Our first dive was on a site formerly called "Training Bay". It had been re-named Expedition Bay. Captain Josh explained that even though it was a great dive site, people were often put off by the word "training". Its name came from the fact that it was a training site for commercial divers in the area. There were many things sunk in the bay for training platforms: several barges, boats and even a crane. It provided ample habitat for a large number of critters. When we descended, we came face to face with a barge that was home to baby rockfish as well as decorated warbonnets! Not a bad start. There were lots of urchins too.
From there, we headed over eel-grass beds full of more baby rockfish and a large number of red flabelina, clown and opalescent nudibranchs.
The sandy bottom and eel-grass gave way to a sloping rubble rock wall with lots of nooks and crannies. Another dive team found a very large puget sound king crab. Heather's big find was a huge grunt sculpin trying its best to hide.
We came across a medium size sunflower star, and another that looked to me to be completely disintegrated by the wasting disease.
I submitted the find to the Vancouver Aquarium Sea Star Wasting page. Jessica at the Aquarium reported to me that they were partnering with The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) which also collected sea star observations and had a much larger database. The new website was www.seastarwasting.org, or you could access the observation log directly at http://gordon.science.oregonstate.edu/sea_star_wasting/observation_log/new.
During the dive, we were mobbed by kelp greenlings. The commercial divers must have been feeding urchins to them, and they would come right up to you expecting a handout.
There were many lampshells, swimming scallops and we ended the dive in a kelp forest hanging off the wall. The current was moving along quite well, and it was a great drift dive.
And a lovely variable nudibranch too.
All in all, another great day diving! As a final bonus, on the way back we encountered 3 humpback whales breaching the surface, as well as diving. They dove several times, giving an added treat of a full on tail up in the air. Amazing!
And finally, a bit of video.