03 May 2014

Diving the Little Coral Knoll with Luis and Leo

I didn't dive Friday.  Didn't want to dive Friday.  But I met the guys on Saturday morning, except we didn't park where we usually do.  Instead of being by the main opening, we were at the next shower to the South.  Rather than swim to the Big Rock and take a known bearing to the Little Knoll, we swam due East off the beach at the opening half-way between Towers 14 & 15.  We were lost before we began.

We descended and ended up at the Porthole Rocks, which I recall being well South of the Knoll.  That was the last landmark I recognized during the entire dive, and I barely remember that from 3 or 4 years ago.  Not that it was a bad dive, but we were lost.  Totally and completely lost.  Towards the end of the dive, I gave up and surfaced to see where we were and we were South of the B Ocean.  Luis hung out in the shallows and made a 2 hour dive.  I might have, but I was cold so I just got out.

We spent a little over an hour warming up, then made a second dive. This time, we swam to the swim buoy, found the Big Rock and swam 150 degrees to the Little Coral Knoll.  Spent almost all of the dive at the Knoll or very nearby.  It was just nice knowing where we were.  Nice dive.

I got this picture of a French Angelfish near the Big Rock
 and this picture of a Stoplight Parrotfish under the Big Rock.
When we got to the Knoll, I got this picture of a Bicolor Damselfish
and this Harlequin Bass
I love this shot of an Orange Spotted Filefish.  You can actually see the orange spots.
 These two Yellow Jacks kept checking to see if we had killed anything they might share.

Found this Yellow Sand Ray on the way back to the beach.

Same with this Saddled Blenny.

Nice Dive.  Leo and I managed 124 minutes.  Luis got out early as he had a short fill tank.

01 May 2014

Solo Dive on the Ledge of Turtles

I had intended to get to the beach around 6:00 am to be in the water by 6:30 am so I could be out and warming up by 8:30.  Didn't quite work out that way.  I got to the beach at 8:45 am, set up my tank and suit, then decided to set up my camera only to discover I had left it at home.  Surf was up and visibility was terrible, so just as well.  In the water I discovered that my computer was set to "gauge," which is not what I normally have it set on.  A minor problem, but shows my head was not in the dive.

I swam on the surface to the Rock Pile and landed right on it, though I could not see it from the surface.  I swam up the reef, but overcompensated for the current.  I spotted a large brain coral I had seen before and knew that the Mid-way Rock and Turtle Rock were N E, so I swam over to them and then swam to the Ledge.  Since I had no camera, though, I did not just hang with the fish on the Ledge.  Instead, I headed East to find the Nipple Rock and Shark's Rock.  I found neither.  Went all the way to the sand East of the reef and then ended up way South as I was heading back to the beach. I swam North along the edge of the reef to find the Rock Pile, then stayed there until I made 2 hours.  Then with about 300 psi showing, I headed to the beach.  I didn't suck the tank dry, but I came close and got another 8 minutes of dive time.  

30 April 2014

Solo Dive on the Big Coral Knoll

I had wanted to get to the beach by 6:00 am, so I could get two dives in before the Lifeguards took to the Towers. Unfortunately, it was still dark then and I just could not get motivated.  Instead, I got to the beach at 8:30 am.  Got geared up and swam out to the concrete blocks.  I descended, then headed up the gun sight to Irish Thighs and then the Cigar Rock.

Ran into a Green Sea Turtles and got some pictures, then continued on up to the Gray Mid-way Rock.  I had considered heading South to the Lost Knoll, but decided against it because of the moderate current and the distance involved.

Instead, I went with the current to the Big Coral Knoll and made several circles of the Knoll.  Photographed this Spanish Grunt,

this Bluestriped Grunt,

 this White Grunt,

this Scrawled Cowfish,

 and these Sailors Choices.

 Also got this shot of an Initial Phase Redband Parrotfish, who looks as if he is enjoying a hearty belly laugh.

Finally, I got this shot of a Lantern Bass.

Nothing truly unusual on the Knoll and visibility was not good, but I got some pictures and did really well on air usage.  My RVM was .39 ft3/minute and my total dive time was 139 minutes.  Thats my longest dive so far this year.

29 April 2014

Another Solo Dive on the Ledge of Turtles

Got to the beach about 8:50 am, geared up and got in.  The surf was a bit rough, but once past the breaking waves, it was easy to get out.  I swam to the Rock Pile, then headed up the reef at 120 degrees.

I spotted the Turtle Rock and then swam to the Ledge. I hung out with the fish, including

this Scrawled Filefish

the Juvenile Cocoa Damselfish

 this White Grunt

this Sergeant Major

and this Indigo Hamlet.

I even spotted this Southern Atlantic Stingray.

I left the Ledge at 1000 psi and swam down to the Rock Pile.  Hung out there until I had 2 hours, then headed for the beach with 350 psi.  Surfaced at 130 minutes and swam in on the surface.

28 April 2014

Solo Dive on the Little Coral Knoll

I got to the beach early and spent some time reading my Kindle.  Surf is up, but things are okay underwater.  I swam out to the Big Rock. I found and photographed a small Nurse Shark who was sleeping under the Rock's overhang.

Also found a Purplemouth Moray Eel inside the Rock.  Got a nice picture of him, too.

I headed to the Little Coral Knoll at 150 degrees.  Spotted the 5-gallon bucket I used to use as a landmark and ended up right at the Knoll.  Spent the rest of the dive on the Little Knoll and close by.

Got this nice shot of a Sergeant Major,

the Spotted Moray Eel we saw on Saturday,

a little Butter Hamlet,

this stack of White Grunts,

a Juvenile Yellowtail Damselfish,

a single Tarpon who cruised up to and circled me just to see what I was doing,

and this Spotted Burrfish.

Left the Little Knoll at 1000 psi and swam back to the Big Rock, where I hung out until the two hour mark, then I headed West to the beach.  Ended the dive with 135 minutes underwater.  Nice.

27 April 2014

Solo Dive on the Big Coral Knoll

I got to the beach at 9:00 am and got in the water by 9:20 am.  I swam out and descended on the concrete blocks at 9:34 am.  There was a mild current, but difficult to adjust for it.  Went up the gun sight to the Cigar Rock to the Gray Mid-way Rock and then North to the Perpendicular Rocks, the Swept Rock and the Knoll.  Drifted over the Knoll with the current, got some good pictures though nothing unusual on the Knoll, and then I swam around to do it again.

Got this shot of a Christmas Tree Worm,

this shot of a White Grunt,

this shot of a Redband Parrotfish

this shot of a Spanish Grunt,

 this shot of a Giant Anemone and a tiny Squat Anemone Shrimp, which is the white and green thing sticking up at the bottom and sort of to the right of the Giant anemone.

This shot of a Fingerprint Cyphoma.

 Headed back at 1200 psi and got to the blocks at 700 psi.  Stayed there until I hit 120 minutes, then headed in to the beach slowly.  Sucked the tank dry, but got 135 minutes total dive time.