05 June 2014

Two Solo Dives on the Little Coral Knoll

Got to the beach at 5:45 am.  It was still dark but there were signs of dawn.  I read for a bit, then geared up and swam out to the swim buoy to descend.  I moved East slowly and spotted the Big Rock, then set up my camera and equipment.  I focused on slowing my breathing and did well on air.  Swam 150 degrees from the Big Rock, but I did not find the knoll.

I did spot a White Speckled Hermit Crab holding his shell in a sea rod.

I decided that I had gotten set North and East by the mild North current, so I slowly swam SW and spotted the cushion coral, but could not remember where the knoll was in relation to it.  It was West, as I eventually discovered.  Spotted the little turtle I have been seeing here, but only the one and he wanted nothing to do with me.

I spotted this Spotted Scorpionfish and got the photo.

 Also got a nice shot of this Sergeant Major.

I think this is a Graysby, though it lacks the usual dark spots at the base of the dorsal fin.  Its tail and fins are too rounded to be a Red Hind, which is really my only other option.

I startled this Sand Diver, but got a couple of shots as it swam away.

 I swam out to the Porthole rocks and then back, but just the usual reef fish were there.  At 1000 psi, I left the knoll and headed back to the Big Rock, but I missed it.  I had to surface to see that I was a bit North before I could go back down to search for the rock.  I hung out there until I got down to 300 psi, and then headed West for the beach.

It was a little difficult getting out of the water after the first dive.  Lot of cross currents and undertow near the beach.  I moved slowly and did not fall.  Moving slowly cut into my surface interval, but things worked out.  I got back in the water at 9:25 am and swam out to the swim buoy, then dropped and made a repeat of the first dive except that I did better on air by 10 minutes.  Still took a lot of pictures, but only about half of what I had been taking.

Found a Goldentail Moray Eel on the knoll.  Must have been there on the first dive, too, but I did not see it.

This is a Sand Diver, but a young and really small Sand Diver.
This is a Red Hind.  Notice the squared tail and the straight fins.  

Like the first dive, I stayed on the knoll until I was down to 1000 psi, then I swam back to the Big Rock and stayed there until I had only 300 psi  left.  Then I headed to the beach.  This dive was 146 minutes, much better than the 131 minute dive time on my first dive.

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