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Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis

Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, California hydrocoral, Stylaster californicus, Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
As is typical of wrasses, California sheephead (Semicossyphus pulcher)
begin life as females, but may transform into males in later life. Here, a
demure female seeks the shelter of a red gorgonian (Lophogorgia
chilensis). It's a several hour ride from Los Angeles harbor to Farnsworth
Bank. The long ride, coupled with the time the night before spent in heavy I-5
traffic rather than sleeping, took its toll the day I shot this image. In fact,
I can't ever remember being more miserable out on the water. The day's dives
themselves were clumsily executed, but enjoyable nonetheless. The end of the
second dive coincided with the start of distressingly brisk wind which made the
trek to the night's anchorage a long one. The ascetic accommodations on the
whaler'sanchor locker were never more welcome.

    "Farnsworth Bank", Santa Catalina Island, California
    April 2, 2005

Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
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 gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, Giant kelp, Macrocystis sp.
Southern California's most celebrated underwater photo subject, the garibaldi
(Hypsypops rubicundus) is seen here framed by a red gorgonian
(Lophogorgia chilensis) and giant kelp (Macrocystis sp.)

    "Eagle Reef", Santa Catalina Island, California
    November 24, 2006

Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, Giant plumed anemone, Metridium farcimen
Red gorgonians (Lophogorgia chilensis) contrast nicely with white giant
plumed anemones (Metridium farcimen).

    "Deep Shale", Monterey Bay, California
    April 16, 2005

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