Thursday, October 9, 2008

Decorated Warbonnets at Seacrest

Decorated Warbonnet-6
Originally uploaded by Pixel Letch.
We've been spotting these guys now again this summer. They are rare to see and very shy, usually hiding away deep in a nook or cranny. They seem to like the wood pilings at Seacrest Park, our local after work divesite here in Seattle and do tend to come out a bit at night.

A few weeks ago, while testing my drysuit (and without camera, of course) we found 5 of them on one log!
I had to go back with my camera and see if I could hunt them down. There is one very large Warbonnet, maybe 12-15' (and they are only supposed to get to 10") at the end of the log. I call him "Big Daddy". Then there are usually a few smaller ones around. I found Big Daddy ok, and he was playing his usual games of diving into the interior of the log. But as I was swimming away, I saw another freely swimming down the log. But quickly lost it (her?) in the growth. I swam around for a while hoping they'd poke out again and searching the log I found it amongst the tunicates, sponge and anemones.

Having a clear go, I cranked off a huge amount of shots, as the D80 and z240 strobes can shoot very quickly. Shot with/without my woody diopter and between f/14-f/16 at 100th sec.

I was quite pleased with the results and on the way back almost missed one of the largest octopus I've ever seen. Apparently there are 3 of them hanging around, keeping the crab population in check. Macro to wide angle; Seacrest is an amazing site.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ExperienceWA - Scuba Diving in Washington State

Sunset at Three Tree
Originally uploaded by Pixel Letch.
Last summer I was hired to write, photograph and organize the Scuba section of Washington State Tourism’s ExperienceWA website. I had previously licensed photos to them through their advertising agency EverybodyWeKnow, and they became aware of my writing the Optical Ocean blog. So it was a perfect fit!

The site is at ExperienceWA/Activities/ScubaDiving. I wrote and took photos for 15 shore diving sites as a start. They were selected for their accessibility and user-friendliness for visiting divers, as well as trying to cover a fairly broad area from South Puget Sound to the San Juans. I also tried to have a selection of sites that appealed to different interests and experience levels. Everyone has their favorite site, but not all of them are accessible easily, nor are they places for divers who are new to the area.

Site locations are described, as well as a dive briefing included, so that a diver can find important geographic features, as well as look for the usual marine animals inhabiting the sites. Hazards and conditions, and on many sites tidal conditions and weather, were discussed. Nearby facilities are also listed.

Obviously in the space available on a web page, the information is brief, and is not a substitute for divers researching and developing their own dive plans. But the website should prove to be a good place to plan a trip, or visit new locations within the state.

This is just a fraction of the diving available in Puget Sound, specifically boat dives are not covered, but it is a start, and divers should be able to make a few dives and explore more on their own.

We are now working on expanding the web area, possibly adding more sites, boat dives, linking from it to video, photos, marine animal information, safe diving practices, state, city and private facilities and other points of interest like Aquariums, charters and more.

This should prove of interest not only to divers, but also to the general public, so that everyone can learn more about the waters beneath Washington State.
I have many more photos available
ExperienceWA dive sites (and others)
Diving in Puget Sound