Last Sunday we went diving at the underwater park in Edmonds, Washington. Yes, you heard me right, SCUBA diving in the winter in the north Pacific. The water temperature that day was 45°F. Considering that the air temperature was in the thirties, it wasn't too bad. Oh, and we were wearing dry suits so I could pile as many layers of fleece and other warm stuff as I liked. The visibility was pretty decent for the Puget Sound at around twenty feet. Cold water diving ROCKS! ;) Now, tropical diving is pretty nice, but you just have a completely different set of creatures and environments in cold water. In my opinion it is like trying to compare the beauty of an alpine meadow to the beauty of a tropical rain forest. They are each uniquely awesome. While tropical diving has colorful corals and lots of small colorful fish, cold water diving has kelp forests and lots of large semi colorful fish AND giant octopus.
Since it being winter, the local fish population on the artificial reefs were significantly less than in the summer. We did see a good number of lingcod and cabezon, which are very sizable fish - between two and six feet in length. There was also still quite a few nudibranchs (sea slugs) around too in addition to the usual invertebrate life - plumose anenomes (the big white ones), crabs, shrimp, krill, sea stars, and chitons.