19 January 2011

Wednesday Morning with a Hawksbill Turtle

Luis Monroy and I decided that we will dive and explore the reef off the Fort Lauderdale beach from Tower 14 to the Pelican Grand. We have already found and explored the Coral Knoll just North of Sunrise and the Ledge of Turtles just South of the Pelican Grand. Makes you wonder what else is out there. This morning we agreed to dive just South of Tower 17.

The sea was calm. There was a very slight wind from the South, but the current was from the North. We swam out past the swim buoys and descended and almost immediately ran into a Striped Burrfish. I got a couple of good pictures, but we swam for a while without seeing anything significant to shoot. I did get some pictures of Luis exploring a rock and a juvenile Gray Angelfish.

I spent some time last night and again this morning reading the manual to learn how to shoot video with the Canon 5d and then setting up the camera. I switched from the 100 mm macro lens to a 28-105 mm lens set at 80 mm. I put new batteries in the strobe and in the camera. I thought I was ready. I watched a medium sized Triggerfish follow me, so I turned the tables on it and began shooting video. Everything seemed to work as anticipated and I got some good video. Unfortunately, Blogger will not upload it. You can go to picasaweb and see the Triggerfish video in Quicktime format.

We kept going East and found a group of several large rocks probably 50 yards West of the Eastern edge of the reef. I found a Hawksbill Turtle sleeping on the bottom and she got up to swim with us. We spent quite a little time with her. She was not afraid of us, but swam very slowly and let us box her in while we took pictures. I wish that I had some sardines or squid for her. I shot one video swimming with the Hawksbill, but my camera battery died as I was shooting a second video of her swimming. That video was not saved. It did not get loaded into a file. It was just lost. Fortunately, Luis got some good pictures, which I have included here.

From the rocks, we swam to the Eastern edge of the reef. The sand was at 34 feet. We explored the ledge for a bit, then headed back. I was below 1800 psi when we turned around, but figured that would be plenty, and it was. On the way back, Luis found two Florida Regal Sea Goddesses. Unfortunately, his batteries had died and neither of us got pictures. We saw a lot of reef fish and I swam after a small Green Sea Turtle, who was curious enough to swim in a circle but not so curious that she let me get too close.

I was cold when we reached the beach, but warmed up quickly in the warm air.

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