07 March 2014

Solo Dive to the Big Coral Knoll shooting a Wide-Angle Lens in Hazy Visibility

      The weather was nice yesterday, but I was tired and just could not bring myself to dive.  I'll probably regret that decision later.  Today was a different story.  I got up early, had coffee and set up the camera.  Not much surf, but there were large rollers that came in just one or two at a time. I swam to the blocks and descended. The visibility was hazy and it was a bad day for shooting wide-angle, but too late to change once I was in the water.  Descended at the blocks and swam up the gunsight to the Gray Mid-way Rock, then past the Bubble Rocks

past the Perpendicular Rocks,

past the Swept Rock

and then over to the Big Coral Knoll.

Made several tours around the Knoll and found a little Green Sea Turtle I followed as it surfaced to breath then returned. 

Swam off the Knoll and past the Helmut-Head Rock at about 1300 psi, heading
to the Fish Camp Rocks.

     I went back down the gunsight and to the beach.  Sucked the tank dry at 2 hours and surfaced.  I swam to the beach but had trouble getting out.  The ledge was steep and the waves were coming from all directions.  I almost lost it several times, but managed regroup and eventually to climb out without falling.  

      The 3 larger panorama shots above were created using Canon's Photo Stitch 3.1.  The top photo of the Bubble Rocks merges two images and does so pretty seamlessly.  The middle image of the Big Coral Knoll also merges two images, but not nearly so seamlessly.  Finally, the bottom image is made up of three images and has one pretty obvious seam with a second not so obvious but discernible seam.

05 March 2014

Short Tank Dive on the Nursery

I used the black tank, which had only 2100 psi in it after being filled only 2 days ago.  Must be a bad valve. Anyway, I decided to dive it because the surf was up, seas were choppy and visibility was none too good.  Wore my D6, because I forgot the D6i at home.  Wouldn't have been too bad except that the D6 did not record this dive for some unknown reason.  I used the guage on the tank before and after the dive and I was following closely, so the other numbers are pretty accurate.  I swam out to the Swim Buoy line and descended.  Found the Sea Rod, but it has taken a beating.

I found a bandtail puffer and was taking its picture when I noticed a second puffer lying in the sand.  At first I thought the second puffer was injured, but apparently no as it swam away once I started taking pictures.

I found a Smooth Trunkfish and was concentrating on some shots.

A Triggerfish took advantage of the situation and bit me, not once, but twice.

Pretty much wherever I looked, I found these perfectly round holes that looked like they were drilled recently.  I found these odd looking creatures, which I think are some kind of amphipod.

Tried to get a head on shot of this Yellow Sand Ray swimming along the bottom, but he turned away as I was shooting.

Found this Seaweed Blenny near the concrete blocks.

I spent the entire dive checking out the Nursery that existed in the Summer of 2012, all 70 minutes of it.  Not much left after Sandy.  I was cold by the end of the dive, but the computer said the water temperature was 77 degrees.  I think the computer lies.

04 March 2014

Solo Dive on the Ledge of Turtles

Slept in til 6:00 am, so I was a bit late getting to the beach.  I swam to the Rock Pile, then swam along a 120 degree bearing until I spotted the large sea plume with three small dark coral heads just West of the Mid-Way Rock and Turtle Rock. I swam up to the coral heads and got back on my 120 degree bearing to Turtle Rock and the Ledge.    

I got this nice shot of a Christmas Tree Worm;

got some more shots of the Red Hind;

also got a shot of some French Grunts going mouth to mouth;

and got several shots of Striped Parrotfish.

I just happened to look up and catch this shot of two Atlantic Spadefish swimming along side-by-side over the coral heads on the East end of the Ledge

This Greater Soapfish was hanging out under one of the two coral heads and came out to let me get this and a few other shots.

Hung around the Ledge for most of the dive and then headed back to the Rock Pile at 1000 psi.  Got this picture of a Three Spot Damselfish on some Staghorn Coral on the way back to the Rock Pile.

I got to the Rock Pile after about 300 psi, so I just hung out trying to relax until I got under 400 psi, then I went West to the beach.  Managed to make two hours, but only by a minute.

03 March 2014

Solo Dive on to the Big Coral Knoll

Got to the beach about 8:00 am and got in the water.  Swam out to the swim buoy and descended.  Headed 100 degrees to the concrete blocks, but got set to the North.  Found the blocks quickly and then headed up the gunsight to the Cigar Rock and the Gray Mid-Way Rock, where I turned North and swam to the Perpendicular Rocks, the Swept Rock and the Knoll.  Stayed on the Knoll for most of the dive.  Lots of fish including

this Initial Phase Blackear Wrasse,

this Rainbow Wrasse,

this Sand Diver,

this Sergeant Major

and, of course, a Green Sea Turtle.

I spotted these two small French Grunts eyeing one another and by the time I got over near them, they were going at it.  They swam apart when the strobe fired, but were back attacking one another just a few minutes later.

I got a nice shot of a Cymothoid Isopod attached to this Doctorfish.

I also got this shot of a Stoplight Parrotfish getting cleaned by a Neon Goby.

My computer recorded the warmest water temperature as 75 degrees, and I was cold after the first 30 minutes of the dive.  The the end of the dive, I was shivering.  Still, I managed to make 2 hours.

02 March 2014

Luis and I dive the Clipper Jacks

Met  Luis at the South Port Lot at 8:30 am.  We geared up and swam out onto the algae patch, but the water was rough so we dropped near the end of the algae and swam underwater across the sand and over the next set of reef.  We then swam South on the sand to the Jacks.  Though I started out okay on air, I was really blowing through it by the time we got to the Jacks.  Despite the cold water and poor visibility, there were lots of interesting fish and I got some good pictures, including

this Juvenile Rock Beauty,

 this Night Sergeant,

 this Spotted Trunkfish

this Blue Faced Trumpetfish

  this Yellowhead Wrasse Initial Phase, and

this Midnight Parrotfish.