To celebrate Earth Day, Pura Vida Divers setup a twilight dive at Phil Foster Park. Topside the conditions were stormy, but divers persevered. Once underwater, conditions were great! Visibility was approximately 30ft with 75 degree water.
As I moved slowly across the sand, all sorts of minuscule creatures could be found hiding in the manatee grass. An arrow shrimp was clinging on to one of the manatee grass while under its body it carried a batch of eggs. A pipefish, cousin of the seahorse, poked its head out of the algae-covered bottom. Not far away, a sea slug was busy feeding on this same algae.
Slowly moving around the dive site, numerous creatures were found. A large batfish was busy hunting using the lure located on its head. It’s amazing to see the specialization some creatures have evolved. A nudibranch, no larger than a quarter of an inch, raised its body off the bottom in what appeared to be some means of picking up the scent of another nudibranch nearby. To avoid predation, some nudibranchs will feed on hydroids and pass the stinging powers of the hydroids into parts of its body. The nudibranch uses the protection means of another animal for it’s own use.
As I searched the rubble for any other nudibranchs, I found a bumble bee shrimp traveling along the rubble. Nearby an octopus watched me carefully. Suddenly, the octopus began to swirl all its arms before beginning to walk along the bottom a couple of feet and discarding the remains of a crab it had eaten.
The richness of this dive site is sometimes beyond our comprehension. Even the most desolate areas are filled with life if only you look a little closer.