24 May 2014

Two Solo Dives on the Ledge of Turtles

I geared up and was pleased to see the tank registered 3400 psi.  Then I got in the water and it dropped to 3250. Okay.  I did well on air, at least at first.  I got 10 minutes out of the 250 psi extra.  Swam out to the Rock Pile, but didn't see it until I got underwater.  Once I found it, I headed up the reef at 120 degrees and swam right to the Sea Plume and the three little Mountainous Corals.  Hung around the Ledge shooting the fish

Got this shot of a Juvenile Yellowtail Damselfish

and then this Terminal Phase Yellowtail Damselfish (Golden Variation).

Also got this shot of a small group of Porkfish just hanging in the current along the Ledge.

I then swam East to Shark's Rock but there were very few fish there, so I continued on to the Eastern Ledge.

Found an Arrow Crab on the sand and got some good shots showing the mouth and eyes as well as the two bright blue claws.  Got to 77 minutes dive time at 1500 psi, and decided to head back to the Ledge.

On the way back, I spotted this Three Spot Damselfish

and this Indigo Hamlet.

Spotted this Hogfish just as I reached the Ledge of Turtles.

I hung out on the Ledge with the fish, including this Rock Hind until I got down to 1000 psi and 96 minutes.

Got this picture of a Christmas Tree Worm on some Low Relief Lettuce Coral nust after leaving the Ledge.

Headed down the reef to the Rock Pile and was hanging out there when I noticed the flag was gone.  I surfaced, spotted it and recovered it, but when I went back under, I could hear the air bubbling out of my regulator. Apparently, when I surfaced for the flag, the regulator got unseated and the o-ring was leaking.  I headed back in to the beach, but instead of the 12 minutes I thought I would get, I got 5 minutes.

I decided to make a second dive.  Since the Lifeguard was in the tower, I had to walk up to the shower, then along the fence to the View Residences property before I could get in the water.  I headed East, but the current was stronger than before and I had to head a little South, too.  After 90 minutes, I ended up at the Ledge of Turtles, but I have no idea how I got there. Got down off the reef at 120 minutes and hung out at the Rock Pile until I was down to 300 psi and then I headed in.  Good dive time.

23 May 2014

Solo Dive on the Ledge of Turtles

Swam out to the reef and spotted the Rock Pile from the surface.  Descended and headed up the reef at 120 degrees.  I went too far, but spotted the cushion coral, so I headed SW and found the Ledge.

Got some photos of this Striped Parrotfish

and this Brown Chromis.  Not a lot of unusual fish, so I decided to head over to the Shark's Rock.

Went due East from the two Coral Heads and ended up at Shark's Rock, near which I spotted this Scrawled Filefish.

I continued on to the Eastern Ledge.

I found this Giant Anemone in the sand just past the reef line.

By then I was at about 1400 psi, so I headed back first to Shark's Rock, then South to the Nipple Rock.  In the Rocks just South of the Nipple Rock, I found this Greater Soapfish and got a few pictures.

I continued on to the Ledge of Turtles and along the way took this picture of a Three Spotted Damselfish.

From the Ledge, I went down the reef at 300 degrees to the Rock Pile.  The water was calm, but very hazy. Killed time at the Rock Pile and left at 2 hours with 350 psi. Got another 14 minutes out of that and ended the dive at 134 minutes.

22 May 2014

Solo Dive on the Big Coral Knoll

Got to the beach around 8:45 am and was in the water swimming out to the blocks by 9:15 am.  Got over the blocks, but could not see them from the surface.  Went down right on them, set up and started up the gun sight. Had some trouble finding the Cigar Rock, but finally got it, then went straight to the Gray Mid--way Rock and then North to the Perpendicular Rocks, the Swept Rock and the Knoll.

Got a shot of two French Grunts fighting, if indeed that's what this is.
Got a close up shot of the Cymothoid Isopod affixed to this Doctorfish.  According to Humann, the cymothoids begin life as 1/8th inch long, free swimming males which attach to the heads of fish.  Once attached, they lose the ability to swim, remain attached for life and "benignly scavenge" food from the water.
This Juvenile creole Wrasse was on the Knoll, but passed by several times to let me get a shot.
The Hawksbill Sea Turtle was foraging for food and the Angelfish and wrasse were looking for scraps.
 Gotta love the Redband Parrotfish with there built in smile.
This little Blenny has been on the Irish Thighs rock for about a week now.  He's used to me taking his picture.
This Purplemouth Moray Eel was a bit off the Knoll, but close by.

After cruising the Knoll a few times, I went back to the beach the same way I came and I spotted each of the landmarks.  Then I hung out at the blocks until I got to 400 psi and I headed for the Sea Rod and then the beach.  Went up at 132 minutes.

18 May 2014

Luis, Leo and I Make one dive on the Eastern Ledge off Tower 17 and Leo and I make a second

At first, I wanted to take my camera, but the more I watched the waves the more I was inclined to leave the camera in the truck.  While I might see a couple of really nice things to photograph, it wasn't worth risking the camera since the photos were unlikely to be really good.  Visibility was a little better than yesterday, but it wasn't good.  We went down just past the swim buoy and swam NE against a strong South current.  Although I had hoped we would find the Big Coral Knoll, we did not.  We swam over some large rocks that  I did not recognize both going out and coming back.  We went North along the Ledge and I saw a large Pederson Shrimp by a corkscrew anemone.  I thought for a moment that I wished I'd brought the camera, but there were a lot of particles in the water and the pictures would not have been very good.  We turned West to the beach when Luis and I hit half a tank at virtually the same moment.  The trip back was with the incoming tide and we flew.  We came out at Tower 18.  I got out fine, but I got lucky and rode a wave in over the step.  I could just as easily blown up.  I was happy that I'd left the camera behind.

Luis decided against a second dive, but Leo and I wanted to get back in, so we did. I really wanted to find the Big Coral Knoll, we swam out to the swim buoy and I tried to just hold a 90 degree bearing, but we must have gone too far North, again.  We went South along the Ledge this time though and I spotted the wall of finger coral.  We turned West there and came just South of the Knoll.  I happened to spot the SE corner and swam over and around the Knoll a bit, then went to the Fish Camp Rocks.  The surge was pretty wild.  I flew back and forth across the flat rock between the BCK and the FCR.  We investigated the FCR a bit, then headed West to the beach. I found the Gray Mid-way Rock and the Cigar Rock, but that was the last thing I recognized until we passed the Sea Rod onto the sand at the beach.  So much easier getting out of the water without the camera.  I don't worry about losing it, or breaking it. If I fall, I just get back up.  No big deal.