12 January 2014

Luis, Leo and I dive the Ledge of Turtles

      I met Luis and Leo behind Tower 20 at 8:30 am.  Water was flat and visibility was good, if hazy at 15 feet.  We swam out to the reef before descending, then headed ESE at what I thought was 120 degrees, but must have been closer to 100 degrees because we ended up at Nipple Rock.  Fortunately, I recognized the landmark and we immediately turned West and swam to the Ledge.

      We found fish, lots of fish.  Schools of Porkfish and French Grunts, with several small groups of Angelfish and Balloonfish.  Unfortunately, I was continuing to have problems with my Canon 5d Mk II.  It wouldn't focus.  I tried changing the ISO and I tried using the movie strobe to assist the auto focus.  Nothing helped.  Fortunately,  both Leo and Luis had their cameras and those cameras worked.  They got some good shots of the dive, which I have added here.   Leo posts his photos on Facebook:  Leonardo Paez Underwater Photographer.  Luis posts his on Picasaweb:  Luis Monroy Photographs.

      In particular, they got some shots of a battle between a 7 foot long Green Moray Eel and a small Balloonfish.  I watched a large Green Moray Eel swim between me and Leo, while Leo was turned away photographing something or other.  As you can see, my attempts at a photograph was less than successful.  Unfortunately, neither Luis nor Leo saw the eel coming.

The eel ducked into a turtle hole in the reef, where  he found a ballonfish.

The eel went for the Balloonfish, but the Balloonfish blew up and the eel could not swallow him.

The problem was that the Balloonfish could not swim away, either.  Puffed up, the Balloonfish was too big to get out of the same hole he got in.

He was trapped and the eel was holding on.

The three of us were taking pictures and the flashing strobes coupled with the noise from our breathing apparently scared the eel, who let go of the Balloonfish.  But the Balloonfish still could not get out.

 Luis shot this video of the Balloonfish trying to get out of the hole and the eel waiting near the bottom for his opportunity to kill the Balloonfish.

  I broke off a bit of the rock super structure of the reef and the Balloonfish was able to slip away.  I think he lost an eye in the fight, but he swam away

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