01 March 2014

Solo Diving on the Yankee Clipper Jacks

       It got cold last night and was chilly this morning. I considered not diving, but I didn't dive yesterday and decided to make at least one dive on the Clipper Jacks.  Now I wish I could have done two dives. I was not cold, just sometimes I got a bit chilly, but it passed. I dropped on the algae at 15 ft and went out slowly.  I got photographs of all my usual subjects, but also

got several nice shots of a Knobby Sea Rod and its 8-arm stars,

 a shy Seaweed Blenny

and a Purplemouth Moray Eel

who at one point came at me like he was going to attack.  I got a little concerned and stuck my strobe in his face, which slowed him down.
       As I got East far enough to have seen the Jacks, I got concerned that I had not seen them.  I swam South for a ways and then surfaced to see that I was still way North.

Just before I found the Jacks, I spotted this Bluespotted Coronetfish and got a few shots.

I got this shot of an Atlantic Spadefish just North of the Jacks.

 As you can see from the photograph, this Night Sergeant was in the Jacks when I got his picture.

Same for this Midnight Parrotfish

and this Smooth Trunkfish.

      I did not make my two hours.  I'm not sure why.  The water was warm and I was not shivering.  There was a current, but it was a mild current and not one that taxed me. I just breathed too much air too quickly.  I was 9 minutes shy of two hours when I surfaced.  

27 February 2014

Can't Get Enough Solo Diving on the Ledge of Turtles

      I did not dive on Wednesday.  It was too cold.  It did warm up, but not until after the Lifeguards had taken the Towers and I could no longer get in the water.  I can't imagine why it is so important to them that I not be allowed to enjoy this sport.  I take pictures, I don't kill anything.  I don't swim fast and there is no danger that I will ram another diver.  I carry the impediment proscribed by the fat men in the red leather chairs, so boaters frequently buzz me as I dive and one of these days they will likely run over me, but the Lifeguards enforce this flag rule, too, and it doesn't seem to bother them that the impediment really is a safety hazard.

      Today, I got to the beach before the Lifeguards, so I swam out to the reef and dropped on the Rock Pile, then headed out at 120 degrees, but spotted the doughnut rock after about 20 minutes, so I headed SW and found the Ledge.  

Found the Red Hind I saw Tuesday and got a couple more shots.

 He was not as timid as he was on Tuesday, but he stayed under the rock.

Also got shots of the Yellowtail Damselfish on the Ledge.

Then I headed out over the staghorn coral to Shark's Rock and Sharks Rocks East.  Found  a small school of Rainbow Parrotfish,

some Midnight Parrotfish,

and a small Nurse Shark.

    Swam down to the Nipple Rock and looked around after the rocks there and found a Greater Soapfish.

Got lots of shots, but it was under a rock and several of those shots did not turn out well.  These two were okay.

I went back to the Rock Pile and waited around until I was at 500 psi, then headed for the beach.  Kept things slow and relaxed.  I made two hours and one minute, but sucked the tank dry.  Probably should have hung around and tried for a second dive, but I was exhausted and a little chilled.

25 February 2014

Another Solo Dive on the Ledge of Turtles

      The ocean was smooth and calm, except for a mild to moderate South Current.  I dropped in 10 ft and swam to the reef.  I was too far South and had to come North a bit to find the Rock Pile.

Shortly after leaving the Rock Pile I spotted this Bandtail Puffer, who paused for a few pictures before tearing off.

I headed out at 120 degrees, but apparently got set to the South.  I missed Turtle Rock and the Mid-Way Rock, but I spotted a doughnut coral head I vaguely recognized and slowly came SW to find the Ledge.

Spent the rest of the dive on or near the Ledge taking pictures, including some of this Red Hind, which is a fish I have not seen before off the beach.

Found a number of Striped Parrotfish on the Ledge

 as well as a number of Redband Parrotfish.

Also found this Intermediate Yellowhead Wrasse on the Ledge

and then found this Juvenile Rock Beauty in the Staghorn Coral just to the Northeast of the Ledge.

I also swam with three Atlantic Spadefish and got this picture of one of them, with the strobe set to light to whole fish.

This time, the water was a little warmer and I was a little better on my air usage and I made the 2-hour dive time, albeit just barely.  I was cold, too, and decided to skip a second dive.

24 February 2014

Solo Dive on the Ledge of Turtles

      The morning was calm and quiet.  A good day to dive.  I descended in about 12 feet of water and swam to the reef.  I looked for the rock pile but couldn't find it, so I surfaced to see where I was, and I had gotten set quite a bit North.  I descended again and swam South until I reached the Rock Pile, then focused on holding a 120 degree bearing to swim to the Ledge.  I got into some staghorn coral about 15 minutes out and knew I was off course, though I did not recognize any landmarks.  I guessed that I had gotten set to the North, so I swam SW and found the Ledge.  I spent most of the dive just hanging out at the Ledge taking pictures and working on the strobe.

 Got several pictures of this Juvenile Yellowtail Damselfish, who was rather curious about what I was doing.

This Three-Spot Damselfish busily protected his territory in the Staghorn Coral.

I found the Christmas Tree Worm pictured on the left just a little North and East of the Ledge.

I also encountered this Sharptail Eel off in the Staghorn Coral.

And this Giant Anemone on the coral and rock structure North of the Ledge.

This Yellow Jack came over to see what I was doing and to see if I was likely to kill something so big he could get fed, as well.

It looked like I might make a 2 hour dive, but I was well short by the time I got to the beach.  I was cold, too, so I passed on a second dive.