Location: Port Alexander, Baranof Island, southeast Alaska.
Comments: I’ve always wondered why wolf eels live communally? They compete for the same food. There is no pack or hunting advantage when you are feeding on sea urchins. I am pretty sure that wolf eels mate for life. So why bother to live together with your “competition?” Well, I have a new theory. I have come to think that the preferred habitat of wolf eels is between 60 and 80 feet in the cracks and crevices of current-swept rocky structures. They need the current for good food sources. And they need cracks and crevices to avoid becoming sea lion or orca bait. But the big thing is that I think they choose to live in areas of back-eddies where they have protection from the current at least half the time and can move about and find food. If they didn’t hang out in the back eddies, their foraging time would be very limited. So rocky structure with a prevailing back-eddy on either a flood or ebb tide is my new hypothesis on finding wolf eels.
We tested my theory yesterday on a scuba diving site I named Vancouver Rock (in honour of the legendary explorer of this coast – Captain George Vancouver – I’m a fan of his) and sure enough, found 3 mated pairs of wolf eels sitting in the back-eddy on the ebb tide. Whoooeeee. We went back to Vancouver Rock today for more exploration and one of our guests – James Negris from Seattle – spotted a total of 10 WOLF EELS on one dive! Way to go huh?! Even without the wolf eels, this is a great and colourful dive with lots of invertebrate life and the highest concentration of orange social ascidions that I have seen anywhere.
Weather: High overcast, calm seas, calm winds, temperatures in the low 70’s.
Water: Visibility 20 feet, water temperature 46°F