07 February 2012

Dianne and I dive the Big Coral Knoll

Dianne and I got a late start in large part because I discovered a short in the strobe cord and had to replace it.  We got to the beach and descended on the reef about 9:00 am.  I tried to reach the Fish Camp Rocks, but ended up at the Swept Rock, so we toured the Big Coral Knoll.
 No turtles today, not even the Greens.  The strobe worked, though, and I got some good pictures.  For example, I really like this photograph of the French Grunt eyeing the Juvenile Yellowtail Damselfish   
 I also got some good shots of a Spanish Hogfish, who was following a Sharptail Eel who was hunting on the Knoll.  In fact, there were several fish, including a Slippery Dick, following the eel and hoping to claim some part of the eel's prey for themselves.
 Got several shots of this Queen Angelfish, who would swim off, but then come back to see what I was doing.
 The Scrawled Filefish was not as curious, but he did let me get close enough for some good shots.
 We swam over to the Fish Camp Rocks and found two Porcupinefish under one of the bigger rocks on the East side of the rocks.  He had an odd smile.   Also got a picture of a large Sand Perch while swimming back to the beach.
Dianne fell on the beach in shallow water, and even though I dropped my gear to help her, the life guard had to come down to help me pick her up.  Pretty sad that she and I could not get her back on her feet. The Life Guard was nice enough about it though.

06 February 2012

Diving Solo on the Big Coral Knoll

 Dianne came over this morning to go diving, but her heart was not in it.  It took forever to get her into a plush skin Matt had loaned her.   When we got to the beach, it was one thing after another, so I took her home and then came back to make a solo dive.
There was a moderate East wind and some 3-4 ft breakers at the sand bar, but I got out easily enough.  Swam to the reef and descended over the old block.  Found a few blennies to photograph, but the connection had slipped on the hot shoe and I had no strobe.  Still, they came out pretty well.
 Caught a rather large Scamp trailing me and very curious about what I was doing.
 Swam up to a Purplemouth Moray Eel who was out hunting.  I got a couple of shots while he was still exposed, but he quickly headed under a coral head.
 I ended up on the Big Coral Knoll, even though I had thought I was headed due East to the Fish Camp Rocks.  Well, at least it was someplace I recognized. Found a juvenile Yellowtail Damselfish on the Knoll and got several good shots.
 I also ran into a Hawksbill Sea Turtle.  First one I have seen for a while.  The turtle was not concerned about me and we swam together for 10-15 minutes.

 I also spotted a large Green Sea Turtle on the Knoll, but never got close enough to get a good shot.
 I spotted a Giant Anemone with a Squat Anemone Shrimp on top, but by the time I got a shot, the shrimp had disappeared into the tentacles.
Ran into another Purplemouth Moray on the way back to the beach.  I was chilled after 86 minutes in the water.  I was wearing my rash guard, a sleeveless vest and some 1 mm shorts.  Still, it was nice to be out of the wetsuit.

05 February 2012

Marc Langenol's First Open Water Dives

Marc was on time to the apartment, but Rita did not show.  We waited 15 minutes then headed to the beach.  Of course, when I got to the beach I noticed that I did not have my dive flag, so we headed back to the apartment for the flag.  When we got back to the beach, Luis and Leo were waiting for us.
 We geared up and got in.  There was a mild breeze from the East and some surf, but it wasn't too bad.  We swam out to the reef to descend. Visibility was about 3 feet over the sand and opened to maybe 15 feet on the reef.   Marc had a little trouble with his ears, but got it worked out.  We headed East.  
 Did not see the Little Coral Knoll, but saw a lot of familiar corals and rocks, including one coral that had been worked over by some Parrotfish.  We were close to the Knoll, but it didn't matter in our limited visibility.  We didn't see it.
 I could hardly see Marc in the haze.  We did see an octopus duck under a coral head.  He inked us and I got some shots of the ink hanging in the water, but I was too slow to get a shot of the octopus, itself.
 Marc was low on air before we got to the end of the reef, but we must have been close.  We turned and came back, again looking for the Knoll.  We didn't find it.  He was down to 800 psi and I had him use my alternate air source as we swam in.  He was having some trouble staying down, as well.
We were out for about an hour to warm up, then made a second dive.  I put another 4 pounds on Marc:  12 pounds.  Marc and I got in the water first to go through his skills.  He did fine.  Luis and Leo joined us and we headed East.
This time, we spotted the bucket, but swimming at 120 degrees did not bring us to the Knoll.  We did find some Staghorn Coral with White Grunts and several juveniles.
 I also spotted a Banded Coral Shrimp under a coral head and got a pretty good shot.
Marc and I turned back when he got low on air.  This time, however, I did not put him on my air until he was down to 500 psi.  We were still on the reef when we buddied up to share my air.  
 I got a good shot of an Intermediate Gray Angelfish, but swimming together, we could not get very close to the fish.
 We also found some lobster under a coral head.
Marc seemed to have better control of his buoyancy this time and we swam together pretty well.  We got to the beach about 20 minutes before Luis and Leo came in.