10 January 2014

Two Dives off Tower 17 with Vaughn De Agrella (and one short dive while Vaughn went back to shore to fix his gear).

      Vaughn was late getting to the apartment and did not get his weight packets, so he is carrying 8 lbs in the single pocket on his BCD.  He got down and swam okay, but tended to list to the one side.  We stayed close since visibility was less than 3 ft for most of the dive.  I took my camera, but it could not focus and seemed to have problems with the mirror.  Something similar happened last time I dived.  I changed the battery on shore and that seemed to solve the problem, but maybe not.  No good pictures today, anyway.  Can't see much of anything.  Missed the blocks, though we should have descended right on them.  Ran into the Fish Camp Rocks and went from there to the Big Coral Knoll, then back and to the beach.

 Part of the star coral on the Big Coral Knoll.
 French Grunt along the South side of the Knoll.
A Sergeant Major on the South East corner of the Knoll.
Finally, a Flamingo Tongue on a Sea Rod.

      I took more pictures than these four, but these are the best of the lot.  Most of them are out of focus and filled with back scatter.

      We decided to make a second dive, but I decided not take my camera on that dive.  Vaughn failed to check his tank before getting in for our second dive, however, and when he turned the gas on  in the water, the O-ring failed to seal and air blew out.  I closed the valve and he went back in  to fix it.  By the time I got to shore, Vaughn was ready to go again.  So we did, except that Vaughn did not take any weights since he was troubled by the weight all on one side of his BCD.  We got through the surf and I descended at the swim buoy, but Vaughn could not get down.  He swam back on the surface and I came along much more slowly.  It was difficult getting in and out of the surf, but without the camera I made it easily.

      After the first two failed attempts, we finally got out and descended.  We swam East onto the reef, but visibility was very bad and we couldn't see much.  Fifteen minutes into the dive, Vaughn let me know he was down to 1,000 psi, so we turned around and headed back to the beach.  This time I got out standing up on my first attempt.

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