12/6/2009 - Surge, Sand And A Surprise At Marineland
Our boat dives were cancelled this morning so we headed over to Marineland. We planned to dive from a boat, so we didn't bring the wagon. We met Rick and Susie Coleman in the parking lot, and Rick was kind enough to carry Merry's weightbelt down to the cove. Huge thanks to Rick.
The entry was a bit dicey with the incoming tide. Merry told Rick it was right at her comfort limit for Marineland. Rather than our usual walk-in, we got to knee deep water and jumped in.
The swim out over the sand was choppy, so we dropped earlier than we normally would. I found a tiny nudibranch right away, a Flabellina pricei rolling in the surge. It was only about 1/8 inch long.
Merry found a mantis den that had iridescent blue strings with bulbs at the ends hanging from the walls. They weren't eggs, but we haven't learned what they were.
While I had the macro lens on the camera a four foot long Giant sea bass cruised within less than an arm's length from my face. I got Merry's attention so she could enjoy her first GSB sighting at Marineland, but I couldn't change lenses fast enough to get a photo.
Among the detritus kelp was a fat pipefish. He didn't seem to mind my intrusion.
The tide pushed us gently toward shore, so we fed Abby when we made it back to the reef, then made an uneventful exit right at Jeff's Rock. Merry says we escaped death once again.