01 March 2012

Solo Diving off Tower 17

The wind was about 8 knots from the East with a moderate surf.  I descended before the swim buoy and found a purplemouth moray at the concrete blocks.
 I passed the coral heads and the Irish Thighs but got set to the North by the current and ended up at the Perpendicular Rocks.  Along the way, I encountered 3 reef squid and got some shots with the 100 mm macro lens, but I couldn't get as close as I needed to be to avoid backscatter.  
I moved slowly, looking for and photographing blennies and other small critters, like the Split-crown Feather Duster.
 I also found a Juvenile Queen Angelfish, who liked to hide underneath the skirt of the larger of the Perpendicular Rocks.
 Found several Yellowtail Damselfish, but most were too shy to photograph.
 This Butter Hamlet did not mind posing.  I left the reef with 1100 psi and headed for the beach.
My navigation was better on my second dive.  I descended at the reef and maintained a 90 degrees course to the Fish Camp Rocks.  Along the way, I spotted this Pederson Shrimp.
Once at the Fish Camp Rocks, I found a large Nurse Shark, but did not bother trying to get any pictures because of the poor visibility.  This Black Sea Bass was pretty curious, but the strobe spooked him.
 I spent a lot of time getting pictures of Blennies and portraits of fish.  I tried to reduce the aperature so that the strobe would light up the fish and make the background black.  I did not have much luck.
After I encountered a small school of Chub, I left the Fish Camp Rocks for the Big Coral Knoll, where I saw
Christmas Tree Worms,
 a Black Grouper,
 a Bluestriped Grunt,
 a Sergeant Major,
 a Striped Parrotfish, and
a Rough File Clam.  I left the Knoll with less than 1000 psi.

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