12 June 2011

Diving the Little Coral Knoll with Half an Open Water Class

Three of the six open water students came out to make their first two dives this morning: Alexis Shaw, AJ Nieto and Adrian Giatan. Dianne and Luis came along to help me. We checked weight at the sand bar, and everyone was able to sink. As usual, by the time we got to the reef, some of the students were having problems staying down. Luis brought his tube/flag with weights, so we fixed the problems and headed out due East from the entry point, which I remember as the correct bearing. My memory notwithstanding, however, we did not find the Little Coral Knoll. We came upon a Hawksbill Turtle sleeping on the bottom. We also found a young nurse shark with the remnants of the purple spots. I teased an Amphipod and he reached out to get my stick but I was not coordinated enough to do so and snap a picture at the same time. We found a small sponge brittle star and saw a lot of reef fish, but we did not find the Knoll. It was a delightful dive, anyway. Adrian hoovered through his air in record time, then went through what remained of Dianne's tank, as well. Got to calm him down.

Back at the truck, we discussed the dive and the students' weight, fine tuned the problems and got ready for the skills dive. We swam on the surface to the swim buoy and descended. Luis and Dianne took the flag and went in search of the coral knoll. They say they saw an octopus. The students and I went through the various skills, then joined them. We swam around until Adrian let me know he was low on air, and we turned back.

Dianne and I made a third dive, but had to wait about 70 minutes to get additional parking time. That's a bummer. Both Adrian and Alexis had quizzes to retake, so we went over the review questions and let them answer the quizzes. After they finished, passed the quizzes and loaded up their gear, Dianne and I still had a 30 minute weight to re-up the parking. Once we did, we went out looking for the Little Coral Knoll. I went due East from the entry point, still certain that would be the way to find it, but we found nothing. I started a U-Pattern search, but that produced no results either. We did spot a spotted moray eel and saw some rather large rocks to the South, but we never found the Knoll.

The nurse shark video is LD and very slow to load. Sorry.
video

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