Peninsula toward our new favorite site, Biodome. We were disappointed by the lack of kelp on the surface. It was thick and healthy during our last few dives here. The 68 surface temperature probably had more than a little something to do with that. Merry said the water felt very warm when we jumped in. That feeling didn't last.

At twenty feet, we hit a thermocline that dropped the temperature fourteen degrees to 54, normal for summer in Palos Verdes. Merry said she got an ice cream headache immediately. The water was still green, but visibility opened to about eighteen feet on the reef. The marine life seemed to enjoy the chill, as there were still plenty of nudibranchs, fish and egg coils covering the reef. We each tried to photograph the rockpool blenny but he was having nothing to do with the bipeds and their bright lights.

We chased another fishing boat out of the MPA before heading back around to Golf Ball Reef. The surface was even greener there, but visibility was a bit better on the bottom. Juvenile calico rockfish and the usual assortment of nudibranchs were everywhere. I looked for Thordisa rubescen but found none until I made my way back to the anchor. There were two on a small rock just a few feet away. Merry saw a good size halibut and a school of barracuda.

Swell models are looking better for next week. If the cold water on the bottom will replace the warm, green surface water maybe things will return to normal soon.

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