Seahurst Park

Date Reviewed:May, 2001
Location:Burien area
Access:Shore (during the day) or night
Site Description:Shore dive, although you could do it as a boat dive. Flat sandy/silty bottom, decomposed wooden barge.
Main Attraction:Various large nudibranchs, Seapen field

Seahurst Park is a beautiful, quite park located in Burien, just north of Three Tree Point (about 10 miles south of Seattle). There are excellent facilities here, although parking can be very limited on nice warm sunny days. The park is open from dawn to dusk, so there is no shore-based night diving here (with all the bio-luminescent Seapens here, that's a shame!) Another nice feature about this site, in addition to the facilities, is that currents here are much less intense than at many other sites. As Seahurst is located on a relatively wide portion of Puget Sound, it is less subject to heavy water movement.

Most of the bottom at Seahurst is muddy, and offers little slope. In fact, you have to swim a ways to get to 50 fsw. There is an old decayed wooden barge at this site that you can find by lining up the two pilings of the "donut" sculpture (don't ask, you will know it when you see it), taking a compass bearing on this line, then following this line out to about 45 fsw. If you get to 50 fsw and haven't seen the barge, you have missed it. The barge looks more like a mound of wood debris and silt than a barge, with metal fixtures sticking a foot or two out of the muck. Be careful of the metal fixture as they will easily snag any dangling scuba gear.

Marine life on the barge can vary greatly. Sun Anemones and Swimming Anemones dot the barge with where ever they can establish a foothold. I have been here when there is very little marine life, and other times I have found Red Octopus, Dogfish, Ratfish, flounder, small rockfish, Kelp and Painted Greenlings, Striped Sea Perch, and Shiner Perch. The main attraction to me, however, are the nudibranchs. The biggest Pink and Alabaster Nudibranchs I have ever seen have been at this site (Pink's as big as 10"). I have also found many other varieties of nudibranchs here, including Striped Nudibranchs and Aeolidia Papillosa. It appears as if the nudibranch population and varieties vary greatly from season to season.

One of the cool things about this site is the vast number of Seapens that call this mud flat home (which would explain the oversized Seapen eating nudibranchs!) In the spring and summer, there are literally thousands of orange Seapens basking in the light currents. Also on the flats you may see Dungeness, Red Rock, and Hermit Crabs (some rather large), an occasional Big Skate, and more flounder and sole than you know what to do with.

This is definitely a subtle site, but I like visiting this site every three months or so. For me it is always an easy, relaxing dive, and very interesting if you take the time to examine the little things.

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