Monday, July 23, 2007

Nudibranch sex, Sharks, Octopi.......

A Stranded Russian damsel, frisky nudibranchs, munching turtles, sleeping sharks, curious octopi. Saturdays dive had it all including a sexy blogger named Harry. If you have not already done so you need to check out Harry’s thoughts on our day of diving.

Perfect conditions and an early morning start. The water in the Grotto does not get much calmer than it was on this day. What’s the plan? First hole, go right, look for turtles and eels! Ok sounds good…… Hey wait a second I didn’t see any eels Harry!

First check off the turtle, then the hovering barracuda (with two 4 inch cleaner wrasse doing their job), then the leaf scorpionfish, followed by a curious but cautious octopus…. and that was just the first half of the dive! By the time we had moved back into the cave it had already been one of the more interesting ones I’ve had at the Grotto – ever.

Once back in the darkness it got that much better. Moving in through hole two and up towards the mooring line we turned on our lights and began looking for anything that might help kill some time on the safety stop. Almost immediately I saw one, I knew what kind it was and I knew it was special because Harry and I had talked about it. This was the one that helped him get published. I had seen one a few days before at Lau Lau bay and had tried to describe it before our dive. When I saw it I got his attention as soon as possible – and so it began!

Two Halgerda guahan getting close!
Halgerda malesso
Halgerda guahan

If these guys were looking for a little privacy during their courtship then they had come to the wrong place. I’m not sure how many photos were taken of these little guys but Jenna Jamison probably would get a run for her money as titleholder for most photographed sex scene.

Lack of battery power and air left me little time with the stars of the show on the first dive. Fortunately I didn’t find any resistance for a second from Harry, who, only moments after arriving at the top of the stairs, declared this was probably his best dive of the year!

New batteries, new tank, new mission another dive buddy. If it’s true there are very few photos of these nudibranchs then I have to guess there is also very little video as well. I entered the water and after a brief encounter with another octopi I had no problem finding the small, slow moving, well camouflaged critters of choice. I just had to move towards the flash, and the flash and the flash. Greg and Harry were already snapping away. They had found an area with 5 or 6 Halgerda guahan so once they had moved on in search of additional subjects I settled in with the video camera. For the most part nudibranchs don’t make for the most exciting video so it didn’t take long before I was looking around thinking - Ok, what other angle can I get, are there others around here that might make a better subject. Then I spotted them for the first time. They had probably been hovering around for a while but I didn’t notice till I took my eyes off the little nudies. What else could we add to the list for today……..

How about SHARKS!


Bev said...

Great footage of the sharks Mike! We saw them yesterday but couldn't even get a clear picture of those two!

Harry Blalock said...

Very awesome footage Mike. I saw them over there, but I'm so used to seeing them that I don't even think about them anymore. I loved watching them on your video though. Great blog entry by the way, keep on blogging!