Located 5.8 miles offshore, 188 feet deep and the source of the infamous 1969 Oil Spill in Santa Barbara
Jack Mackerel swarm around Platform Eureka's invertebrate-covered legs. Photo by: Caine Delacy
Two female Sheephead find shelter on Platform Euerka's crossbeam. The pinkish hue of their scales gives away their femininity- did you know Sheephead spend half of their lives as female and the other half as male? When they transform into a male their coloration also changes, from an all pink body to a black head and tail. Photo by: Caine Delacy
Emily gives the OK after another successful dive documenting the vibrant life found below CA's offshore oil and gas platforms.
Out of the shadows we see a Garibaldi, the California State Fish and also known to be extremely territorial. Here she fiercely guards her home on Platform Eureka. Photo by: Caine Delacy
A Jack Mackerel "bait ball" forms underneath the platform. This behavior is an instinctual defense mechanism, as a lone Mackerel is more likely to be eaten than a large group. Strength in numbers! Photo by: Caine Delacy
Sponges are master filters. They can filter an amount of water 100,000 times their size each day! That means a basketball-sized sponge could filter an entire residential pool in one day. Photo by: Joe Platko
Here we see a female Sheephead circling the encrusted beam of platform Eureka.
Over time the Platform structure becomes encrusted with algae, tunicates, hard and soft corals, anemones and sponges; providing the foundation and primary production for this unique micro-ecosystem.
Here we spot California's state fish, the Garibaldi, finding a nursery-like shelter on platform Ellen. He is covered in blue spots which indicate that he is a juvenile, and not a fully grown, totally golden orange adult.
Jack Mackerel bait ball on the legs of Platform Eureka. Bait Balls like this one occur when small fish swarm in a tightly packed spherical formation about a common center. Bait fish like these perform this behavior when they are threatened by predators. Photo by: Caine Delacy
Both Platforms A and C drop to a depth of 188 feet, limiting divers to explore the rig from a safer depth of around 90 feet.
Nudibranchs are picky eaters - individual species may eat only one kind of prey, and obtain their bright colors from the food they eat. These colors may be used for camouflage or to warn predators of the poison that lies within.
Swarms of small fish feed on plankton that upwell around oil platforms. The unique vertical structure of an oil platform provides a great delivery rate of this primary food source.
A Tree fish rests among the choas on oil platform Euerka.
One diver reflects, that diving on these platforms is like "being suspended upon the skeletal remains of the Empire State Building, floating effortlessly from one anemone encrusted cross beam to the next."
Platforms Ellen and Elly are unique because they are a double platform, connected by an above-water bridge. Platform Ellen is a drilling platform while Platform Elly houses equipment for separating the oil, natural gas and produced water.
Platform Gina's 90ft long legs serve as a home for algae and invertebrates such as barnacles, corals, and oysters to attach; the accumulation of attached marine life in turn provides intricate structure and food for assemblages of fish.
When the ocean current encounters a vertical structure, it can create a plankton-rich upwelling that provides a reliable feeding spot for small fish such as sardines and minnows, which draw in predators like sea lions.
Once anemones, algae, barnacles, and coral begin to attach themselves to Platform Gina, sheep crabs and other crustaceans arrive for a seat at the table.
The Strawberry Anemone reproduces using a method called "longitudinal division." Put simply, the animal will produce clones of itself that may cover the space of a coffee table. As a result, you find Strawberry Anemones in large clusters with all of the animals being descendants of one original anemone.
Many sea lions are attracted to Platform Gina because it gives shelter from tidal currents and predators, and increases feeding potential.
Converting Rigs to Reefs provides a silver lining to the realities of offshore oil and gas development
Found 4 miles offshore, in a blue ocean setting, this structure offers a marine refuge for sea lions, dolphins, anemones, crabs, but perhaps more importantly the endangered rockfish recognized as over-fished in the state of California.
Blacksmith school, sometimes in large numbers, typically swimming in open water well above the ocean bottom, feeding on plankton. During their resting hours from sunset to sunrise they gather in closely knit aggregations in caves, under ledges, and even in the crevices on offshore oil platforms.
To camouflage themselves, sheep crabs decorate their shells with barnacles, bryozoans, hydroids and algae.
Carnivorous and always hungry, sea anemones are not plants, but silent slow moving predators that will devour any small animal careless enough to stray within reach of their tentacles.
Platform Gina has life extending from the surface to the ocean floor, 95 ft down.