12 August 2014

Solo Dive on the Big Coral Knoll

I go to the beach early and got a place to park.  Could have come an hour later and gotten the same parking spot.  I geared up and got in.  Had to hike a bit to get on my 100 degree bearing, but then I descended and went slowly East. I found and tried to photograph a Sea Robin but none of my pictures came out.  Couldn't get the strobe to fire.  Too dark to get a good exposure and the camera did not want to trip the shutter.  My computer was not reading the pressure transmitter.  I thought about turning the dive, but decided against it.  I would deal with these problems during my surface interval.  Indeed, as it got lighter, the strobe fired just fine, so I'm gland I did not get out.  Still had the computer problem, but I figured I was good for a 130 minute dive or more.  I'd just monitor the time instead of the pressure.

On the way out to the blocks, I came across the large shell I saw on the 6th and the 11th.  I still don't know what it is.

Once I found the blocks, I headed up the gun sight, past the Cigar Rock and up to the Gray Mid-way Rock. Then North past the Perpendicular Rocks and the swept Rock to the Knoll.  

Got some good shots of a couple of Green Sea Turtles that were hanging out there letting the smaller fish clean then and their shells.

Found and photographed a Goldentail Moray Eel.

I spotted and followed 5 squid. two of whom looked as if they were engaging in squid porn.  I don't know enough about a squid's anatomy or their reproductive practices to competently identify their behavior, but these two were spinning around and bumping up against each other with what I can only describe as passion.

Turns out that reef squid typically form male/female pairs to mate.  Males may copulate many times in a short period before they die.  The females are semelparous, that is they lay their eggs and then they, too, die. (http://eol.org/pages/455703/details). 

I also found a Flounder just off the Knoll.  I think it is a Peacock Flounder, but I really do not know.

I headed down the reef at about 125 minutes and came up inside the swim area at 153 minutes. Got back to the truck and my mechanical gauge showed 500 psi still in the tank, but I don't know how accurate that was. There was a screw loose on the transmitter, which looked as if it could have flooded, but I needed a 3/4 inch open end wrench and a phillips driver to find out. When I got home, I pulled the cover and the transmitter was dry.  I put things back together and it seems to work.

Dive Time was 153 minutes; RMV was 0.35 ft3/minute.  

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