17 May 2014

Luis and I dive the Big Coral Knoll and make a second dive on the Eastern Ledge off Tower 17

The ocean was relatively calm when we got in.  We descended to look for the concrete blocks, but did not find them.  We swam NE to compensate for the strong South current, but we overcompensated and found the two Green Mountainous Coral heads on the West edge of the Knoll, though I didn't recognize them immediately.  As I swam up on the Knoll, I spotted a Green Sea Turtle and swam with it for a while.  Swam around the Knoll a couple of times.  Luis and I kept losing then finding one another.  

 I ran into the same turtle I had originally swam with, and got some really good, really close shots head on.

About the only shots that came out.  Visibility was terrible and it was difficult to navigate.

We swam over to the Fish Camp Rocks where I got this picture of these Glassy Sweepers.

I found this White Speckled Hermit Crab and got several pictures.

I also spotted this Orange Spotted Filefish, who paused for this picture.

After the Fish Camp Rocks, we went West to the beach but the current put us well South of Tower 17.  The wind had picked up considerably and was now NNE about 15 knots.  Luis took the flag and I managed to get out of the water without falling or breaking the camera. Always a good result.

I decided not to take my camera on our second dive. Too much risk of losing it in the surf or damaging the housing.  We descended and just headed East to the Eastern Ledge off Tower 17.  We went North along the Ledge, then came back to the beach.  We still ended up well South of where I thought we would be.  Current along the beach was very strong.  I was glad I had not taken the camera.  

16 May 2014

Trying to Find the Little Knoll

Visibility was not good, but it did not seem impossible, either.  I swam out to the swim buoy and found the Big Rock, then headed off at 150 degrees, but the current seemed to shift direction and I ended up several times heading due East.  After swimming for about 30 minutes, I assumed I had missed the little knoll and then surfaced to see I was South of Tower 14.  I descended again and headed North, then NW and surfaced, but without ever seeing the knoll.  I did get some pictures.

 Got this shot of a Gray Angelfish on the way out.
Found this Seaweed Blenny near the Big Rock before I started the long swim to the knoll.
 This Black Spotted Feather Duster was just one of many along the edge of the reef.
Saw a number of these Lantern Bass.
This Rock Beauty was a rare find.  I think this is the first one I have seen this year.

Of course, a dive on the sand leading to the First Reef Line would not be complete without swimming with a Green Sea Turtle.

11 May 2014

Luis and I dive the Big Coral Knoll

The weather has been poor lately.  I aborted my dive to the Ledge of Turtles on Thursday.  The wind picked up after than and the NOAA forecast was worse, so I stayed out Friday and Saturday.  Sunday, Luis wanted to dive, so we went to Tower 17.

Surf was active, but better than on Thursday.  At first I wasn't going to take the camera, then I decided I should.  Sometimes it just looks bad.  This wasn't one of those times.  Visibility was 3 to 5 ft over the sand.  We found the concrete blocks, but missed the gun sight and Irish Thighs.  Missed the Cigar Rock, too, but found the overturned coral head to the North, so I adjusted and we swam right to the Gray Mid-way Rock.  Turned North and swam over to the Perpendicular Rocks, the Swept Rock and the Knoll.

Visibility was maybe 5 to  8 feet and just too poor to spot the unusual shots.

Spotted a Green Sea Turtle on the Knoll and got some shots.

Started shooting portraits to cut down on the backscatter.

 These shots turned out pretty well, but its mostly post-processing.
In the poor visibility, the turtle would swim right at me and get much closer than usual.

We headed back to the beach at 1000 psi.  I stalled over the sand at 10 ft to make my 2 hours, then surfaced to swim in.  Luis carried the flag, so exiting was easier than usual for me.