18 February 2012

Dianne and I diving the Fish Camp Rocks

Dianne and I went in at Tower 17.  We walked out past the sand bar to fin up.  We descended almost immediately, and swam out to the reef on the sand.  I was shooting with the 100 mm macro lens.  We saw a Green Turtle on the algae West of the reef and swam to the Perpendicular Rocks and the Big Coral Knoll.
 I got some good shots of what turned out to be a Juvenile Yellowhead Wrasse.
We also found a Hawksbill Sea Turtle, with whom we swam for 10 - 15 minutes.    
The Hawksbill took us from the Knoll to the Fish Camp Rocks, and we stopped there while the Turtles turned East to the ledge.
  We stayed at the Rocks and found a Spotted Burrfish, who absolutely refused to allow me to photograph his face.    
 I also found a Nurse Shark laying under the SE Rocks.  It, too, refused to let me get a good shot.
I got some other fish portraits, including a Yellowtail Snapper,
a Bar Jack,
 and a Sergeant Major.
On the way back to the beach, I spotted one Flamingo Tongue on top of another.  It did not seem sexual, so I am guessing that the one on top was eating the other.   Then we headed back to the beach, where we saw another Green Turtle.
 A little further along, I found some green Mat Zoanthid and got a few good shots.
Finally, we saw another small Green Sea Turtle on the algae just before we got to the beach.  Both of us were cold and decided to pass on a second dive.

17 February 2012

Thee Dives off Tower 17

Nic wanted to make a navigation dive today, but I arranged to meet her at the beach at noon.  I got there early enough to make two solo dives before she got there.
 I decided to shoot super macro, so I used a +1 and a +4 diopter with the 100mm macro lens.   With the diopters, I had a lot of trouble with the strobe washing out the picture.  I finally set it to -2 rather than TTL and things worked better.
I spent most of my time on the sand, where I found a Sea Robbin and also found a Bluespotted Coronetfish.  I got pictures of the Sea Robbin, but did not get any pictures of the Coronetfish because I couldn't get close enough to focus with the diopters.
I went to the Big Coral Knoll and a Queen Angelfish who hung around while I got some shots.
 Also spotted a large and a small Green Sea Turtle.
I found a shot of a Smooth Trunkfish facing off against a Stoplight Parrotfish.
 I also got a nice shot of a Yellowtail Damselfish and an Ocean Surgeonfish over a Symmetrical Brain Coral.
 My best shots were of a Spotted Cleaner Shrimp on a Giant Anemone.
My second dive was similar.  I descended while still over the sand.  This time, however, the strobe did not work.  The connection was not good at the hot shoe.  .
I swam out to the Fish Camp Rocks and found a Nurse Shark laying on the Eastern edge of one of the Rocks.
 Swam over to the Furry Rock and got a good shot of an Atlantic Spadefish.
 I left the Furry Rock (Pillar Coral with extended polyps) and swam back to the beach to meet with Nicky for her navigation dive.  
Nicky  was a little late, but not much.  We waited a bit while she caught her wind, then geared up.  We swam out to the swim buoy.  She followed me through the square pattern, then she led me through and ended up only about 10 feet from where she started.  She was so focused on the compass, though, that she would have continued swimming on by if I had not stopped her.
We also made an out 'n back trip, then we headed back to the beach.  Along the way I found an Elegant Anemone and got a shot.

15 February 2012

Solo Diving the Fish Camp Rocks

Hard to get going this morning.  The last time I went to the beach was Friday the 10th.  I went with three students who gave in to panic and turned to face the waves standing up, so they could not get out.
The sea was much better this morning, but it was a  little chilly on the beach.  The water, too, seemed cold when I got in, but I ultimately adjusted and had a nice dive.
I swam out underwater and saw two Green turtles on the sand, then found the concrete blocks and headed to the Fish Camp Rocks, but somehow ended up over at the Perpendicular Rocks.  Just as well.   Spent most of the dive on the Big Coral Knoll and got some good pictures.
 Went out to the Fish Camp Rocks and got some pictures of this Townsend Angelfish.  He was cautious, but curious, as well, and it was fun to watch him gather up his courage then run from my bubbles.
 Found several Speckled Hermit Crabs and got some nice pictures of this one.  I was using the strobe, but it is still difficult to see the crab.
 Saw and shot several Seaweed Blennys like the fellow in this picture.  He let me get very close and seemed to be very curious about what I was and what I was doing.  Swam back to the beach from the Fish Camp Rocks.
 The little girl life guard got to the beach 15 minutes early, so I had to duck behind the dune and try to sneak out.  I raced out and forgot to turn my air on.  I noticed that right away when I descended.
 This time, I made the Fish Camp Rocks.  I found this rather large Sheepshead, who kept me company for much of the dive.
 I swam over to the Furry Rock.  The rock seems to be recovering.  It was in pretty bad shape earlier this winter.
 Found and photographed a nice Midnight Blue Parrotfish.
 and got some shots of the juvenile yellowtail damselfish on the Big Coral Knoll.
Also got some shots of a Neon Goby in mid-water.

The Lifeguards caught me at the shower and advised me that I should not dive alone.  We had a short discussion, but I pointed out that I was leaving the beach and would not be back until they had gone for the day.