AL.com: The sea gardens of Perdido Pass will blow your mind

June 1, 2018
Tessellated blenny photo by Ben Raines, AL.com

By Ben Raines | braines@al.com | Find the stunning gallery at www.al.com.

Painted waters

The blues, greens, reds and silvers of Perdido Pass never fail to capture me. My friends mock me for my love of diving in Perdido Pass, but the place is so full of life. One dive buddy has threatened to rename my boat Jetty Diver because I'm always going to make at least one dive there no matter how far offshore we are headed. If your game is shooting big fish with a speargun, there are better places offshore. But if you think of a scuba dive as a walk in the strangest forest around, this is the place for you.

I get lost watching the swaying algae and waiting for critters to pop up out of the shrubbery. This is one of my favorite aquatic pasttimes. It is amazing what you'll see if you sit still underwater. What follows are pictures I took Tuesday at high tide. The creatures in them were seen inches from the surface, down to a depth of about 20 feet. 

Thanks to Brian Jones, curator of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's Estuarium, for help with the identification of some of the more bizarre creatures you'll see.

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Go to al.com to see photos of what is under our noses when we go to Perdido Pass - tidewater silversides, glass minnows, anchovies and algae, the mottled hare, seaweed blenny, tessellated blenny, fire bristle worm, banded starfish, anemones, tiny black drum and southern kingfish, Mermaid's purse, oyster toadfish, tiny butterfly, pinfish, and striped burrfish, among others.  As Ben Raines shows, all you need is a mask and a snorkel to see these underwater wonder.