This afternoon, I decided to pay a visit to one of my favorite local dive spots, Bruce Higgins Underwater Trails in Edmonds. My dive buddy Erin and I headed in at low tide and encountered many interesting fish, including numerous quillback rockfish, some extra-large lingcod, and a very agitated cabezon. The visibility was mediocre at around 10 feet, which seems to be pretty typical for this time of year.
After diving in the Puget Sound region for nearly two years, Matt and I finally got around to diving Skyline Marina in Anacortes with the Marker Buoys. About 2 hours north of Seattle, this site is frequently named as one of the most beautiful and interesting dives in the area. We timed so that we hit slack before ebb (3.2F > 6:22 PM > 1.0E), and the current situation was perfect. It would have been a fantastic dive if it hadn’t been for the less than stellar visibility, which was less than 5′ all the way down to at least 90′.
I can see how this site would be a phenomenal place to dive under better conditions. One of the most striking aspects of this dive was the fields of colorful sea cucumbers decorating the granite slopes. I also saw my first Puget Sound king crabs in the wild; two rather large individuals were holed up in an alcove at about 20′, possibly engaged in some sort of mating behavior. Their coloration closely resembles the surrounding rocks, and I probably would have passed them by had they not been pointed out by another diver. I also noticed that there were numerous red Irish lords and kelp greenling hanging out mostly in the 50-80′ range.
After spending a fair amount of time in the 60-80′ range, Matt and I decided to gradually make our way up the slope and did our safety stop at about 20′ in the large seagrass bed close to the entry point. Overall, it was an interesting dive, and one I would like to try again later in the year when the visibility is better.
Yesterday, my buddy Erin and I visited the fuel dock at Mukilteo, also known as the tank farm. It is about a 400 meter surface swim east of the T-dock and is one of the best places to dive for Dungeness crab in all of Puget Sound. It is also a very interesting site with tons of fish and invertebrate life, and is far more interesting than the T-dock as far as I’m concerned. Max depth for most of the site is about 18 meters. I have yet to explore all of the site, but hopefully I will be able to get out to the far end of the pier before it gets torn down later this year. The Port of Everett hopes to demolish the pier soon and put in a new ferry terminal. It’s too bad that this interesting and diverse aquatic community is about to be obliterated, and there are a lot of local divers who are very upset about loosing their favorite crabbing grounds.
Below is some footage I shot of the site yesterday afternoon, and I made it into my first “virtual dive”. You can see why this site is so unique – there are literally carpets of Dungeness crab here in the summer by the time crab season opens. They likely favor this location because it is built on their preferred sandy/silty sediment, and the huge clumps of blue mussels growing on the pilings are an important food source. I have also seen huge groups of spotted ratfish here on occasion, but we had no such luck during this dive.