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Middle Farallon

Even by the standards of the Farallon Islands, Middle Farallon is quite small and almost certainly covers in heavy swell. At least some of the rock formations in this area are smooth and and filled with pits several feet in diameter. Except for the abundance of encrusting life, these areas strongly resemble a mountain river bed. Massive quantities of krill sometimes aggregate here. Krill can, in fact, be so abundant that they significantly reduce the visibility. Since the density of krill aggregations is far from uniform, it may be possible to dive in clear water just off the reef and watch the clouds of krill wend their way paths between the rocks.

Encrusting hydrocoral, Stylantheca porphyra
Encrusting hydrocoral (Stylantheca porphyra) and noon sun.

    "Middle Farallon", Farallon Islands, California
    February 3, 2007

Encrusting hydrocoral, Stylantheca porphyra, Ochre star, Pisaster ochraceus
Ochre stars (Pisaster ochraceus) walk arm in arm atop sheets of
encrusting hydrocoral (Stylantheca porphyra). This shot illustrates the
best and worst aspects of a camera lens with a 180 degree viewing angle.
Certainly, to cover this subject which is actually inside a narrow crack, an
exceptionally wide view is needed.  However, the flat subject is obviously
distorted into something that looks like a globe. Furthermore, the bottom
corners, by virtue of their distance from the camera, are not illuminated by the
camera's strobes.

    "Middle Farallon", Farallon Islands, California
    June 24, 2006

Encrusting hydrocoral, Stylantheca porphyra, Red sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus franciscanus, White-spotted anemone, Urticina lofotensis
Encrusting hydrocoral (Stylantheca porphyra), red sea urchins
(Strongylocentrotus franciscanus), and a white-spotted anemone
(Urticina lofotensis). Stylantheca lives in places that experience
mind-bogglingly brutal wave action. The rocks around these particular colonies
are smooth an polished. It's most certainly something to be appreciated when the
seas subside enough to get a glimpse of scenes such as this one.

    "Middle Farallon", Farallon Islands, California
    April 24, 2005

Cabezon, Scorpaenichthys marmoratus, Divers
Cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus) and Mark Lloyd

    "Middle Farallon", Farallon Islands, California
    February 3, 2007

Snubnose sculpin, Orthonopias triacis
Snubnose sculpins (Orthonopias triacis) are common throughout central

    "Middle Farallon", Farallon Islands, California
    March 4, 2007

Encrusting hydrocoral, Stylantheca porphyra, Wolf eel, Anarrhichthys ocellatus, Gopher rockfish, Sebastes carnatus
Encrusting hydrocoral (Stylantheca porphyra), wolf eel (Anarrhichthys
ocellatus) and gopher rockfish (Sebastes carnatus).

    "Middle Farallon", Farallon Islands, California
    February 4, 2007

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