23d of March. Valentin Bay.
Our trip from Vladivostok to the north of Primorye took about 4.5 hours. By car, we crossed the path of 420 km, most of which was a dirt road, that laid through several high passes. Tere were a lot of snow on the hills and It was often snowing on the road. Finaly we reached Valentin village with the eponymous bay. Here the steep cliffs, densely covered with pines, meet with the waters of the Sea of Japan. The Valentine bay has a direct access to the sea. The fauna of the northern part of Primorye is different from the southern one. The bay is not covered by ice, that allows to dive all year round.
We arrived in the evening and decided to go ashore and take pictures of the bay at the sunset. The Valentin Bay and the Kit bay are connected by a picturesque promontory with steep cliffs. The Buddy and I went to spend the night at the house of one of the local residents.
The next morning met us with a wonderful weather and light frost. Having loaded the equipment into the car, we went to Cape Orlova. When we reached the top of the cape, we did not dare to go down to the shore. The frozen track could turn into a mud mash during the day. We decided to return to the Bay of Valentine and go out by the boat.
We loaded the equipment and cameras into the boat, and went to Cape Orlova. The midday sun hung high, and it was possible to view the bottom through the clear water (it is very rare in our regions). Finally we got at the site and decided to start our search for a crab from a depth of 15 meters. Then reach the mark of 35 meters and return back. When i reached the seabed, I was about to drop the regulator from my mouth in surprise! I saw a tropical seascape with blue clear water and white sand. Visibility was about 20 meters. The brain refused to combine the picture with the sensations of the body. The water was shocking cold. The temperature of water at dive computer was -1 degrees in Celsius. After a moment, my partner and I noticed the first pair of king crab. «Kings of the bottom» met us with caution, exposing the claws in front of them. Near the first pair we saw another one, and then a few more. At the 15th minute of dive I refused counting them. They were everywhere: slowly moved along theseabed, hid in thickets of kelp, clambered over rocks, threatened their claws at the light of dive lights. My regulator droped to a free flow a couple of times. However, for a short while, after washing it with a stream of water, I continued the dive.
Our first dive lasted 68 minutes. Before going out, my legs started to freeze. To be honest, there were so many crabs that I already had no a fantasy of how to photograph them. At the end of the dive, I started to do a selfie. On the boat, Buddy said that he managed to score 128GB on the memory card for the first time in a long time .
We changed the tanks and went to the second dive. I decided to survey the bottom of the promontory and moved towards the south-west. On the way I met a fish on the seabed, that was the Gymnocanthus intermedius. There were a lot of small crustaceans on the sand. I was surprised by the huge number of deep sea anemones. There were a lot of hairy crab in the thickets. Finaly i reached the foot of the cape and was stunned by what I saw! 15-meter height boulders, covered with an actinias, appeared in front of me.
Divetime 58 minutes, tank presure 40 bar. It's time to go up. We loaded into the boat and hurried back to the shore. There was a long way back to Vladivostok ...