14 July 2014

Couple of Solo Dives Around and finally on the Little Coral Knoll

Got to the beach early and waited for dawn.  Lots of clouds on the horizon, so I decided to just get in and make my way out to the Big Rock. I took pictures of the fish on the Rock, but it was a challenge with all the fry there, as well.  They insinuated themselves in every shot.  Finally, it started getting light and I headed off to the Little Coral Knoll.  I just never got there.  I ended up at some rocks I did not recognize.  I decided I had gone to far South, so I worked by my North.  Nothing.  I took pictures of fish and saw lots of concrete blocks, but even though I wandered around the whole dive, I never found the Knoll.

 Wandering on the flats, I did find this Bluestriped Grunt, who kindly posed in front of a sea fan;
 This pair of Christmas Tree Worms;
 An as yet unidentified Crab;
 This Gray Angelfish;
and this Juvenile Queen Angelfish.

Dive time was 135 minutes; RMV was 0.42 ft3/minute.

I read my Kindle a little during the surface interval, but because the Life Guard was coming, I cut it short, geared up and got in the water. I swam on the surface out past the swim buoys and just floated and continued off gassing.  When the Life Guard came, I went under.  I found the Big Rock and headed South to the smaller rock with the anemone. From there, I swam about 120 degrees, but I did not find the Knoll.  I think I ended up at the Porthole Rocks.  So I came back North.  Still couldn't find it.  Kept coming North and got to Big Rock, again.  By now, I have about 800 psi in the tank, but I decided to swim out at 130 degrees and see if I can hit the Knoll.  And I do.  Now I'm down to about 500 psi but I've finally found the Knoll.  I take a few pictures and head back.

 Got this shot of a Spotted Goatfish;
 This Squat Anemone Shrimp;
This Yellow Jack;
 This Yellowfin Mojarra;
 This young Sand Diver with his mouth open;
 and This Red Grouper.

I leave the knoll with 500 psi and scramble West to the beach.  I'm in about 7 ft of water just off the beach and heading North, letting my tank drain and I see an 8 ft Manatee swim past me.  It turns to come back, and I turn to swim to it and we meet in the middle like we are old friends, but cautious old friends.  She's ugly, but graceful.  Can't imagine what she thinks of me.  I get my camera set up again and try for a picture, but there is too much sand in the water and I can't get focus. Nonetheless, she watches.  So i stick my hand out thinking maybe she would smell it like a dog, but she brushes her whiskers on it.  By now, I'm on fumes and start to the surface and she goes on her own way.

Dive time is 146 minutes; RMV is 0.37 ft3/minute.  And I finally found the Knoll in the last 15 minutes of my second 2+ hour dive.

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