Afternoon wildlife break: Baitfish swirling off Seacrest

December 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

More news in the pipeline – but first, in case you need de-stressing, a beautiful sight from underwater, just off Seacrest, at the popular dive spot Cove 2, courtesy of “Diver Laura” James, who explains: “We have big schools of baitfish all winter in Puget Sound, and it is often very hard to capture the ‘feeling’ of diving with them on film, because they are extremely skittish. This dive was done with a rebreather (so no bubbles), which allowed me to be much less ‘scary’ to the fishes.”


  1. Very cool!!! Calmed me right down and so well done!

    Comment by ensignmarvin — 4:17 pm December 18, 2012 #

  2. Could the species be identified? They almost look like salmon parr…maybe humpies…?

    Comment by Peter — 4:50 pm December 18, 2012 #

  3. Reminds me of that scene in Finding Nemo…Which way to the East Austrailian Current? :)

    Comment by N.A. Neighbor — 6:15 pm December 18, 2012 #

  4. Spectacular family! I especially loved the final moments when they swarmed straight for Laura. I also like the Seattle-at-night closing shot. Thank you for letting us be there while still cozy and dry.

    Comment by Dana Greenlee — 9:48 pm December 18, 2012 #

  5. Herring.

    Comment by marty — 10:06 pm December 18, 2012 #

  6. I second Peter’s request for species ID; I also wondered if salmon juveniles, or?? Anchovies? Smelt? Other? Gorgeous no matter the species.

    Comment by Chuck and Sally's Van man — 10:33 pm December 18, 2012 #

  7. Beautiful video! Thank you so much for posting this, Diver Laura. Peace to you.

    Comment by m — 12:06 am December 19, 2012 #

  8. So glad to have been able to share this with everyone, i’ve been trying to get this footage for literally years. Just floating around with them brings me so much joy :)

    It makes me very happy in my heart to hear that folks like it!

    I think they are Herring, but as it is not my area of expertise, deferred to “bait fish”. They do not have the ‘shimmy’ or noses of sand lances.

    I have never seen huge schools of Salmon out here, that would be amazing.. Usually only in the 50-100 fingerlings or a larger specimen hunting these bait balls (as we call them).

    I have seen large salmon hunting at this same site but usually down in the 100′ range. As you can see in the video, this is in the shallows, between 0-10′.

    Out in Rosariao strait when we were decompressing after a dive on a shipwreck (the stern of the T/S Bunker Hill) back in the early 90′s, we were engulfed in a massive school of silvers… We had a a good bit of deco time but watching the salmon passed a fair bit of it like a blink.

    Comment by DiverLaura — 12:25 am December 19, 2012 #

  9. More info about our nearshore forage fish can be read about here:

    I have an email out for help with identification but i’m now leaning towards surf smelt or anchovy.

    Comment by DiverLaura — 12:43 pm December 19, 2012 #

  10. The music goes so beautifully with this video…loved it! I always look forward to watching your videos. Thanks again for sharing such a wondrous sight.

    Comment by sun*e — 9:23 am December 20, 2012 #

  11. Ahhh … that was really calming and beautiful. Thank you for the film, Laura, and thank you for posting it, WSB.

    Comment by Ms. Picky — 11:37 am December 20, 2012 #

  12. Got word back that they are Herring, just as Marty said :)

    Comment by DiverLaura — 1:17 am December 28, 2012 #

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