26 January 2011

Exploring the Beach off Tower 16

Dianne and I drove to the beach to meet Luis, who was waiting patiently for us. We parked mid-way between Towers 16 and 17, and entered the water there. We swam essentially due East and found some rocks and staghorn coral patches on the way to the Eastern edge of the reef. Along the way we saw the usual array of life, but also several Freckled Seahare, a Blunt spined Brittle Star and some Varigated Sea Urchin. We dropped to the sand at the end of the reef and it was 35 ft deep. On the way back, we found a huge Florida Horse Conch devouring a Conch, shell and all. It was a long dive and I was a little chilly at the end, but dried off and warmed up quickly so that Luis and I could do a second dive.

On our second dive, we entered the water a bit more to the North, but not quite to Tower 17. We swam out due East and found the same huge Florida Horse Conch again. When we dropped to the sand, we swam even more to the North and came up on the backside of a Big Coral Knoll. It was difficult to get a good idea of the size and shape of this knoll, but it was raised and it had lots of coral.

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