Swimming Scallops by the Thousands

Location: Prince of Wales Island, southeast Alaska.

Comments: Miserable weather today with heavy rain, windy and big seas on the outside. I had wanted to spend the day at a super hot scuba diving site on the north side of Dixon Entrance where we have seen numerous wolf eels as well as free-swimming halibut (which is very unusual) and loads of rockfish. The difficulty is that the site is exposed to open ocean and today’s forecast is for unseasonable seas of 10 – 12 feet. So I thought it better to run and hide. Especially on the first day of a trip! That’s the thing that I think people sometimes forget about diving and exploring Alaska – how can I say this other than “this is Alaska!!” Once you get away from the cruise ship ports like Ketchikan and Juneau, it is still raw, primal, beautiful and very edgy. When the weather clears up, this is one of the most spectacular places on earth. But we also get days when the air temperatures are mid 50’s instead of mid 70’s and it’s driving rain and windy. Either way, the diving is still awesome and every trip somehow magically ends up as a “voyage.” This is our 9th season and that is still true as ever.

We staged 2 mystery dives today while hiding from the weather and really lucked out with the second one when I anchored on top of a pinnacle that was absolutely loaded with swimming scallops (aka pink and spiny scallops). Stupendous sheer drop-off and I managed to place the anchor right on the edge of the precipice. These scallops are hilarious to watch. They have eyes all the way around the opening side of their shells and and their response to perceived danger (I’m told that they literally see us coming although I have no idea how they can process that data?) can be to lift off the sea bottom and “flap” their way through the water by opening and closing their shells. They have always looked just like “pac man” to me!!  Just imagine little “pac men” swimming all across the bottom!!

–Captain Mike


Weather: Windy, rainy, blustery and air temperatures in the high 50’s. Looking forward to frontal passage.

Water: Water temperature 46°F. Visibility 20 – 30 feet.

By Nautilus Staff

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