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Me diving

Saturday, April 25, 2009

BAUE Project Fair

On Saturday, BAUE had a little get together at Point Lobos. We used the date to work on some of the skills for our annual projects. The day started out with an overview by Rob of the main dive sites in kicking distance at Lobos and the major landmarks. Then we split up into groups -- I was working on nudibranch survey, but there was also a group working on survey techniques, photo and video groups, and a group doing an orientation dive at Lobos. I made some neat little underwater nudibranch picture books for the new nudi-philes, which included tips for how to distinguish the similar-looking species. This was actually a pretty useful exercise, since a lot of the species I can distinguish myself, but have difficulty putting the difference into words for someone who can't (other than "they just look different"). It was also painful and reminded me that the guy who designed figure placement in Microsoft Word is a truly evil person.

Anyhoo, after a review of the transect areas, the survey protocol, and a discussion of the more common species that we see on the transects, we split into teams and headed into the water. I was diving with Nils, and Clinton was diving with Nathalie. John and Mike were planning to tag along, at least to start, to get some pictures. I was diving a single tank, which is the first time in forever I have done that other than for a night dive. It was wonderful. I'm a convert. For the first dive, we headed out to transects 1 and 2. Clinton and I counted, while our buddies identified (from the picture book) all of the slugs that we found. I pretty much saw the usual suspects, though there was a surprising lack of Cadlinas. There were lots of Tritonias (not just on the transects, but out and about on the reef) and several Berthellas, who were all very cleverly hiding their rhinophores from Nils. Once we finished the transects, we just took a leisurely swim back along the reef, pointing out any interesting nudis that we found. We saw a bunch of Limacias. We stopped by the wolf eels' den, but they were not in. Eventually I turned the dive on gas (Nils was packing doubles and a stage to make up for my single-tanked-ness). We headed back to the worm patch, and I quickly got to work looking for a trilineata -- I was hoping to find one to point out to Nils, and the worm patch seems to be the money spot for them. I found one, showed it to him, and then we headed up.

After lunch, the photo and video boys gave us some tips to look grood as photo/video models. Among the bits of advice were not to wear flaming bright drysuits (oops) and bright blue gloves (oops). For dive 2, we stuck with our original teams, but flipped who was counting. Nils looked for and identified the slugs, and I recorded them. Since we didn't get to stop and see the warbonnet on the first dive, I suggested we do transect 4. I knew I would regret that, since it is often comparatively devoid of slugs, and on the first dive I had notice that transect 5 was oozing slugs. And of course we saw very few slugs on that transect. But I did find the warbonnet. We planned to hop over to the east side of the reef after the counting was complete. On the way over, in the crack next to transect 4, I found another warbonnet. He was little, even by warbonnet standards. I am hopeful that I can find him again, assuming that is his permanent lair. On the east side of middle reef, we saw more of the usual suspects. I found a cute, muppet-like fish, which we think was a brown Irish lord. I eventually turned the dive on cold. We headed back to the worm patch, where I found another trilineata, and Nils found a Hermissenda and a Triopha catalinae. Then we headed up.

After that, we killed some more time at Lobos before heading to Siamese Bay for dinner. Yum yum.

All of the pictures from the day are here.

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