6/23/2012 - Westside Variety Show
We had a little of everything on the west side of Palos Verdes this morning. Four foot swells with an eight second interval in addition to wakes from passing boats made for a rough surface, while currents made the diving interesting.
Our first dive was on the bow of the Avalon wreck and nearby rocks. The thermocline was at thirteen feet, dropping the relatively warm surface water to a chilly 51° below. Visibility was twelve feet.
The salps in mid-water were pretty beaten up, so Merry joined Kevin and me on the bottom for a change. We found a few living salps among the rocks and kelp on the reef. Several one inch long Pyrosoma atlanticum floated about as well as a few larger ones.
The tall reefs here are separated by narrow sand channels. This makes it easy to explore the walls and find your way back to the anchor. Sponges, rockfish, tunicates and cup corals dominate the walls.
While I was cruising a wall, Merry found a flatworm we had never seen, Stylochus insolitus. She took a few shots, then shared it with Kevin. He had seen a couple of them before but knew how unusual it was to find one. I finally moseyed over and motioned to Kevin that I was going up soon and that it would be very kind oh him to allow me to get a shot of the little guy. I slid into Kevin's slot and tried to get a shot but my strobes were in a bad position. I backed away slightly to adjust them just as a Ronquil rushed in and treated the flatworm like a Big Gulp. It was gone in a flash.
We ascended together in a slight current and headed for the Redondo Barge for our next dive.
We arrived to find a lot of plastic bags, kelp detritus and a full five gallon gas can from a small boat floating on the surface. I gave the gas can to Jeff Conner when we returned to the marina.
The thermocline over the barge was deeper, sixteen feet. The cold water on the barge must have come up from Redondo Canyon as we had a good twenty feet of visibility or more.
Several lingcod guarded the barge from the sand below while we explored the sides and upper surface of the pile of rust. I found a swimming file clam, Limaria hemphilli and pointed it out to Kevin. He later returned the favor by showing me a pair of Aeolidiella oliviae. I also spotted two new octopus nests. We'll try to keep a close watch on them and maybe witness some hatching this time.
I ascended first so I could hog the hot water shower. The surface had become a bit rougher and the boat was rocking about as much as a catamaran can. Merry surfaced and reported that she and Kevin were like flags on the upline after another current came through.
We quickly pulled anchor and headed for Dodge.
I'm sure the flat sea that I remember will return...some day.
I haven't seen this worm before. Perhaps Leslie Harris will chime in.