12 April 2014

Leo,Luis and I Dive the Fish Camp Rocks

We spent an hour trying to warm up, but it really wasn't going to happen, so we got back in.  Waves seemed less to me and the water seemed warmer, though the computer doesn't back me up on that.  I did much better on air, even though we did head to the beach well before the two hour mark, with 705 psi left in the tank, I could have gotten to 2 hours easily enough.

As on the first dive, we dropped at the blocks, swam up the gun sight and by Irish Thighs

where I got this shot of a little Seaweed Blenny I have seen there on the last several dives.

I found and photographed this Sergearnt Major just West of the Fish Camp Rocks.

I found this Giant Anemone at the Fish Camp Rocks.

Not a lot of larger Parrotfish, like the Rainbow and Midnight Parrotfish which are usually there, but there were several Redband Parrotfish 

as well as this Initial Phase Redband Parrotfish.

Oddly, we found this Pipefish at the end of the dive.

Luis picked up a shell, but had trouble opening it.  Upon further examination, he found a baby octopus holding the shell together.

 I got these pictures of the little guy.

We also found two Planehead Filefish in the surf.  I was really difficult trying to photograph them with the surge pushing both me and the fish around and throwing sand up in the water, too.

Luis, Leo and I Dive the Big Coral Knoll

Luis Monroy, Leo Paez and I met at the beach, geared up and got in through the surf.  We swam to the blocks and descended, then moved up the gun sight to the Cigar Rock, but then got set to the North and ended up at the Perpendicular Rocks.  Went to the Swept Rock, then the Big Coral Knoll.

 Found this  Sponge Brittle Star past the Perpendicular Rocks and on the way to the Swept Rocks.

This Spotted Scorpionfish yawned and opened up.  If I'd been a little faster, I would have gotten a shot into the fishes belly.

This Mutton Snapper was just before the Knoll.

Found this Orange Spotted Filefish on the North side of the Knoll.

This Bluestriped Grunt was over in the English Garden, which we visited briefly.

As was this Yellowhead Wrasse.

As we came off the Knoll heading back to the beach, i spotted this Balloonfish all puffed up.  I did not see the whatever it was that caused him to puff up, but I did get some good shots of the event.

11 April 2014

Dennis Viaznikov's first Open Water Dive

Dennis came over at 8:00 am, checked his gear and we drove to the beach.  Not much wind and mild surf.  We geared up and got in.  We swam out to the concrete blocks then headed up the gun sight.

We encountered a Hawksbill Turtle at the Cigar Rock and followed it for a ways, but got off course doing so.  I couldn't find the Gray Mid-Way Rock but headed North and found the Green Mountainous Coral, then the Perpendicular Rocks, the Swept Rock and the Knoll.

Found a Green Turtle on the South Edge of the Knoll, but Dennis had gone in a different direction and even though I swam over and got him, he never saw it. Also spotted the Hawksbill we had seen earlier. We swam along the South edge of the Knoll, then headed to the English Garden and back to the Knoll.

I missed having the camera.  The water was cold and my RVM got out of control as I started to shiver.  We headed back to the Perpendicular Rocks then to the beach.  RVM was over .5 for the dive.  Way too high.

08 April 2014

Liz Crane and I dive the Big Coral Knoll and she brings home-made ginger snaps

Liz and I met on the beach, geared up and swam out to the concrete blocks.  We went up the gun sight and then to the Cigar Rock and the Gray Mid-way Rock.  Turned there and headed North to the Perpendicular Rocks, the Swept Rock and the Knoll.

As I came up the Knoll, I spotted this little baby Smooth Trunkfish fighting the surge.  Took a few tries to get close enough for a shot.

You can sort of see from the picture above that he is a mere fraction the size of a French Grunt and moving irratically in the surge.

This Juvenile French Angelfish was curious and let me get some good shots.

This little Lantern Bass held his ground, as well, letting me take several shots before he disappeared.

As we came off the Knoll, we headed over to the Fish Camp Rocks and I got this photo of a Rainbow Parrotfish

as well as this shot of a Redband Parrotfish.

We then headed back to the beach, about ten minutes shy of a two-hour dive.  Liz brought some home-made ginger snaps, which were quite a treat.

07 April 2014

Solo Dive on the Ledge of Turtles

Liz decided not to dive this morning, so I went alone.  Got in the water and swam out to the Rock Pile.  I'd tested the camera and strobe at the truck and everything worked fine,  but in the water I came up with odd shadows. The water was dirty and I think all the particles fooled the ISO sensor.  I set it up for fully automatic and got pictures that looked like pictures, but they weren't as good as I got when I set the camera manually.  So I headed up to the Ledge, except that I couldn't see anything and had no idea where I was until I came to the broken coral head East of the Turtle Rock.  So that was nice.

I hung out with the fish on the Ledge and even had a little Green Turtle come through.

Got this nice shot of a Yellow Jack

and this shot of an Indigo Hamlet.

I spotted this Rock Hind, who headed for his favorite spot under the inside Ledge.

  Got a few shots of this mantis shrimp thing, but the photos aren't very good and may not help identify the little fella.

The good news was that I was at 33 minutes on 2500 psi; 52 minutes at 2000 psi; 71 minutes at 1500 psi and 90 minutes at 1000 psi.  I headed down the reef at 1000 psi and hung out along the sand line until I got 120 minutes, then I swam for the beach.  Water was 77 degrees.  Nice.

06 April 2014

Diving the Little Coral Knoll with Leo and Luis

Leo wanted to meet on the beach at 8:00 am, and Luis was on the beach when I got there.  Leo did not show up until about 8:30 am because of a traffic jam on I-95.  We agreed to make two dives of about an hour each.  We also met the lifeguard, "Estan" I think, who wanted to talk about diving and offer us advice on places to dive.

We geared up and swam on the surface out to the big rock just NE of the swim buoy.  Under the rock, we found a small Nurse Shark, but it was difficult getting a good picture. As we took other photographs, I noticed that the Nurse Shark was moving around so I waited for it to emerge and got this shot as it did.

From the the big rock, we headed South to a smaller rock with a large Giant Anemone on it and a little eel underneath.  From there we headed 150 degrees and got to the Little Coral Knoll.

 Just off the Little Knoll I saw a Hogfish rooting on the bottom with a reddish-brown mottled coloring suggesting he was busy eating.  I got the shot to the left.

In seconds, he changed color and assumed the white coloring displayed in the picture to the right.

On the Little Knoll I found this Juvenile Creole Wrasse that I photographed last Tuesday.

We hung out on the Little Knoll taking pictures and exploring, then we headed back to the beach the same way we came.  We surfaced after 75 minutes and a RVM of .43 ft3/min.

Luis had things to do, so only Leo and I made the second dive.  I did not really warm up, but I did get comfortable.  We ended up in another conversation with Estan, then we got in the water, swam to the rock and descended.  We then went to the smaller rock to the South and then swam to the little knoll.

Just South of the Little Knoll I found this Yellowline Arrow Crab standing guard over a Corkscrew Anemone.

 Just on the other side of the Anemone, I saw a Pederson Shrimp.  Took some more pictures and then left the knoll at 500 psi, heading to the Big Rock and then the beach.

At the Big Rock, I saw this Stoplight Parrotfish with its eye bugging out of the top of its head.  I watched for a bit and saw that it was looking to get its mough cleaned.

As I watched, a small Neon Goby cleaned around the Parrotfishes mouth, then swam in so that it was completely inside the mouth.  The Parrotfish held its mouth open and tried not to move, even as I got this picture. Brave or hungry Goby.

Made a 55 minute dive with an RMV rate of .34 ft3/minute.  Got 130 minutes out of the one tank, primarily because we got out and warmed up before we started shivering.