25 March 2014

Solo Dive to the Big Coral Knoll

I got to the beach just a few minutes before 9:00 am.  I geared up and got in, then swam out to the blocks.  Didn't seem like much of a current, but I saw nothing I recognized after the blocks until I got to Irish Thighs,

where I shot this picture of a Seaweed Blenny. Then I got lost again until I found the Gray Mid-way Rock.

Shot this picture of a Juvenile Highhat at the Gray Mid-way Rock.

Shot these two pictures of the same Hogfish just past the Swept Rock.  In the picture to the left, the fish has mottled coloring, which it often assumes when rooting on the bottom.  In the picture below, the fish displays the white coloring it usually assumes when swimming above the reef.

This picture of a Spotted Goatfish using its two barbels to search for food.

This is a Bluestriped Grunt.

And this is a picture of a Juvenile Stoplight Parrotfish.

My air usage was okay until 45 minutes into the dive and I went from .35 to .45 ft3.  By 72 minutes I was shivering uncontrollably and my RVM was .55 to .6 ft3.  Tough Dive.

24 March 2014

Solo Diving on the Ledge of Turtles

The sky was overcast and threatened rain, but I geared up and got in, swam to the reef and spotted the Rock Pile.  I descended and headed out at 120 degrees.  After swimming slowly for about 400 psi, I looked to the NE and spotted the three small corals next to the Sea Plume about 20 feet away, and swam over.  I stopped at the Turtle Rock and the Mid-way Rock, then headed to the Ledge, where I hung out with the fish.  Only spotted one Grunt fight and wasn't able to get a picture.

Got some good shots of the Red Hind I have been seeing for the past couple of weeks, including this one of the Hind being cleaned by a couple of Neon Gobys.

Got this picture of a Squirrelfish

and this picture of a Yellowhead Wrasse.

I got lots of pictures of various Yellowtail Damselfish, but really like this picture of a Golden Variation Yellowtail Damselfish looking head-on.

This Spanish Grunt was hanging around the top of the larger of the two Coral Heads on the East edge of the Ledge.

Check out this picture of a Redband Parrotfish chewing the reef.

This Scrawled Filefish hung around with me for a while.

This little Purplemouth Moray Eel was not coming out from under the coral head.

 My air usage was good at the beginning of the dive, but after 30 minutes I started getting cold, then began shivering and I just could not salvage a 2 hour dive out of what should have been a 130 minute dive.

23 March 2014

Leo and I dive with Lennon on the Big Coral Knoll

Captain Robb Shannon elected to run errands rather than dive with us on this dive. I took my camera set up for wide-angle shooting. I was hoping to get a picture of Lennon swimming beside a Green or maybe a Hawksbill Sea Turtle.

Leo, Shannon and I got in the water and swam out to where the concrete blocks should have been, but we never found them.

We did, however, find a small Green Sea Turtle.  I tried to get a picture of Lennon with the turtle, but Lennon didn't quite understand what I wanted from him.

For a time, I swam along on one side of the turtle and encouraged Lennon to swim on the other so I could get his picture, but Leo started shooting the turtle and herded it into me.  Just wasn't meant to be. I gave up and went looking for the Knoll.

The first landmark I recognized was the helmut head formation SW of the Knoll. Then I saw the Swept Rock and got this shot of Lennon coming around the Rock.

Then we were on the Knoll.  I didn't see any more turtles, however.

After touring the Knoll and the English Garden to the North, we swam over to the Perpendicular Rocks, where I got this picture of Lennon hovering.

From the Perpendicular Rocks, we headed SE and found the Fish Camp Rocks.

Then we swam over to the Columnar Coral

I got this shot of Lennon coming around the Coral.

From the Columnar Coral, we swam back to the Fish Camp Rocks and I got this shot of the SE most Rocks. The shot below is similar, but is three separate shots stitched together into a composite photo. The advantage to the composite is that it has more detail and can be blown up larger without losing clarity.  Problem was the haze in the water.  

From the Fish Camp Rocks, we headed just slightly North of West to get to the beach.  By then, I was shivering really badly. Leo urged us to swim at about 13 ft, where it was warmer.  I did for a while, but I felt exposed being that far above the bottom.  When we came off the reef, I went back down near the sand where the boats couldn't get me. We ended the dive just short of an hour and a half.