03 March 2012

Guillermo Goes Deep on the backside of Turtle Ledge

Guillermo Fernandez and I went out with Captain Bob and Divemistress Amanda on Scubatyme III Saturday morning.
The trip was scheduled to make drift dives on two shallow (45 ft) reefs, but Bob would drop us in deeper water to complete Guillermo's Advanced Open Water certification.
Bob preferredthat we make the first dive with the others and he would drop us in deep water for our second dive.  So that's what we did.  
I got to take my Canon 5d Mk 1 with a 50 mm lens and the dome port.  I have had very little experience shooting wide-angle.
As you can see, I need more experience, though I really expected to shoot wide-angle on wrecks, not reefs.
I did not take the camera on the second dive, since Guillermo had not previously been to 100 feet.  We went to 116 feet.  I would have preferred taking the macro set-up, anyway.
We saw a Spotted Moray Eel and followed a lobster trap line, though the traps were empty.  We did find a Smooth Trunkfish hanging around one of the  traps.
We also spotted a Scrawled Filefish just hanging out under the trap line.  The current was fairly strong, but it was a fun dive. 

02 March 2012

Diving the Ledge of Turtles

I was late getting in the water, so I descended almost immediately.  I still managed to find the rock pile and the base of the sponge, so I headed for the Ledge of Turtles.
I moved slowly, looking for small things to shoot.  I was using +4 and +1 diopters.  I got pictures of a Juvenile Highhat, a Neon Goby on symmetrical brain coral
 a Star Horseshoe Worm,
and this little Blenny I have yet to identify.  I spotted the mid-way rocks and corrected my bearing to the Ledge, where I found two Green Turtles hovering among lots of fish.  Wish I had not put on the diopters.
 On my second dive, I got rid of the diopters and got a picture of a French Grunt staking his claim to some territory by chasing away another French Grunt.
 I found a Shapnose Puffer, with the painted on eyelashes.
 and a Juvenile Yellowmouth Grouper
 a Yellowtail Damselfish
 a Spotted Burrfish
 a Sand Diver
 and a Neon Goby hitching a ride on an Initial Phase Redband Parrotfish.

Over the sand on the way to the beach, I photograph this zombie looking amphapod living in a perfectly round hole in the sand about the size of a quarter.

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.

29 February 2012

Solo Diving on the Fish Camp Rocks

Wind was about 8 knots from the East with 2-4 ft surf.  I descended just past the swim buoy, found the concrete blocks in about 5 ft of visibility and headed due East looking for the Fish Camp Rocks.  I got a few pictures of a Dusky Jawfish.
I saw no turtles or rays, but I did find the Fish Camp Rocks.   Found an Atlantic Spadefish and got a few shots.
 Got a good picture of an Ocean Surgeonfish
 and an Initial Phase Redband Parrotfish.
 Could not get in front of this Smooth Trunkfish, though he did let me get fairly close.
This Orange Spotted Filefish watched me intently, but did not bolt.
This Spanish Grunt did not move even when the strobe went off.
 I swam with this Spanish Hogfish for quite a while before he let me get this shot.
 The lobster were walking after the heavy winds lately.  Visibility was pretty poor.
This Scrawled Filefish has been around before, but he is not about to let me get in front of him.  
 This Gray Angelfish really did not see me as a threat. He waited while I got my picture and then he swam away.
Got this shot of a Doctorfish on my way back to the beach.  I was chilled by the end of the dive, so I passed on a second dive.