Monday, May 28, 2012

Strange Sea Creatures

The underwater treasure hunt continues. I headed off to one of my favorite muck diving locals for what turned into a 2 hour marathon dive and came out with some pretty fun pictures. These tiny juvenile Hawaiian damselfish on the right proved to be a very tough photo subject. They would dart in and out of their coral apartment stopping for just the slightest moment. They will grow to be about the size of my hand but these two were still about thumbnail size.
   The octopus on the left could have engulfed my hand. I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye as this octo dipped into a little hole. I focus my camera on its eyes sticking out looking at me and I waited. Eventually the octopus emerged and darted off to another, deeper hole to hide in. I snapped a picture just as he emerged and with a super fast shutter speed the background behind him became black making a portrait-like effect.

As always when muck diving I had my eyes open for nudibranchs. This swallow tail slug on the left was cruising fast (for a slug) across the sand. About the size of my pinky it was the biggest swallow tail slug I have seen yet. The pinks and oranges of the much larger kangaroo nudibranch never cease to amaze me. Its plumes of gills frilling out from its back and two rhinophores near the head are always favorite photo subjects for me.
    I thought I may go the whole dive without seeing a gloomy nudibranch but finally towards the end of the two hours I caught up with this little guy trying hard to stay on the rocks. There was a little surge today but it held tight. I think the contrasting blue and black and this nudibranch make it one of my favorites.
White Margin Nudibranch
  At this point in my diving career out here in Hawaii I have seen so many white margin nudibranchs that unless it is something special I usually don't take their picture. This one however was huge. And by huge I mean about the size of my pinky. This really allowed some of the detail of the skin and rhinophores to show in the photo.

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