29 May 2014

Two Solo Dives on the Ledge of Turtles

Got to the beach early this morning.  Spent 20 minutes reading, then got my gear on and got in the water.  I descended in about 9 ft, but found myself a little nervous.  It was still pretty dark in the water and visibility was terrible over the sand.  I swam to the reef.  Surfaced to see I was way North of the Rock Pile then descended and swam South to find it.  Once I did, I set up the camera and headed up the reef at 120 degrees.

Almost ran over a Guitarfish lying on the sand about 3 minutes from the Rock Pile.  I took several pictures.
I took pictures from many different angles.  He just lay there and made no effort to leave.  I moved slowly and as quietly as I could. When I finished, he was still there. Watching me, but not afraid.
I continued on up the reef.  Spotted the Turtle Rock to the SW, though I did not recognize it until I got closer.  
Swam right to the Ledge and hung with the fish.  Tried taking portraits by closing the aperture more and relying on the strobe to light up the subject. This White Grunt portrait seems better than the picture of the White Grunt getting cleaned above.

 I like this portrait of a Spanish Grunt, but the fish is too big for the picture.  I should have been back just a little.
 This portrait of a Bluestriped Grunt is a nice compromise with the foreground visible but the background blacked out.
When I got to 1000 psi, I headed down the reef.  Got this shot of a Barred Hamlet just past the Turtle Rock.

Had to hunt a bit for the Rock Pile, but I found it.  Hung out there will I got to 125 minutes and 300 psi and then I headed West to the beach.
 The 53 minute surface interval passed all too quickly and I geared up and got back in the water.  This time I swam out on the surface and positioned myself over the Rock Pile.  I couldn't see it until I descended, but I knew I was close.  I headed up the reef.  The Guitarfish was gone.
 I got to the Ledge and found the reef squid I had seen earlier.  I spent a good deal of the dive photographing those three squid.  
As before, I hung out on the Ledge until I got to 1000 psi, then went down the reef to the Rock Pile, where I waited until I was down to 300 psi to head to the beach.  Made 139 minutes. 

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