Zebra perch adults up to 17 inches in kelp. More common in Baja, there’s more than I’ve ever seen. Adult schools ply the kelp and small juveniles keep to the tidepools and the shallows.
A green sea turtle swam underneath me with an entourage of reef fish following it through Shaw’s Cove. Turtle nesting grounds are found in tropical and sub-tropical coastal waters worldwide. In the Pacific, the range is from southern Alaska to Chile.
A two-foot yellowtail jack cruises the reef at Diver’s Cove, showing signs of injury. They typically migrate north from Mexico in the spring and summer and reverse course in fall. It’s unusual to see in December and sportfishing boats are still catching them offshore.
Gafftopsail Pompano swims over the sand just outside the surf break at Shaw’s Cove on Oct. 29. This pompano is normally found from southern Baja to Peru and very common in the Gulf of California. In 1958 one was seen at Zuma Beach. Thought I had been transported to a tropical island…..
A school of adult Sargo traverse Diver’s Cove last month.
An adult brown Ocher sea star spotted while snorkeling at Thousand Steps on Thanksgiving Day, now a rare sighting due to a massive virus-caused die-off. Hopefully this “survivor” will spawn and re-populate our reefs.
More typical reef inhabitants such as a Harbor seal cruises over the eel grass-covered reef in the shallows of shaw’s Cove in November.
Reef fish feeding on an urchin. Photos by Sandy Dildine.