Nest of Nudibranchs

January 11, 2020

It was a typically windy day in Wellington but it was a northerly so Mermaid's Kitchen was relatively calm and the visibility was decent. I was diving with a new buddy and we were first in the ocean. The plan was to head east for 20 minutes then turn around and come back.

I noticed a number of golden coloured cod on the site. I'm not exactly sure if they're a different species or what.

The blue cod were in fine form. They were typically territorial and particularly bold on this dive. They had zero problem getting right in my face. My dive buddy was kind enough to share some shots of me getting shots of them.

Blue cod

Me and blue cod

As soon as I arrived in his territory, this beast swam out from the murk to let me know who's boss.

Blue cod

We hit 20 minutes and spun around to head back. We had already gone as far east as I've ever been on Mermaid's Kitchen. On the way back I found these schools of small yellow fish with black stipes through their middle. Of course the blue cod had to make their presence known too.

Fish, fish, and more fish

I followed another such school over top of a rocky outcropping. As I followed them I happened to come across what seemed to be a "nest" of 4 nudibranchs. I have never seen anything like this before in my life. I can't ever recall seeing more than 1 nudibranch at a time much less 4 together at once. Perhaps there had been some mating going on...

"Nest" of nudibranchs

That last picture was courtesy of my buddy. We finally put our cameras away and headed back in earnest. Unfortunately I misjudged how far the return trip was and we ascended a bit too far east. No worries, it just meant spending a few minutes doing a surface swim to get back to the usual spot on the beach. It was all definitely worth the extra swim. 

Mermaid's Kitchen East

Location: Wellington, Taputeranga Marine Reserve, New Zealand


Dive Number:   146
Bottom Time: 42m
Time In: 2:21 p.m.
Tank In:
Max Depth: 14.30 ft
Table Used:
Mix:   Air
Safety Stop: 3m
Time Out: 3:03 p.m.
Tank Out:
Average Depth: 9.60 ft
Start Pressure Group:
Surface Interval:  
End Pressure Group:


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