Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fun Octopus

Another amazing encounter that I had while diving the breakwater of Monterey, California, last April was with a very curious red octopus (Octopus rubescens):



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© Elisabetta (Betty) Bastai

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Flamboyant Hunter

 Last April my buddy Sam and I went diving at the breakwater of Monterey, California, for the second time. The visibility was not as good as in December but memorable encounters with certain marine creatures made up for the cloudy water. 

The following video shows the hunting behavior of the giant dendronotid (Dendronotus iris). It was an extraordinary experience to witness for the first time in my diving career this large and beautiful nudibranch interacting with tube-dwelling anemones unfortunately to the detriment of the cnidarians. 


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© E. Betty Bastai

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invaders

Learn about aquatic invasive weeds and how to prevent their spread. Artist and filmmaker Betty Bastai will present a short video titled "Clean Drain and Dry for Paddlers". Follow these simple steps at every lake and river to prevent the spread of invasive species and noxious weeds. Janet Stein, Island County noxious weed program coordinator, will present information on the problem aquatic weeds in Island County.



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© E. Betty Bastai & Northern Forest Canoe Trail

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Whidbey Island's Dazzling Underwater Charm on Whidbey Life Magazine


I am very pleased to share with you my new article and underwater photographs about diving in Whidbey Island published by Whidbey Island Magazine:



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© E. Betty Bastai
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring 2014 Header Photo

I have just come back from California and the unique experience of being surrounded by growing giant kelp is still lingering in my mind so I decided to select one of the wide angle shots that I took while diving at Whaler's Cove, Point Lobos State Reserve, and use it for the spring 2014 header. 

The water was a bit cloudy but the visibility was better than last December. Still, capturing  the sunlight beams that made their way to the bottom through the kelp forest  was magical.  


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© Elisabetta (Betty) Bastai

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

California Diver Magazine has published my new scuba diving story titled "My First Dives in California Waters"

"The meandering topography of Puget Sound, my home since 2004, offers in winter a good number of shore dive sites sheltered from inclement weather. However, its relentless overcast sky can significantly increase a craving for sunlight. Last December my buddy had a whole week off work for Christmas and we decided to escape the gloomy Pacific Northwest by driving to sunny Monterey and diving in California waters for the first time..." Read on the full story of my first dives in California at  California Diver Magazine's website. 



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© E. Betty Bastai/CaliforniaDiver Magazine

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

On January 5 I saw sea stars affected by the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome on Whidbey Island, Washington, for the first time. I was diving at Possession Point Fingers when in 30 ft. of water I noticed scattered arms of a pale-colored sea star (a spiny pink star Pisaster brevispinus?) and  a sunflower star  ( Pycnopodia helianthoides) in distress on the edge of a clay wall. Its arms were stretched out as if they were ready to fall off (later I did see a detached sunflower star's arm). It was indeed a sad sight: 



Yesterday, January 15, I saw more sunflower stars that showed signs of the same disease at Keystone Underwater Park near Coupeville:


There is no doubt that Sea Star Wasting Syndrome is spreading at an alarming rate in Whibdey island waters and beyond. 

Since I have heard about the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome few months ago I have been submitting sea star surveys to the Vancouver Aquarium:


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© E. Betty Bastai

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