23 June 2014

Two Solo Dives on the Big Coral Knoll

I got up at 4:00 am, walked the dog, fed the Betas and made coffee.  By 5:30 I was on the road to the beach and descending at the sea rod by 6:27.  I took some shots of floating sea weed.  In the darkness of early dawn and on the 3 inch screen, they looked stunning.  On the big monitor at home they are pretty bad.  I deleted them all.  Too bad.  I thought I really had something.

I worked my way from the sea rod to the reef and then headed South looking for the blocks.  Found a couple of Green Sea Turtles foraging in the algae.

I also found a large rectangular rock with a number a Arrow Crab and two or three Banded Coral Shrimp.  I got a picture of the shrimp and one of the crabs.  When I got home, I noticed that the Banded Coral Shrimp I photographed had only one banded arm.

Then I noticed that the Arrow Crab I photographed was playing with a banded arm.  Hard to imagine the spindly arrow crab ripping the shrimps arm off, but I don't know how else to explain it.

I also noticed in that set of photographs that I had gotten pictures of a Peppermint Shrimp.  All I saw at the time was the white/silvery "V" in the dark.

I continued South looking for the blocks, but was concerned that I must be lost since I wasn't seeing them or anything familiar.  I was on my way to the surface to see where I was when I spotted the blocks about 10 yards to the South.

From the blocks, I made my customary swim through the gun sight, over Irish Thighs, past the sponge, over the cigar rock and turn North at the Gray Mid-way rock.  On the the Perpendicular Rocks, the Swept Rock and then the Knoll.  Lots of fish out this morning. Young French and White Grunts.  Nice to see the numbers.  I stayed on the Knoll, just drifting.  Got this shot of a Juvenile Creole Wrasse.

Also got this shot of the Rock Hind sunning himself.

At 1200 psi, I headed back to the Gray Mid-way Rock and then West to the beach.  I stopped at the blocks and ran the clock out to 125 minutes, then swam in the next 7 minutes.

I was cramping pretty badly when I got out after the first dive, so I drank one of the sports drinks.  It apparently did some good as I had little trouble with cramps on this second dive. The dive itself was really a repeat of the first dive except I made a few more laps of the Knoll as this dive lasted 10 minutes longer.  On the other hand, 142 minutes is a far cry from 160 minutes, which I what I was shooting for.  Photographed some little shrimp I did not see all that well.  Turned out it was a Peppermint Shrimp and the shot was good.  Got a few more shots of the Rock Hind sunning himself, too.

Found this ambitious White speckled Hermit Crab.
As you can see, this shell is much bigger than he really needs or can carry, for that matter.

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