A vast area with a shale bottom extends from Monterey's Del Monte beach to a depth well past the limit for recreational diving. Much of this area is unexplored but well worth visiting.
A column of anemones. From top to bottom: giant plumed anemones (Metridium farcimen), yellow zoanthids (Epizoanthus scotinus), and club-tipped anemones (Corynactus californica). This is an example of how strobe lighting can be used to manipulate how the human eye and brain perceive a scene. In this case the strobes were set to make the Metridiums appear higher off the bottom than the Corynactus. This isn't actually the case. The subject's true orientation actually makes it look rather unphotogenic. I was a little slow to realize how pretty this column is, and, oddly enough, this shot was taken more out of frustration than anything else. The sole purpose for this dive was to take pictures of a subject about three feet away. These pictures didn't turn out nearly as well as I had hoped and I switched to taking shots of this anemone column to console myself. "Deep Shale", Monterey Bay, California April 16, 2005
Often, when I show a picture to a non-diving friend, the first question they ask is "How deep were you when you took that?". The implication, of course, being that the deeper the depth, the better the photograph must be. This, then, is the very best photograph on the site. This simnia, Delonovolva aequalis, lives on red gorgonians(Lophogorgia chilensis). If you'd like to see one in the Monterey area, you'll have to make a relatively deep dive. This picture was taken 120ft. At this depth, the photographer's senses were impaired the equivalent of two and a half glasses of scotch. Likely this photograph would not have been taken at all had not the boat's anchor landed smack on top of this very gorgonian. To be sure, this squished the subject somewhat, but also reduced the photographer's drunkard walk (or, swim) towards the dive's turnaround point to a voyage of only inches. In truth, diving to this depth without the benefit of helium in one's breathing gas isn't very smart. I'm actually a little surprised I didn't get distracted and start taking pictures of the leprechauns also commonly seen after about 100ft. "Deep Shale", Monterey Bay, California February 17, 2007
Red gorgonians (Lophogorgia chilensis) contrast nicely with white giant plumed anemones (Metridium farcimen). "Deep Shale", Monterey Bay, California April 16, 2005