A truly rare event for me as a photographer and videographer occurred this past weekend in Puget Sound. For many years I have been fortunate enough to spot only a few Cockscomb fish. The High Cockscomb and Slender Cockscomb are members of the Prickleback family. And although they may appear similar to an eel, they are not eels. Below are images of Snake Pricklebacks taken over the years.
This time of year, our local waters suffer repeated weather events that degrade the visibility and clarity of the water. Rains can infuse fresh water from the surface down to well over 30 feet in some areas. Rain washes down massive collections of pollutants and toxins that accumulate on our roads, highways, bridges, driveways, yards and more. These toxins drain directly into our streams, rivers, lakes, and eventually Puget Sound. Also, longer days with increased sunlight generate considerable Algae blooms. At times, visibility can be reduced to less than 12” from the surface to more than eighty feet deep. Light is unable to penetrate the particulate matter, or backscatter. There are times on a bright sunny day, at mid-day during summer, it can be so dark that many nocturnal animals will come out to hunt their prey.
The past month the visibility within Puget Sound has been unseasonably poor due to the few weeks of very sunny days. Fortunately, even during these recent poor diving conditions, I was able to enjoy a couple very rare minutes with a Slender Cockscomb. View my new 4K video of my brief encounter: Slender Cockscomb
Drew Collins professional underwater photographer and environmentalist living and diving primarily in the beautiful Emerald green waters of Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington.