Well, this is a mud bottom dive, but a good one!
One immediately noticeable characteristic is the large number of red rock crabs and shrimp (e.g. the coonstripe shrimp, Pandalus danae). Nudibranchs like Dirona albolineata and Triopha catalinae are also abundant. The bottom is sprinkled with the buried anemone (Urticina coriacea). Look closely among the tentacles for small commensal shrimp.
Patches of small rocks contain orange sea cucumbers and different species of perch swimming above. Look also in old jars and bottles for the presence of snailfish (Liparis species). The algae at this site include rockweed and sea lettuce on the rocks to the surface and kelp blades (Agarum and Laminaria) over the bottom (surprise, surprise . . .).
Digging the soft bottom may produce some unexpected fish such as surf smelt and buried sandlance. The slope of the bottom is very gradual but divers with the desire to swim may get deeper than sixty feet (twenty meters).
You may try diving to the left of the entry as we have been told it holds the potential for deeper diving.
Shore access at Deep Cove is possible in a couple of places. One popular dive is a sunken barge a short swim from the dock off Madrona Drive. Another good dive can also be enjoyed from the southwest side of the cove.
The cove's moderately-sloped bottom is a patchwork of soft sediment and rock outcroppings. The algae cover is dominated by Agarum blades but Sargassum is also present.
The fish and invertebrate life includes a bit of everything. Look for copper rockfish, blackeye gobies (Coryphopterus nicholsi), northern ronquils (Ronquilus jordani), buffalo and longfin sculpins. We have also enjoyed a few goof encounters with wolf eels and octopi.
Some soft-bottomed areas contain tube-dwelling anemones and their nemesis, the giant nudibranch (Dendronotus iris). Other nudibranchs present are Dirona abolineata and Triopha catalinae. Cucumbers range from Parastichopus californicus to the small white sea cucumber (Eupenctacta quinquesemita). Large masses of the ribbed whelk snail (Nucella emarginata) can be seen laying eggs in the winter and early spring.
An interesting anecdote from this site is the time we saw a sea butterfly (Gastropteron pacificum), a rarely encountered animal related to snails and nudibranchs. The swimming motion is achieved by flapping two parapodia (wing equivalent), making the animal look like an underwater butterfly. When disturbed, the sea butterfly folds its wings and settles on the muddy bottom next to rocks, becoming almost invisible. This episode made us wonder how many times we had passed beautiful animals like this one without perceiving them . . . .