30 December 2013

Luis and I dive the Big Coral Knoll

     When I pull up the NOAA coastal forecast on the internet, I tend to forget that the forecast is aimed at big ships and that "coastal" is up to 3 miles out.  The predictions are usually much worse than the weather off our little stretch of beach, and they have been particularly discouraging lately.  I have been spending a lot of time with Ms. Gillian, so I have not been inclined to dash off to the beach for almost a week.  Luis wants to get in the water, however, and I oblige.

       We meet at Tower 17 and take our time gearing up.  The surf is not inviting.  We get in easily enough, however, even with cameras, and swim out towards the blocks.  the water is extremely choppy, so before we even get to the swim buoy, we decide to descend.  Unfortunately, visibility over the sand is terrible and I am lost most of the way out.  Twenty minutes into the dive, I recognize the Green Mountainous Coral just SW of the Perpendicular Rocks, and  finally know where I am.  We head for the Perpendicular Rocks and then to the Knoll.

I get this shot of a Spotted Goatfish just before spotting the Green Mountainous Coral.
 There was a small school of Sergeant Majors on the South edge of the Knoll and I got this shot of one of those fellows.
 Not long after, I came upon this Foureye Butterflyfish.
As we were rounding the SE corner of the Knoll, I got this shot of a Redband Parrotfish.  It sort of looks like he is smiling for the camera.
There are numerous patches of this Brown Encrusting Octopus Sponge around the Knoll and this one looked especially tangled up to me, so I got a shot.
This is the first Red-lipped Blenny I have seen.  Took me a while to identify it, but I'm pretty certain now that it is a Red-lipped Blenny.
 I got this shot of a Sand Diver just as we left the Knoll heading out to the English Garden area.
 Spotted this Scrawled Filefish on the North side of the Knoll as we returned from the English Garden.
 I first spotted this eel in the Perpendicular Rocks as we located the Knoll.  He had been tucked into the rocks, however and I couldn't get a good shot.  On the way back to the beach, we went by the Perpendicular Rocks again and he was out.  I think he is a Goldentail Moray Eel, but I am used to seeing Goldentails with much finer spots.  Humann and DeLoach show a picture of a Goldentail from Dominica, however, that looks very much like this little fellow.  

     Luis and I made it back to the beach and managed to walk up the soft sand without falling on our cameras.  The dive was a full two hours and while the water is getting cooler, it is not miserable yet.  

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