24 May 2011

Diving the Staghorn Coral Forest

The wind was out of the East and 5 - 10 knots. There was a little surf, but not much. The visibility over the sand was bad, but opened up to about 15-20 feet on the reef. We entered just South of Tower 19 and swam out due East. We found a Staghorn Coral Forest, at one end of which was some sort of scientific equipment. We then swam to the Eastern edge of the reef and went South along the ledge. As we turned West, I found and got some shots of a Blue Hamlet, who had been quite shy initially, but them seemed to enjoy posing for me and then Luis, when he came. We had gone far enough South that we missed the Staghorn Coral Forest as we came back. I found and shot video of a Green Sea Turtle swimming. We got out of the water around 9:30 am.
Luis and I were changing gear and talking, when I watched the Lifeguard and a supervisor pull up to Tower 19. I quickly donned my gear and got in the water. I descended in 10 ft of water and swam over to the staghorn coral forest. I went into the coral, then to the Southern and Northern edges. On the Southern edge I found some odd medieval looking structures near several larger rocks. I swam around the coral trying to get some sense of how big it is and its general shape, but its difficult in such poor visibililty.

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