We wanted to explore the home reef of the Sea Frogs at night for a long time. But night dive were delayed for a month. Bad weather, then work until the evening, home, everyday life, etc. But this Saturday, after all, there was a reason! On this day, Yevgeny Polukhin was performing work to strengthen the pier in Novik Bay, and saw a mantis shrimp. Long time ago, I'm trying to take a picture of this newcomer. So we rush to Novik to seek the praying mantis!
I run home and throw batteries into torches and flashes. I throw the equipment into the car, and went to the Russian island. In five minutes I'm flying through the Golden Horn Bay on the bridge. I put my old nikon in the hatch and do a couple of shots. Another five minutes ahead of me is the Russian bridge. I'm riding over the Bosfor Vostochniy strait,and capturing the bridge's pylons bu the way. Another 15 minutes and I'm there. A southern wind blows in Novik. The wave is big, then visibility will be bad.
I unload the equipment. Petrovich meets me at the doors of the Sea Frogs Club. Someone came up with the idea of making a mannequin from an old military suit for diving. The diver was christened Petrovich and put on the bench to greet guests. Evgeny Poluhin is still fiddling with the pier in the water, Andrei Pavluschenko is still on his way. I collect scuba and make a couple of selfie with Petrovich. After 30 minutes Andrew finally arrived. We are checking the settings of his camera, while waiting for the sunset. It's 19:30. Time to go into the water.
By the time we started, Evgeny had been in the water for about four hours. During this time, he managed to secure a floating pier for boats and get acquainted with one mantis shrimp. The mantis was a real model and willingly posed for cameras. I tried to take it in my hand, but got a powerful blow to the glove with its claws. Apparently it liked the glove of Andrey more. Mantis shrimp allowed to take it in his hand. I managed to make a good shot of this moment.
Oratosquilla oratoria (mantis shrimp) is found from Peter the Great Bay to the East China Sea, in the Japanese and Hawaiian Islands. Inhabits a sandy or stony ground of shallow waters below the tidal zone. Digs holes up to 2 m deep. Active at night, hunting for bivalve mollusks and other organisms, whose shells are broken by the claws. The size of the adult specimen is up to 30 cm.
We are flying in dark water, like cosmonauts, lighting our way with powerful torches. Small jellyfish bougainvillea fly past us, like stars in cosmos. Suddenly, I notice some unusual transparent jellyfish in the light of a torch. Autofocus of my camera had no chance to catch it in sight, it was too small and transparent. I hold the autofocus lock button on the camera, looked into the viewfinder, and put the shutter once the image has become more or less sharp. The stranger turned out to be a hydroids jellyfish Sarsia tubulosa. This shorty, measuring only 5 mm, spends 80% of its life in the water column, feeding with small plankton crustaceans. The length of the tentacles of this jellyfish can exceed 5 times the length of the bell. A little further we meet another jellyfish, but already scifoid. A young cyanea slowly floats in the hydrocosmos.
During the dive, I noticed that the nudibranchs had nearly disappeared, only the solitary Diaulula odonoghuei were noticed on the algae. . But there were a lot of polychaete worms. We met one that curled into a tangle like a Chinese dragon. Unfortunately, I could not identify this spec. There were shrimps and small crabs. One crab, fairly overgrown with barnacles, looked beautiful amoung the background of the phoronids.
The water warmed up (divecomp showed 5 to 8 degrees Celsius) and the fish appeared. A lot of sculpins came out of cover for night hunting. There was a flounder, and quite large.
Time in the water flies imperceptibly, especially an the night dive. The computer shows 75 minutes divetime. We move to the shore. On land we were met by a dark sky and a young moon.