Saturday, August 22, 2015

Whytecliff 13/08/2015

We were able to go for a nice dive at Whytecliff, since the e-coli levels had went back to normal. Our first plan was to enter via the Cut and swim south around the Day marker and end up in the bay. But that plan had to be abandoned as the number of logs in the Cut entrance had turned it into a real washing machine. It was always good to check the entry first! So we went with doing the right side out and back.

Daryl from Heather's work was out doing some training for Max, also from Heather's work. We met them swimming in while we were swimming out, and they said the skills went well. Also the visibility looked and sounded decent.

Our dive was good. I was able to try out my updated GoPro Hero 4. My original GoPro that Heather got me for my birthday had served well for almost 5 years, but was a bit long in the tooth. The new version did better in low light, and produced better quality video. I would highly recommend the GoPro series as an excellent compact underwater video tool that wouldn't break the bank.

Here was the result. At the beginning was a surface view of Whytecliff, then a gumboot chiton, the cables leading up to the day marker, snails and sea urchins, a bat star, a rhinocerous crab and a sea cucumber, schooling copper rockfish, a sea pen, a sculpin, some kind of prickleback, and schooling perch in the shallows.

We also came across the octopus that was usually in a crack at around 30-40 feet, on the rock wall just past the metal boxes. The crack was pretty easy to find, and runs diagonally. Unfortunately, I hit the wrong button on the new GoPro and ended up taking no video at all! Oops. Back to my old habit of always turning it around to see if the red light was on. I did the same thing years ago while trying to video a lion fish in Florida.

There were a lot of purple sea stars, but at least 5 that I saw were afflicted with the sea star wasting dissease. Later, the Vancouver Aquarium would say that they had noticed an upswing in the number of affected sea stars, and hoped that it was an isolated event, and not as bad as it had been in the last two years. You could really see the effects, with huge numbers of urchins everywhere. We really needed those numbers of sea stars to help keep things in balance.

I also tried out a new prototype hood. It used thicker neoprene, and had some heat-reflective technology. It was soft, comfortable and very warm. I would definitely consider buying a version once its finished.

All-in-all, a very fun night of diving!