Sunday, March 11, 2007

Junkyard Dogs

Red Flabellina
Originally uploaded by Pixel Letch.
Randy, Jim and I dove the wickedly tricky Alki Junkyard on a photo op yesterday around 4pm. The rain had let up and conditions were quite easy. Parking even became available as we pulled up.

An easy swim out to the white buoy with a blue stripe landed us in junkyard central. I have to say this is one of the best macro sites I've seen around here. It was loaded with small fish, anenomes and most of all - nudibranchs!

I quickly spotted Janolus fuscus, Flabellina trophina, and found a very cool Armina californica out on the sand. Or; a clear one with yellow dots, red with white dots and a striped nudibranch. The later is one I'd never seen before, mostly because it is a burrowing nudibranch that feeds on sea pens. Even stranger is that it has no external gills on its behind like most do.

Everything was pretty small though; many the size of a quarter or half dollar. I could of used a 100mm macro lens as opposed to my new 60mm I was trying out on the new D80/Fantasea rig.

The current picked up while we were out and shooting out on the flat became hard. Everything wanted to go into the current and I couldn't get ahead of it to get "face" shots. But there were a few piles of junk that you could hide behind, and I found some scaly-headed sculphins there, always a crowd pleaser with their green eyes.

We spotted lots of crabs and shell middens, but no octos, but they sure looked like they'd been around recently. Also spotted "dinner" several large male dungeness crabs up in the shallows.

We didn't go far up into the current, staying at 50' or so the entire dive as a result we had a long hour dive, Randy did 70 mins.

This is a great photo friendly site with easy access, no rocks to trip over and a wall to set your rig on after the dive.

Photos are here.