08 March 2013

Drifting North of the Knoll on the First Reefline

I headed for the beach early, despite surface temperatures in the low 50's.  I wanted to get a good parking spot and avoid the congested traffic on A1A.  Although the air temperature was 55 degrees at 8:30 am, the water temperature was 67 degrees and the air temperature was predicted to climb into the 70's by noon.  I took my time setting up, but got in the water by 9:30 am and descended over what used to be the Nursery. 

Taking the tank into the water actually increased the pressure in the tank by about 60 degrees.  Nice.  Well, nice for the first 30-40 minutes, then I had to focus on controlling my shivering.  Not so nice. 

The North current was fairly strong and certainly stronger than I had anticipated.  I got set North of the Knoll.  I spent the whole dive North of the Knoll.

Spotted several Purplemouth Moray Eels, including one who was hunting along the reef and  completely exposed.  I started taking pictures and the eel came towards me.  I wasn't certain what his intentions were and lifted up and back.  He stopped, still out in the open, so I dropped down for some more shots and he headed towards me again as soon as the strobe flashed.  This happened once more, then he ducked under a coral head.

Got a nice shot of a Christmas Tree Worm.  I was shooting with the professional 100 mm macro lens without any diopters, but the photo turned out really well, in my opinion anyway.  Maybe the work with the strobe is paying off and this picture is well lighted.   I found several feather dusters, as well, but was not able to get any good photos of them.  They are too timid and I take too long to set up.
As I left the reef and headed back to the beach, I ran into a Sheepshead Porgy.  These, too, are frequently quite timid, but this one let me set up for two shots before he swam away. 

As I passed over the Nursery and headed up the sand to the beach, I found a small school of yellow tailed fish I did not recognize.  I took  several pictures and went through the Humann/Deloach books, but could not identify them. 

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