24 January 2014

A Solo Dive to the Staghorn Coral Forest off Tower 18 which ended up on the Ledge of Turtles off Tower 20

I got to the beach a bit before 9:00 am.  I took my time getting in, but descended just past the swim buoy by 9:33 am.  I had decided to head for the Staghorn Coral Forest, but I never got there.  

I spotted this Queen Angelfish as I descended on the reef in from of Tower 19.  I planned to drift South and run into a large area where NOVA University had grown staghorn coral some years earlier. It had been abandoned for some time, but there had been large growths of coral there as recently as last Summer.

 Headed East along the reef and spotted this Juvenile Gray Angelfish.
 Came to some other patches of staghorn coral with the usual assortment of French and White Grunts.
 Saw a squid and got some pictures, but not much life off Tower 19.
 I thought I was drifting South, but I lost focus when I spotted this squid and started following it always hoping for a better shot.
 The squid eventually eluded me and I found this little Bicolor Damselfish who seemed to pose for a picture.
  Followed this Hawksbill Turtle for maybe 10 minutes and he inadvertently lead me to the Ledge of Turtles, though I did not immediately recognize it when I got there.  I usually approach it from the North or, if I'd gotten lost, from the East.  This time, I came in from the South and things just looked different.

This little Spanish Grunt is a regular at the Ledge of Turtles.

I spotted and photographed a hogfish, and watched while I was shooting as it completely changed colors.

Short dive and cold.  I came up with over 500 psi of air, but I was too cold to continue.

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