29 March 2013

Diving off the Yankee Clipper

Spoke to Lifeguard Bill last Sunday, who suggested that we dive off the Yankee Clipper using the South Beach parking lot.  I pointed out that the sign off Tower 19 relegated "non-motorized watersports" to the area between Towers 15 and 20.  He told me not to worry about it so long as there were two of us and we had a dive flag.  So Luis and I agreed to meet at the south beach lot.

 I think the "cells" above are White Encrusting Zoanthids, except that they are not white.

Also found and photographed a small White Speckled Hermit Crab in a medum sized Conch shell.  He didn't look big enough to move the shell, but he did just fine.  Got a shot of the little Seaweed Blenny below.

The parking lot was virtually empty when We geared up and got in.  There were no signs prohibiting diving.  We walked out quite a ways, but there was no discernable sand bar, just sand and deeper water.  We descended into algae and sand in 14 feet of water.  Since we were exploring, I was using a diopter, though I was still using the 100 mm macro lens.

Found a Bearded Fireworm in the algae and spent some time taking photos.  Difficult to get a good shot of him with all the algae around.  Hard to see all of him, something was usually in the sand.

Just East of the algae was a patch of sand that looked like the end of the reef.  We kept going, however and found some limestone ledges not unlike the area just East of the concrete blocks off Tower 17.    Photographed some Fire Coral on the ledge

 and a Balloonfish  in one of the holes. 


 Spotted a rather large Spotted Scorpionfish still on the algae, but right on the edge of the sand between the algae and the limestone shelves. 

Found a number of lobster under several large flat rocks on top of the limestone.  Five or six under each rock.

Also found a Spotted Cyphoma, a relative of the Flamingo Tongue, like the Fingerprint Cyphoma.  Haven't seen many of these this year.

The limestone shelves had numerous holes and some small swim-throughs with lots of larger fish, including some Rainbow Parrotfish like the guy to the left. 

It was an interesting dive and certainly worth exploring some more.  There is a lot of life here.

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