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Dancing Medusae - Carmel, California | by Jim Patterson Photography
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Dancing Medusae - Carmel, California

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A Lesson in Murphy's Law


My stepfather had a poster of all the Murphy's Laws, or at least quite a few of them. One read: "Anything that can go wrong, does."


I put that law to the test today.


For the past week, there have been reports of swarming sea nettle jellies on both the Monterey and Carmel sides of the Monterey Peninsula. Today I finally had an opportunity to get in the water and see what I could find. After getting my truck serviced, I received a voice mail that my buddy was bailing out due to a general case of the "blahs". Maybe hearing I wanted to dive exclusively in any and all swarms of stinging jellyfish had something to do with this.


I decided to go diving by myself, and all was going well until I got in the water. Then Murphy had something to say about it.


First, my old mask broke, and I've been using my back up. It fogs up like crazy. I tried the trick of rubbing some kelp inside the mask to help keep moisture off the glass. This does NOT work.


At about 15' below the surface, I realize that the crummy visibility is only partially due to the water. That kelp I used left a super slimy residue inside my mask that was creating an effect not unlike when water and oil mix. My eyes were seriously bugging out with how unclear everything was.


I also realized my tank was not filled all the way, and my dive was effectively going to be 1/3 shorter than intended. Sweet!


Back to the mask problem. Being the obstinate and lazy person I am, I decide to take my mask off underwater to try and clean it of its kelpy goo instead of surfacing and dealing with it up top..all while holding my camera rig.


After about 30 seconds of hovering blind, I start to get that feeling of urgency. I start wondering if I am sinking to the depths or floating back up to the surface. I slap the mask on my face and clear it just so I can simply see for a moment. I finally get the thing back on my head and immediately it starts fogging again.


Fine. I can deal with clearing my mask every 20-30 seconds. Annoying, but I can live with it.


And yeah, the visibility is still about 10'. Lovely.


So I start looking for jellyfish. And yes, here comes one now. A whopping 4" wide. Big whoop.


After about 15 minutes of nothing exciting, I start having thoughts of just ending the dive and calling it quits. As I am doing my safety stop at 15', I notice another small jelly. And then another, and another. Soon, I was surrounded by mostly small jellies, but some medium and larger ones as well. Jackpot!


So, Murphy, things do go wrong, but not everything!


Nikon D300

Tokina 10-17mm @ 14mm

1/100sec @ f25, ISO 200

Aquatica Housing and Megadome Port

Sea & Sea YS-110 and YS-90DX strobes on manual power settings

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Taken on August 19, 2009