26 February 2011

You Can't Take Pictures with the Lens Cap On

The day was gorgeous. Isaac Parker was diving with me. He earned his open water certification with me in November of 2010. We were late getting to the beach and had to park on the West side of the road. We entered in front of Tower 17 and swam out to the reef at 100 degrees, descended, and swam to the Fish Camp Rocks. I left the lens cap on my camera, however, so I got no pictures. None.

From the Fish Camp Rocks, we swam to the Furry Rock, which is really Pillar Coral with extended polyps. Spent a little time there, then headed out looking for the Big Coral Knoll. We were swimming more or less North at 330 degrees, when Isaac spotted a small Green Sea Turtle. He got my attention and we swam to the turtle. We approached it slowly and cautiously, and I backed off when it looked concerned, but ultimately, we got to swim with it for quite a while. Just wish I had gotten some pictures.

Later, on the way back to the beach, I found a French Angelfish lying on the bottom at a cleaning station. The Angelfish left, but I found one of the shrimp on a sea rod and could have gotten a great picture if I had not left the lens cap on the camera.

24 February 2011

Where or Where is the Big Coral Knoll?

Luis wanted to enter the water North of the tower and try to find the Big Coral Knoll, so we did. Look for the Coral Knoll, that is. We did not find it. We found a school of Spadefish and a Hawksbill turtle, but we did not find the Knoll. We swam to the Eastern edge and back without seeing any familiar landmarks.

For our second dive, I wanted to find the Fish Camp Rocks. We know it is roughly South and East of the Big Coral Knoll, so we entered in front of Lifeguard Tower 17 and swam out at 100 degrees. We descended over the reef and continue to swim out at 90 degrees. We missed the Rocks and ended up at the Eastern edge of the reef. It was cold and I was blowing through air. We found a small Green Turtle and an Orange Spotted Filefish, but that was all.

23 February 2011

Brian Learns to Dive his New Gear at Tower 17

Brian Putman came with Luis and I to dive the beach this morning. He had all new gear he just purchased at Underseas Sports, so we started by trying to get him properly weighted. He might have been a bit heavy, but he was able to get down and control his buoyancy with his breathing.

We swam East and ran into the Fish Camp Rocks. We then swam 140 degrees to the furry rock, which was only 30 kick cycles away. The water was cold, and my ears had been plugged up all week. I started getting cold. We saw a nurse shark and a Sharptailed Eel, but no turtles.

20 February 2011

Buoyancy and Navigation Dives

Our first dive was the buoyancy dive. We spent 20-30 minutes in the cold chop trying to properly weight these girls. We bounced around and swapped out weights before descending to examine trim weighting and swim the hoops. I think we got Mia properly weighted, but Dianne still looked a bit heavy. I demonstrated how I wanted them to run the hoops and Mia did very well. She was slow and methodical. She relied on her breathing to set her buoyancy and she did a good job. In addition to being a little heavy, Dianne had a tendency to blow through the hoops rather than work her buoyancy. While I still had lots of air, I was cold and so were the others. We went back to the beach to warm up before making a navigation dive.

We discussed the use of the compass before getting in the water. We also discussed exactly what we were going to do. We dropped at the pin and immediately the girls were counting kick cycles as they swam out on the line. Once we established the distance covered in a kick cycle, we did an out 'n back for 30 kick cycles. The girls ended up West and South of where they should, probably failing to account for the current. They ran the square, but reduced to 20 kick cycles on a side. This time they came out exactly where they should have.

Next, we went out on the reef. I signaled Mia that she should lead and I would follow, but then she started swimmin ENE, so I took over. We went out to the Eastern edge of the reef. No turtles or eels, and just a few reef fish. I was chilled when we got back.