Monday, March 10, 2008

Diving on the Bottom Scratcher

I got to go diving last week, only the second time since Maui. The local dive shop (Scuba Center Temecula) chartered the Bottom Scratcher out of Long Beach. The BS is one of our local favorite. The Captain, Greg, is a grizzled old coot with the pleasant habit of encouraging the divers to start their first dive by playing "Danny Boy" on his bagpipes. It sounds a bit like a funeral dirge, not exactly the way to start the day.

On the first dive, I found a new creature, the Mantis Shrimp. People say that this large shrimp has claws so strong and sharp that they can cut off a finger or shatter your camera lens.

I also spotted a Pacific Angel Shark hiding under the sand. Our presence disturbed him a little, so he shook off the sand and swam further into the kelp.

On the next dive, I found three Horn Sharks hidden in rocky crevices all within about twelve feet of each other. The first two were larger (up to 3 feet) and darker in color. The last one was young and spotted. This is the second one. Isn't he cute!

The Brittle Starfish all had one or two arms below the sand and their remaining arms sticking into the air to catch dinner.

Of course there were a few nudibranches. This one is called a Peltodoris mullineri.

We also found quite a few endangered Abalone. One of them was as big as two spread hands.

Thanks are due to everybody who put up with me for the first few dives. I was a little under the weather until a couple of Excedrin and a glass of water perked me up. I claim it was a mild case of sea sickness, but it might have been those beers and tequila with Tex and the guys in Long Beach the night before. Might have been, but probably not. :)

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