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Whales, frog fish, sharks and mola molas: expect the unexpected

Published on 2012-02-20 10:25:57

It seems global warning, the Japanese nuclear incident or in similar likelihood Justin Bieber are having a dramatic effect on our local Southern California waters.

Two months ago a group of divers reported a humpback whale at Shaw's cove, a few hundred yards off the beach. Although whales are often seen from December to April while they are migrating to warmer southern waters, encountering one so close off the coast and in such a frequented dive site is quite unusual. A few weeks after that, a colony of leopard sharks of about 20 individuals was documented off Wood's cove, a few miles south of Shaw's. We usually see these further South around San Diego, but multiple sightings confirmed their presence for at least a few days off our coast. Then we discovered a frogfish, which is also very unusual.

So nobody was really surprised two weeks ago (I know, I'm late in my column) when divers started reporting Mola Molas off Shaw's Cove as well as salp. Since molas (aka sunfish) feed off salp, that kind of makes sense.

Anyway, forgetting about my 2011 resolution to dive warm, I donned my drysuit and went diving in search of Molas. We dove Montage and Shaw's and I can swear I saw one of these fast sunfish on the second dive. I couldn't take a picture though so it may have been the product of my imagination. Apart from that, the dives were quite enjoyable although I greatly prefer Shaw's to Montage where I saw nothing very spectacular. In Shaw's, the usual critters were there in abundance: eels, octopus, spanish shawls, and even froggy, now mated with a green moray. Lot's of fun... Why aren't you in the water yet?                                                                                                          



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