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Friday, February 10, 2006 

Cruising at Cove Two

Harbor Seal - NOAA
Each week my dive club does a Thursday night dive at a couple of different locations. Makes a nice break and keeps our skills current. Diving is a sport best practiced often.

Last night's dive at Seacrest Cove 2 in West Seattle, was a bit different in terms of what we didn't see and then what we did.

I was asked to lead our trio of divers on a tour of the I-beams and maybe back over to the rope barrier to see if we could spot some Giant Pacific Octopus there. There was a lot of fresh water on the surface of the cove and the tide was extremely low, making getting in the dark water hazardous due to broken pilings and cement slabs that are easy to trip on. But we managed and swam out in the milky green water to the white buoy.

Descending, I lead the group over to the large 3" hawser line (that I and a group of friends installed a couple of years ago). This leads down to the old I-beams, part of an old dory launching rig from the marina that was there for many years. Over time, white plumose anemones, sponge, other invertebrates and fish have claimed it as a home. It makes a good training dive as depths at the outer end are around 106'.

But not last night. It was only 86', so we could enjoy a good long look around. But there wasn't much to see.


Fuzzy Mouse Nudibranch
Originally uploaded by Pixel Letch.
The two very pretty vermillion rockfish were cowering under a beam. No large Cabazon around, or Mossy-Headed Warbonnets that usually are tucked away there. I saw some eggs and one old, dead Fuzzy Mouse nudibranch.

Coming up a bit shallower, we swam over to the line to a group of old fish bins. Saw several ling cod egg masses, with no parent fish nearby. No octos. A silt cloud was present, but no lights indicating divers. Very strange.

Then a black shape went whizzing by over my shoulder. Can you jump under water? I did.

Cruising in and out of our lights were two large, spotted, harbor seals that were stirring up the bottom. These are fairly common place here and often become part of a dive "team". But these were quite large, looked like a mated pair, with the male around 8' long. It was like having a guided missile come blasting past your mask!

They chased fish to and fro, peering under the bins, and generally startled the heck out of us swimming out of the dark. But they were fun to watch and it always gets my heart thumping to be close to a big animal like them.

As I was doing my safety stop it occurred to me that these animals have been cleaning out the cove of fish, making everything hide, or risk becoming dinner!

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About Jack

  • Adventurer, diver, sailor, photographer, writer and sometimes graphic designer. Proprietor of Optical Ocean Sales, LLC. Enjoy the blog, check back and please leave comments!
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