seen while diving at Anacapa channel islands
For an illustrator, this creature is like a mushroom trip of delight.
I'd been on the search for one of these since starting to visit tide pools a year earlier. Unfortunately, I think this one was dead. Still beautiful.
When you learn about sea slugs in California, the Spanish Shawl usually comes up as an example of how insanely colorful they can be, and yet they're fairly rare in the intertidal around the Bay Area. I've longed to see one for some time, but have never struck gold (amethyst?). Luckily, I got to tag along with Brenna and John to Anchor #1, a dive site about a mile off shore of the Breakwater at Monterey, where they are common. Sure enough, there they were, in all their garish, long-tentacled glory!