Ah, it is the time of the Verrillifest, when the gorgeous sea slug Flabellina verrilli finds its way to the slopes of Doggy Park. We still don’t know why, but in a span of a few winter months (approximately from the end of December to mid-April), countless numbers of these nudibranchs show up at this particular location.
Is it something to do with the colder temperature of the water and the borderless fields of hydroids, or is the slug more concerned with the water temperature than anything else? During the rest of the year, we checked and found that fields of hydroids remain plentiful, and we see some nudis but not F. verrilli.
Red-finger aeolis. (Flabellina verrucosa) a.k.a. (Coryphella verrucosa)
The sun was out, and despite repetitive gusts of wind, the air felt warm, holding steady at the 50F mark. Thankfully, the modification of a water treatment facility was completed some time ago, and we were able to park about 40 yards from the entrance to the dive site.
That’s why it is called a Doggy Park
We arrived an hour before our scheduled dive time and began our preparations. First, Andrea and I walked to the beach to check the conditions and gauge visibility. As usual, the water by the shore was crystal clear, but often the “picture” is deceptive. Not on that day, though. It wasn’t Caribbean-grade clarity, but at a depth of 30 feet, we could distinguish each other at a considerable distance.
At the Doggy Park dive-site