Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kelp Bass - La Jolla Shores

I saw these Kelp Bass today in La Jolla Shores San Diego while snorkeling near the Marine Room.  These white belly and mottled black and brown top bass are common in Southern California and I've seen them in sea grass and kelp.  They will sometimes congregate around floating pieces of kelp.  They seem to mostly eat small crustaceans off of the kelp.  They will sit pretty still and let you get close enough for a good picture if you swim slowly.

I took these pictures with the Panasonic Lumix TS4 12.1 TOUGH Waterproof Digital Camera  which I feel is currently the best waterproof point and shoot camera you can now buy.  Panasonic also makes a cheaper camera (model TS20) that it is hard to tell based on the specifications that it is significantly different, but the underwater picture quality is much worse.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lake Miramar, San Diego CA

Lake Miramar or Miramar Reservoir (top picture) (location) is in the north eastern portion of the city.  It is popular for jogging, walking and biking since it has a 5 mile trail around it with very few (if any) cars.  There is also a dirt path you can mountain bike around the lake on.  You can also kayak, boat (there is a boat launch), or fish, but it is less popular for those activities.  The lake generally gets windy in the afternoons, but is relatively cool (70s or 80s).  You may see typical canyon animals, squirrels, lizards, rattlesnake, rabbits, maybe a coyote.  A portion of the lake is blocked off from entry.  The view from the dam is good (bottom picture).  Entry and parking are free, fishing requires a license.  Gates close at 8, so don't get trapped inside the parking lot.  Definitely a local destination and not something to go out of your way for if you're out of town.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

La Jolla, San Diego, CA

La Jolla is one of the most popular spots in San Diego and it is easy to see why.  This part of the ocean is calmer or cleaner than other beaches, close to downtown and you can park not too far from a beach.  Kayaking, diving, snorkeling, surfing, and paddle boarding are all popular, or you can just walk along the coast and watch the sea lions.  Get there really early on the weekends and make a day of it.  Avoid San Diego in May and June if you're vacationing, you risk showing up on a stretch of June gloom and not seeing the sun for a whole week.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Red Sea Urchin - Laguna Beach

This is a red sea urchin crammed into the rocks at Diver's Cove in Laguna Beach California.  Apparently they can live 50+ years.  Red sea urchins are common and if you are scuba diving or snorkeling you are likely to see one every time you go out.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sea Hares - Laguna Beach

I saw these two sea hares while snorkeling off Laguna Beach, Diver's Cove this weekend.  They live about a year and eat algae.  If you are looking you can see a sea hare about every time you go snorkeling in the Laguna Beach area.

Amazon offers a Sea Hare Peel and Stick Wall Decal for those really love sea hares.  Oddly the item has no reviews yet.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Laguna Beach Stonefish

I think this is a stonefish, which I saw while snorkeling outside of Crescent Beach near Seal Rock.  They can quickly change colors depending on what they are sitting on.  Apparently they are the most venomous fish in the world, however they are not usually deadly, I think I'll stay far away from them from now on.  Fortunately they don't seem to be a problem unless you step on them.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Laguna Beach Shore Crab

These shore crabs are common to the southern California area and you can see them all over if you look closely while tide pooling.  I saw this one at Shaw's Cove.  The differences between the shore crab and kelp crab are interesting..

I use the Panasonic Lumix TS4 12.1 TOUGH Waterproof Digital Camera for all of the underwater and beach shots on this blog.  It is a decent camera, you can see the camera's main flaw in the picture above, when coming out of the water, it is hard to clear the lens of water, particularly if you and all of your stuff is soaking wet.  All of the underwater cameras including the Gopro seem to have this problem at this time, so not much you can do about it.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Laguna Beach Octopus

After never seeing an octopus while snorkeling at Laguna Beach, I saw two in one day.  One at Fisherman's Cove and one at Shaw's Cove.  The picture is not very good, but taking pictures of these is challenging.  I can not tell what kind of octopus it is.

I think a lot of people are afraid of going out in the CA ocean because it is "cold".  A lot of this is in your head, people swim in the ocean here all year wearing only a bathing suit.  I have been snorkeling all winter and spring using the O'Neill Wetsuit Reactor 3/2mm Full Suit, it is among the cheapest ones you can buy and it is working just fine for me.  I get at least 40 minutes in the water before I get cold.  The water temperature has been between 55 and 62 this winter and spring.  You will probably need a thicker suit for scuba diving in the winter.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is undoubtedly a world class zoo.  However, if you live in a city with a zoo, I would probably not visit the San Diego Zoo if vacationing here unless you really like pandas.  Your zoo probably has 75% of the same animals and you probably don't care about the rest, unless they're pandas.  If you do go and live in Southern California, buy the membership, it is reasonable and will save you money if you have guests.

There is no clear path to walk the entire zoo in a day, you have to double back at some point.  Also the map only shows a select few of the animals, there are many more not shown.  The aerial tram is useful to get from one side of park to the other, the far side generally has a long line in the afternoon.  The bus tour can have a long wait if you don't catch it early, I wouldn't spend 30 minutes in line, you have to walk through most of it anyway.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Laguna Beach

I like this picture of the Laguna Beach coastline.  I forgot to turn off the camera's underwater mode so it has a red tint.