07 January 2011

Exploring Tower 19

Luis Monroy and I decided to check out some new portions of the reef, so we went in at Tower 19, which is the second Lifeguard Tower South of the Pelican. The water was relatively calm, but cold. The air temperature was colder, though, so it felt warmer, at least at the start of the dive.

On the way out, we spent a lot of time in a dense Staghorn Coral Forest. Although it was a clear and sunny morning, the visibility was poor, with lots of back scatter in the water. I found a couple of Frecked Seahares. I think they are mating, though it is a little difficult to tell with a Seahare.

We swam past the staghorn coral and found 3 huge rocks then three rebar driven into the bottom. Just past the rebar, we found several medival looking racks that looks as if they were designed to hold the coral while it was growing.

Not long after that, we came to the end of the reef. While there were lots of reef fish, there was not much that was unusual and the visibility was so poor that I hardly got any pictures. I did find a new fish: a juvenile Creole Wrasse. This is a hamlet sized, blue fish with four distinctive bars on its back.

We swam South along the Western edge of the reef, then headed West to the beach. I was interested in how broad the staghorn coral forest was, but it proved to be not so large. Somehow, we got back to the sand without passing any of the staghorn coral. We did come across the same Sea Robbin we saw a few days ago, however.

By the time we made it back onto the beach, I was shivering from the cold. Not even Luis was interested in a second dive. We both elected to take Saturday off, too.

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