Tour de Foul Whidbey: A Dock Fouling Adventure

My regular dock fouling locations, Eddie Vine and Edmonds Marina, had become a bit predictable. I hadn't seen anything new for a while. I was intrigued to see if locations further in to the sound would yield any new discoveries. Deception Pass is always a great spot to visit and has a nearby marina and boat launch. Checking for marinas on the map, I found ones at Oak Harbor and Coupeville that looked promising. On November 11th I set forth to see what, if anything, interesting I could find at these locations.

The first stop was Deception Pass Marina, in Coronet Bay. It was still early in the morning so the marina was slick and icy. I soon forgot about the cold when I quickly spotted a white lined dirona on the side of the dock. It was exciting to see such a majestic sea slug right away! As I kept looking I found a small sea slug that I assumed was a thick-horned nudibranch. There were several similar looking creatures all throughout the docks, all fairy small and slow moving. They seemed to be a bit too slow moving for thick-horns, but I simply attributed that to the chilly temperature. Later, upon looking through the photos, I noticed that they were quite a different species- Coryphella pseudoverrucosa.

I was about to leave the marina when a bright patch of orange caught my eye. I assumed it was a sea anemone, but decided to take a closer look. Much to my delight it was another sea slug, a golden dirona- a species I had never seen before. It did not move much so I was not able to capture any action shots. It was one of the larger sea slugs I have ever seen, a good 4-5 inches long.

When I was finally able to stop staring at the golden dirona, I drove a short distance along the bay to Coronet Bay Boat Ramp, which had an adjacent floating dock. I check out the floating dock but not the boat ramp as there was significant boat traffic. The floating dock had numerous thick-horned nudibranchs (that were actually thick-horns). Most were too small or far away to photograph. There were likely many other fascinating organisms, but I ignored them all in awe of the sea slugs.