03 January 2014

Solo Dive on the Ledge of Turtles

      I decided to drive up to the Ledge of Turtles, thinking I could sneak onto the beach through the Pelican for a second dive.  The air was cold:  about 61 degrees.  The water was a lot warmer:  71 degrees by my Oceanic VT3 computer, which has consistently read about 3 degrees lower than the real temperature.

      I swam out to the beginning of the reef and looked for my starting spot.  It started out as the railing from a smaller motor boat and then was an odd looking sponge.  I found neither this day.  What I did find was a pile of larger rocks and I figured that could be all that was left.  I descended, set my gear and headed off at 120 degrees, but the current made it difficult to hold a course and for whatever reason, I missed the Ledge on the way out.

I wandered around taking pictures.  I got these two photos of the same Scrawled Filefish.  The one on the left did not have nearly as much stobe as the one below.  The day was bright and sunny, so it wasn't much of a problem, but it does illustrate the difference in color that a strobe can make.

I swam over large piles of staghorn coral and found this Townsend Angelfish just East of Shark's Rocks East.
I swam up to Shark's Rock and then headed South to Nipple Rock, where I turned West to swim to the Ledge.  I found this Butter Hamlet among the staghorn coral clusters along the way.
I found this Queen Angelfish just yards from the Ledge of Turtles, though I could not see it at the time.
 I continued swimming West and swam right to the Ledge of Turtles.  A lot of the coral is gone and much of the sub-structure on the reef is broken or battered.  Still, it was nice to see it.  Still lots of fish, including this Squirrelfish and the French Grunts behind it.
I have not yet been able to identify the Grouper on the left, but it was hanging around the East side of the Ledge and just watching me.  

     The entire dive lasted just two hours.  I was wearing a 5 mm sleeveless, hooded vest with a 1.5 mm long-sleeved shirt with a pair of 2 mm shorts.  I was cold, but no worse than a lot of dives, at least until I got out of the water.  The air temperature was so cold and the wind was bitter.  I hid in the truck, but still could not warm up.  After an hour, I just went home.

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