20 May 2011

Mapping the Ledge of Turtles

I got in the water shortly after 7:00 am, swam on the surface to the reef and descended. I wanted to make my first dive before meeting Luis this morning. I found the railling buried in the sand and covered with algae. From the railing, I swam at 120 degrees to adjust for a moderate current set and swam right to the Ledge of Turtles. On the Ledge, I found a small Green Sea Turtle, a Stoplight Parrotfish, a couple of Yellowtail Damselfish and various grunts, highhats and reef fish. I spent most of the dive at the Ledge, but did venture to the South a bit looking for more turtles.

Luis started the second dive with me, but just before we got to the Ledge of Turtles, an O-ring blew on his alternate airsource and he had to return to the beach. I saw him safely to the surface, then returned to the dive. I found the Ledge of Turtles and explored to the East and North some, looking for the Shark Rocks.

Since I was entering the water after 10:00 am, when the lifeguards are on duty, I could not go through the main entry. Instead, I hiked up to the fence, walked to the beach but hugged the fence as I walked North to the hotel beach to enter the water. I don't know if its because they have no jurisdiction over that beach or if they just do not see me, but I have found that the lifeguards leave me alone if I do not enter the water right in front of them. Once past the surf, I fin up and swim out. I descend on the reef, but swim South to the railing. From there, I head to the Ledge at 100 degrees. Actually, I swim at 120 degrees to compensate for the current set. Along the way, I find a small nurse shark just lying in the open. I swim right to the Ledge. Because I am fighting the current, however, I have used a good deal of air. I try to relax and drift over the reef.

When I got out and as I was packing up my gear to go home, the fellow who had parked directly behind me came by and chided me for diving without a buddy. At first I ignored him, but he was insistent. Wasn't I unsafe without a buddy? What if a shark attacked me? He obviously was not a diver and had no idea what he was talking about, but it sure didn't stop him from sharing his opinions with me. He was one arm-chair expert who has rejected the notion that the man on the ground is in a better position to analyze the risks and choose his own course of action than some expert or legislator. Pity.

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