Dive 4 - Anvil Island East Bioherm, April 30, 2016.


Rare Double Osculum on Cloud Sponge - Aphrocallisties Vastus. 
Depth 265ft-drop cam frame capture.

This Fourth dive in the UCBC Exploratory Dive series was the first dive ever on the Anvil Island East Bioherm in Howe Sound. This glass sponge bioherm was discovered only two years ago via a joint Citizen Science project involving UCBC. A homemade drop camera identified this bioherm as the largest known bioherm in Howe Sound. The Anvil Island East Bioherm is also quite deep as the glass sponge coverage begins at 250ft. 

Once again, this challenging dive was made possible through the combined efforts of a large number of UCBC Volunteers, including divers, phototographers and surface support personnel. Sea Dragon Charters donated the use of their well-equipped dive boat, The Topline, to host the technical divers while the dive from the Skyliner was with UCBC volunteers.

The primary goal for this UCBC Exploratory Dive was to photograph and video the fish life in and around the sponge bioherm, and note the presence of lost prawn traps. The dive plan called for exploration of the main section of the Anvil Island East Biohem as it snakes eastward at a depth of 255 to 280 feet. 

This glass sponge bioherm lies within an area frequented by commercial prawn fishermen. Drop camera footage has revealed significant damage to the sponge from dragged and lost prawn traps. 

Photographic evidence of this damage will be critical for obtaining protection of glass sponge bioherm sites in the future.