02 January 2014

Diving the Big Coral Knoll on New Years plus 1

      Early on the morning of December 31st, Ms. Gillian kicked me to the curb.  A few hours later the condo manager called to tell me that he would tow my truck if he ever saw it in her parking lot again.  It all had something to do with lickin' and pokin', which were things I understood made her happy before that morning, but which apparently on that morning were not very good things at all.  I didn't dive on that last day of 2013.  Neither did I feel like diving on the first day of 2014.  By the second day of the new year, however, I was ready.

      At Tower 17, the wind was out of the Northeast at about 10 mph.  The NOAA forecast was for 6 to 7 foot waves, but we had 2-3 foot waves on the beach.  I had no problem at all getting out, even with the camera.  Once past the breakers, it was hard work to swim in the chop, but just hard, not difficult and certainly not dangerous.  I swam out past the swim buoy and descended close to the blocks.  I couldn't see them until I got to the bottom, but spotted them nearby.  Swam up the gunsight and to the Cigar Rock , but missed the Gray mid-way rock.  Spotted the big rocks North of the cut-out coral head and turned North towards the Perpendicular Rocks and the Knoll.  I was having a hard time staying calm.  Lot of surge.  Lot of current. I focused on my breathing and controlling my buoyancy.  I had some trouble breathing down.  I kept wanting to fill my lungs with every breath.  Still not a bad dive.  Eight minutes shy of two hours.  Got some pictures. No turtles.
 Found this Smooth Trunkfish just before the Perpendicular Rocks.  Just below and behind his eye you can see where a spear has entered him.  I couldn't get a shot of the other side, but there was a big chunk out of him.  I can't imagine why anyone but a budding serial killer might try to spear one of these guys.
 Found this juvenile French Angelfish just past the Rocks.  He was intrigued by my strobe.
 As I came up to the Swept Rock, this small school of Porkfish swam past me.
 Just as I got onto the Knoll, I spotted this Orange Spotted Filefish.  These guys are normally very shy, but this fellow just raised his spike and gave me the evil eye.
 This Sand diver opened his mouth quite wide, as if he were yawning.  I got this picture as he was shutting it.
I was hoping to find some of these Dusky Jawfish incubating eggs.  The males hold the eggs in their mouths and will frequently come out into a bit of current to aerate them.  No luck this dive.
 Lifted a rock and found this Reticulated Brittle Star underneath.  
Spotted this Juvenile Yellowhead Wrasse as I was leaving the Knoll.

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