All photos were taken with a variety of cameras: a Nikonos V film camera, a Nikon N90 in a Nexus housing, an Olympus 4040 digital camera in a Tetra housing and a Nikon D-70 digital camera in a Nexus housing. Underwater light was provided by two Sea & Sea YS-120 strobes.

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Map of Monterey Diver a large cloud of shrimp Well-camouflaged Cabezon Leopard Shark Minnows in kelp forest
Ling Cod closeup Diver in kelp forest Rockfish in kelp forest School of Blue Rockfish Diver in kelp forest
Diver in kelp forest Diver and large anchor School of Blue Rockfish Diver and hydrocoral Diver in kelp forest
Diver in kelp forest Diver and hydrocoral with anemones Diver and hydrocoral wall Dive buddies in kelp forest Rockfish and large Sun Star
Kayak diving at Stillwater Cove Diver and Electic Torpedo Ray Hydroocral and kelp forest Male Cabezon guarding his eggs Anemones, sponges and kelp forest
Hydrocoral Starfish skin Interlocked Bat Stars Small Octopus Hydrocoral closeup
Vermillion Rockfish Coonstripe Shrimp Sculpin California Cowries California Cowrie with mantle out
Coonstripe Shrimp Hermit Crab Diver and hydrocoral wall Kelp Forest

There are dozens of types of anenomes in the Monterey area.

Tube Anemone Tube Anenome Tube Anemones at the Breakwater Blue-Ring Top snail and anemones Anemone
Strawberry Anemones Barnacle and Strawberry Anemones Anemone and Sponges Rose-Spotted Anemone Anemone
Diver and anemones Anemones Diver and Metridium anemones Ling Cod and Stawberry Anemones Anemone closeup
Anemone closeup Tube Anemones Wall of Strawberry Anemones

Marine mammals are quite common in the Monterey area. You often see sea otters, harbor seals and sea lions. Harbor Seals playful animals are usually quite curious about humans and will often tug on your fins as you make your way though the kelp forest. They're completely non-aggressive, but it's always a good idea to keep your hands to yourself while underwater, so resist the urge to pet them!

Diver and Harbor Seal Harbor Seal Harbor Seal Harbor Seal Harbor Seal
Young Sea Lion resting on my kayak Sea otters, mother and pup Sea Otter on dive float

Another unusual sea resident you might find in Monterey (or anywhere on the west coast from California to Alaska) are Wolf Eels. Wolf Eels look like something out of a low-budget monster movie, but they're actually rather gentle creatures that don't seem to be afraid of scuba divers. They will sometimes swim right up to you if they'rein the mood. Wolf Eels can grow up to 6 or 7 feet long and get uglier as they age. These picturs are of young Wolf Eels.

Wolf Eel Wolf Eel Wolf Eel Wolf Eel eating Hydrocoral

Jellyfish are everywhere in Monterey.

Sea Nettles drifting in the current Sea Nettles drifting in the current Sea Nettles drifting in the current Sea Nettles drifting in the current Medusa Jellyfish
Diver and Sea Nettles Eggyolk Jellyfish Lion's Mane Jellyfish Eggyolk Jellyfish

Some of the most colorful sea creatures anywhere are nudibranchs. They're often overlooked by divers because of their size; they're usually anywhere from 1/2 to 2 inches long. Nudibranchs are sea slugs, just snails with no shells. They are usually very toxic (don't try to eat them!) and their bright coloration is thought to be a warning to predators that bright, pretty things don't taste good. There are hundreds of different types of nudibranchs in Monterey. On your next dive slow down, take your time, look carefully and you'll probably see some.

Nudibranch Giant Rainbow nudi on a Tube Anemone Nudibranch Sea Lemon nudibranch Nudibranch
Nudibranch Rainbow nudis on a Tube Anemone Sea Lemon nudi and anemones Nudibranch eggs Sea Lemon nudi and anemones
Rainbow nudibranch and eggs Nudibranch Alabaster nudibranch Nudibranch Nudibranch
Dendronotus Nudibranch Alabaster Nudibranch Unusual Nudibranch

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