Monday, July 23, 2007

An Amazing Weekend of Diving!!!

Really, just 6 pictures Bev? Bubbles and Greg came along on my Sunday afternoon dive, it was the first outing for Bev's new underwater camera. I kept wondering while we were down there, I'd point things out to her, and she would look at it like, yeah - very cool, but she wouldn't take any pictures. At this point I was wondering if she bought the camera because it matched her swimsuit, or she thought it would look like accessorized jewelry. I'm sure she'll get into the picture taking pretty quick, once she learns what the various settings are for. She claimed she was distracted and that's why she wasn't taking many pictures. It has me wondering what could have possibly been so distracting down there. Seriously, I am looking forward to her getting into underwater photography and then posting her pics, I'm sure she'll find many things that I miss and simply can't see. I think I take 6 pictures as I jump off the rock before I even hit the water though. I've had a few people ask how I get such amazing shots of things. The answer is simple really, I take hundreds of shots, and I'm not exaggerating. Over the weekend I took over 900 pictures. Thank god for the digital age! I figure if you take enough shots, some of them are going to have to turn out. You don't see all the ones that don't turn out, they just get deleted.

Thanks to Bob Abela from Guam, I now know the name of the soft coral in the first picture, it is Minabea aldersladei. He looked it up in "Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific" by Gosliner, Behrens & Williams, he highly recommends the book. If Bob recommends it, it's probably a must have for your marine library. Thanks Bob, always appreciate your help with ID's.

This was the first of these types of clams I can recall seeing around here. It had been eaten, but was laying there intact, and yes, it is still in the same spot. Very interesting looking shell though. It must have been the day for bi-valve shells, because right after I saw that one I saw another one, this one live that I have never seen before. This one was pretty big, about 8" across. I think I've seen pieces of these, but this is definitely the first one I've ever seen live. Sometimes you just have to swim about a foot above the bottom so you can see everything that is tucked away under ledges or in holes. When you're swimming 10-20' above everything, you miss probably 95% of the things there are to see. I noticed that quite a few of these coral heads outside the Grotto are being killed off. Their natural color is the brownish shade under the end pieces. When it turns snow white, it means that it is dead, and we have far too many snow white coral heads these days. I thought this made for a cool shot with the sky and open ocean in the background and that little fish tucked into the coral head. And yes, these guys were out in force for the second day in a row. This is the Halgerda guahan, named for the island of Guam, where it was originally discovered. They seem to be mainly in the Mariana islands chain. After watching them for quite a while, I saw one that sat in the same spot for about 10 minutes, then when it moved, it left behind an egg ribbon. That was very cool to see, as there is just not a whole lot known about this particular species of nudibranch. There are literally thousands of eggs in that ribbon. How often do these nudibranchs mate, and do they all do it at the same time as it appeared over the weekend? It will be interesting to keep an eye on that egg ribbon and see how long it takes before they start hatching, since I know the exact date it was laid. And believe it or not, but there was still more on this dive. I got to watch an octopus jumping from one hole to the next over and over, and got some amazing pictures of him as well. But that's going to have to wait for tomorrows blog.


Anonymous said...

Harry, enjoying your blog. Hey, your unknown critter is a soft coral, Minabea aldersladei. They're not too uncommon in caves and the Grotto is a perfect habitat for them. Got the ID from "Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific" (Gosliner, Behrens & Williams)...highly recommended. Cheers! Bob

Unknown said...

Nice finds, Harry! Thank you so much for sharing stories and it's nice to see Bob's comments as well. That first bivalve looks like a fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) which is really nice since I usually only see T. maxima . Do you have more pictures of this? The other one looks like a black lipped pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera). Man, I need to go diving!