Amazing, incredible numbers of jellies (jelly fish) everywhere

Location: Baranoff Island, southeast Alaska
Had a good start to this trip with nice diving at Meyers Chuck, a great iceberg day at Le Conte Bay and our first closeup grizzly bear sighting of the trip in an impossibly spectacular beautiful mountain fjord on the east side of Baranoff Island. Everything about this fjord was amazing. Impossible to describe the experience and feeling of floating along quietly in glassy calm water surrounded by sheer snow-covered mountains and watching bald eagles swooping down to hunt small salmon fry schooling around the skiff that we were sitting in. Then I noticed “smudges” on the surface of the water in another quiet inlet. “Smudges” are a good thing. A very good thing as the smudges are most likely to be an aggregation of spawning moon jellies (moon jellyfish aka white sea jelly). Actually, aggregation is not a good descriptor as one smudge can easily be hundreds of thousands of jellies tightly massed together in a column that can be 90 feet or deeper. It’s a breathtaking sight and an unforgettable dive to swim through “white-out” conditions with jellies blanking out your mask and covering you everywhere. It’s equally breathtaking to hang back from the wall of jellies and watch both lion’s mane jellyfish (aka red medusa aka sea blubber aka sea nettle) and fried egg jellyfish move into the wall of moon jellies and then re-emerge with 20 or 30 jellies stuck to their tentacles. It’s one thing to swim through the moon jellies but you certainly don’t want to get too close to the tentacles of a sea blubber. Those tentacles can extend 30 feet or more!! Not sure if the “smudges” will still be here on our next trip but I’d really like to come back and look for them. I love Alaska!! Captain Mike.
Surface Conditions: Clear, calm and beautiful weather. Air temperature mid 70’s.
Underwater Conditions: Water temperature 46F. Visibility 20 feet in the shallows and 50 feet + below 30 feet.

By Nautilus Staff

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