3/9/2009 - Dead Man's Reef 03/09/09
Date: 03/09/2009 09:19am
Dive Location: Laguna Beach, California
Dive Site: N. Crescent (Dead Man's Reef)
Water Temp: 54-55°f / 57°f surface (Suunto)
Max Depth: 67'
Bottom time: 54 min.
Planned to meet up with Ruth at N. Crescent at 8am this morning for a visit to Dead Man's. I received a text shortly after 6 from Ruth stating that it was dumping rain up North. I looked outside and despite being dark and gloomy - there was no rain - so we decided to chance it and hope the rain would miss Laguna.
After checking out conditions and chatting about the dive plan we finally got suited up (with only a few sprinkles from a very ominous looking set of clouds.) Surface conditions were decent. 1-2 footers with an occasional 3. As we kicked out the wind chop appeared to pick up, so it was a somewhat bumpy swim out. Ruth's only other visit to DMR was on the front side - so for this dive I was going to show her the deeper side of the reef, and hopefully a decent nudi turnout.
We descended into ~50' and worked our way down to deeper water. Viz was in the 15ish range to start - not bad but a little dark with the cloud cover. We had descended about 30 yards east of a small boat with divers - so I was hoping that would keep fishing boats of of the area. We started finding spanish shawls - but it appeared that the slug population was not yet back in full force.
Within a few minutes, I found a Noble Dorid (rhinophores down in a rock crevice) and showed it to Ruth. While searching for P. atra (black dorids) I came across a small Aegires. While Ruth was positioning for a shot (these guys are tiny!) I came across a small clown dorid.
Aegires albopunctatus (White-spotted Dorids - I know - the white spots are impossble to see!)
Triopha catalinae (Clown Dorid)
Next on the Nudi list was a beautiful Cuthona divae, which I later found out was a slug first for Ruth - awesome! I found another one of these guys a little later in the dive
Cuthona divae #2 (with eggs)
As we started to work our way up the reef Ruth found a large Moray. Atop the reef in about 25fsw she found another one that she was able to coax out of it's crevice for a bit (until I came over - convincing him that 2 divers was 1 too many.) Viz was definately pushing 20' atop the reef - and looked amazing with the sun finally out and shining down on the kelp.
We surfaced atop the reef after 54 minutes. The kick back in flew by as we discussed the critter finds and didn't have to battle the wind chop. We called it a day - but promised to visit Dead Man's again very soon! Great dive Ruth!
Sea Star Morning Stretch