Dive Report: Lingcod Egg Mass Survey Dive #2

The Vancouver Aquarium Lingcod Egg Mass Survey is over for another year, but on March 4 Tom, Paul and I went out for one last look for eggs. Paul's car co-operated and he made the long car-ferry-bus-train-carpool trip to Porteau. If all club members put as much effort into making a dive happen as our members on the island we could probably charter a boat once a month. In any case it's great that they make the effort, and we'll have to repay the favour by planning a Vancouver Island dive soon. In preparation for our dive on February 19th I had purchased a brand new slate with three "pages" in anticipation of all the egg masses I was going to see. I didn't really need a short pencil or a long memory to recall seeing absolutely nothing. In previous years we have seen lots of eggs at Porteau, so we were a bit concerned when none were spotted. When I mentioned our lack of success to Tom he immediately cleared his schedule to show us how egg-finding is done.

The weather wasn't quite as good as two weeks ago, it rained steadily all day and I never once felt there was any danger of the sun breaking through, but it was better than last week so we pushed ahead. It doesn't really matter once you are in the water any way and at least it wasn't snowing. The water was a bracing 6 degrees celcius and visibility was at least 6m. It was just possible to make out the white anemones around the rectangular openings in the hold of the Granthall from the surface.

Tom lived up to his reputation and was able to find three egg masses in short order. The first was inside a tire. The guard on station was getting pretty frazzled by the time Tom and I realized the current was pulling us, so that even though we were making short surface swims away from each dive we just kept dropping onto the same spot on the bottom. The second was located in the angle of a large steel structure. The guard on this one was particular ornery and had a nibble on one of my fins. I thought he was going to come all the way to the surface! I feel like I could have found the last one if I had been on my own. I had located the stroppy fish that was guarding them on one dive and I was marking the location to do another drop when Tom popped up to confirm that he did have an egg mass under his little concrete love pad.

I don't know what the outcome of the survey will be this year, but at least the Vanapneist Club will be able to sleep a little better knowing that we have verified there is one more generation of Lingcod incubating out there ready to grow up into the great big man-eaters (fin nibblers) we know and love.