11 February 2011

Diving Tower 17 with John and Jake

Even though we spent 15 minutes checking weight at the beginning of the dive, Jake had a 7 mm suit and was light by at least 6 pounds. He had to swim to stay down, and it was wearing him out. About 20 minutes into the dive, I gave him my 4 pounds of removable weights, but he was still light. He blew through his air trying to stay down. John did okay weighted as he was at the beginning.

I tried to swim out at 100 degrees, but Jake was chasing everything he saw. I was lucky to just stay heading East. We missed the Fish Camp Rocks and the Big Coral Knoll. We swam, instead, to the Eastern edge of the reef. We had a pleasant dive and saw a number of eels, including what looked like a Gray Spotted Snake Eel, which was just peeking out of the sand on the Eastern Edge of the reef. I left my camera behind, so the pictures posted here are from Luis, who posts most of his pictures on picasaweb. Check out his albums at https://picasaweb.google.com/105396979767702832997.

On our second dive, we added 6 pounds to Jake and kept John the same. I wanted to get in the water to test the weights before we tried the boat in the morning, so we went back in for a short dive, but ended up at the Eastern edge of the reef. The guys stayed with me and we stayed at 100 degrees, but we still missed the fish camp rocks. Saw a couple of eels, though and a small Green Turtle. We got cold after an hour, but everyone enjoyed the dive.

Diving Tower 17 with Luis

On our first dive, Luis and I entered in front of the lifeguard tower and headed out at 100 degrees. We dropped to the sand in 8 ft of water to look for the weight packet that Dianne lost yesterday. We did not find the weight packet, but we ran right into the fish camp rocks. No large shark, but we got the rocks. Spent some time photographing reef fish, then headed back to the beach.

On our second dive, we entered in front of the Tower but swam out at exactly 90 degrees. We were South of the Big Coral Knoll, but we found it. Looked for turtles, but did not find any. Still, we got some good shots of local reef fish. On the way back to the beach, Luis spotted a large Cushion Sea Star like we saw at the Blue Heron Bridge.

We left to fill tanks and meet with John and Jake, who wanted to dive in the afternoon.

10 February 2011

Dianne Loses her Weights

Dianne and I met Luis at the beach. We went in in front of Tower 17 and swam out at 100 degrees. We missed the rock with a man's head but ended up at Fish Camp Rocks, where we found a large Nurse Shark with a Shark Sucker on it. The shark turned around and fled when we started taking photographs. Got some good video, but cannot seem to upload it to Blogger. Then we headed off at 30 degrees hoping to find the Big Coral Knoll, but found a Green Turtle and swam with that. Then I was lost. We headed back.

Luis had to leave after the first dive, but Dianne and I stayed to make a second dive. Dianne apparently lost one of her weight packets swimming out to the reef. She had trouble getting down and staying down. I thought she was just having trouble with the flag. She said nothing until over an hour into the dive. By that time, our frantic searching was useless. We tried to find the Fish Camp Rocks again, but could not. We did not find the Big Coral Knoll and a Green Moray Eel, a Striped Burrfish and a Goldentail Moray Eel. Then we swam in to the beach. We never found her weight packet.

09 February 2011

Diving Tower 17 with Luis and Dianne

Dianne and I met Luis at the beach. After failing to find the Big Coral Knoll or the Fish Camp Rocks this morning, I wanted to dive the area again and try to find these things. We swam out and found several of the Jellys I saw this morning, so we descended to photograph and pick our way through them. We found the rock with a coral head and I headed NE but Luis came to tell me that he found something to the SE. Whatever it was was gone when we got there. We found a small Queen Angelfish that was not quite as shy as most of the Queens and she posed for a few good photos. Dianne spotted a small Hawksbill turtle and we swam with her for a while. We came to the Eastern edge of the reef and I headed North. Somewhere we lost Luis, so Dianne and I went up to find him. We spotted the flag to the SW but could not swim fast enough against the current to get there. Finally, Luis came up, waited for us and we re-descended. Immediately upon getting down, I spotted some reef squid and chased them for some pictures. Then we were on the Big Coral Knoll and swimming with an older Hawksbill. Dianne tapped me to show me a large Green Turtle ahead, but she spooked it by swimming right at it and it took off. I doubled back and found Luis still photographing the second Hawksbill and I joined in. I got some shots of Dianne and the turtle, but the turtle was swimming close to the bottom and it was difficult to get a good angle. I spotted some Spadefish and swam with them then found Luis and we headed SW and ran into the Rocks. By this time I was very low on air and we went back to the beach. There were no jellyfish in the water as we came through the surf.

Diving Solo off Tower 17

I was diving solo, so I could methodically search for the rock with a head, the Big Coral Knoll and the Fish Camp Rocks off Tower 17. I really want to understand the relative positions of those sites and be able to reliably find them. I entered the water North of the Tower and found some odd Jellys in the water. They were not the Portuguese Man-of-War, but a bell shaped Jelly with red or brown dashed stripes and a bright red mass. I swam to the buoy slightly North of the tower, then headed East and ran into the rock with a head. From there, I angled NE, but did not find the Big Coral Knoll. I did find a small knoll, but it was not what I was looking for. When I got to the Eastern edge of the reef, I went South a bit, then West. I did not find the Big Coral Knoll or the Fish Camp Rocks. I did see and photograph some reef squid and a smooth trunkfish.

06 February 2011

Looking for Fish Camp Rocks

Luis called about 7:45 am and we agreed to meet at the beach at 8:30 am. We entered at the Tower and swam due East until we came to an odd looking rock with a coral head on top of it. There, we headed more ENE and found the Big Coral Knoll. We poked around and took pictures then headed West and ran into the Fish Camp Rocks, where we got to photograph some midnight blue parrot fish.

Dianne and I made a second dive. I was hoping to find the Big Coral Knoll at 270 degrees, but ran into a turtle, got some pictures then raced off to get Dianne since the turtle seemed not too concerned. Unfortunately, I could not find the turtle again once I got Dianne. Worse, I completely lost my bearing and had no idea where I was vis-a-vis the tower. We swam around and got some more photos, but nothing special and we did not find either the Fish Camp Rocks or the Big Coral Knoll.