05 July 2014

Luis and Dean join me on two dives on the Big Coral Knoll

I got to the beach early and Dean pulled up behind me shortly afterwards.  We geared up, discussed the direction of travel for the lightning storms and then got in the water. We descended at the Sea Rod and swam to the blocks. Saw the Sailfin Blenny, but didn't get any photos worth keeping. We moved on. up the gun sight to the Cigar Rock.  We were getting set some and ended up at the coral with the crown blown off, turned North and headed to the Knoll.

 We found some Green Turtles.
Waiting to be cleaned by the small fish on the Knoll
Also got some shots of this Juvenile Creole Wrasse.  

We toured the Knoll some, then went to the Fish Camp Rocks where I found a White Speckled Hermit Crab in a little shell.

We went out to the Columnar Coral, but it is really chewed  up.  Dean was impressed with the Giant Anemone in the cavern in the rock.

Then we headed back.  Ran into Luis and he came back with us to make our second dive. Dive time was 131 minutes; my RMV was 0.42 ft3/minute.

On our second dive, Dean, Luis and I swam out to the blocks and went down.  Swam up the gun sight to the Gray Mid Way Rock and then over to the Perpendicular Rock, the Swept Rock and the Knoll.  We simply toured around the Knoll for most of the dive.

Found a little Octopus cleverly disguised as part of a yellow coral.  

 I tried to get him to play and he went to all black and ducked under the coral.  Too bad.

Also got a shot of an Initial Phase Puddingwife.

We headed back the same way we came. As we got to Irish Thighs, I started spewing air.  I thought it was the first stage, but I couldn't see or feel any problem.  I think now that it was my alternate air source, which I had tucked up under my back.  Lost about 300 psi in a very short time.  Still made a 125 minute dive.   My RMV was 0.39 ft3/minute.

04 July 2014

Three Open Water Dives with Brandon and Ivan

Luis swam out to join me for the last part of my first dive, but we got out around 8:35 am.  The boys came a little after 9:00 am.  They parked their motorcycles across the street, set up their gear and we got in the water to get them better weighted.  Luis went back to get some more weight for Ivan and one of the condo board members from across the street asked us to get the guys to move their cycles at the end of our dive.  We agreed, but didn't mention it to the boys until we got back.  Brandon went out with 8 pounds while Ivan had 6.  We went down in 8 ft of water and went out on the sand.  Spotted a Sea Robin walking along the sand. Found the blocks and headed up the gun sight to the Gray Mid-Way Rock.  Swam with a Hawksbill Sea Turtle for several minutes and then headed North to the Perpendicular Rocks and the Knoll.  As we got on the Knoll, a little Green Sea Turtle raced over to see us and then followed us for a little bit.  Wish I could have taken a camera.  Ivan got low on air, so we turned and headed back the way we came.  He was also struggling to stay down as his tank got lighter.  I tried to get him to hang on to a rock for some additional negative buoyancy, but he just looked at it then dropped it. Eventually, he got the idea.  Brandon got to the beach with 500 psi while Ivan had a little over 1000 psi. Dive time was 57 minutes.

We got in the water and swam out to the swim buoy to make a 5-point descent, then swam to the SE before we worked through the other skills.  The boys had new tanks, but I ended our first OW dive with 1711 psi and opted to use the balance in that tank for this second dive.  We surfaced to do the tired diver's tow and to take the gear off and replace it at the surface, which took some time.  My computer timed out and ended this dive, so when we went back down, it started a fourth dive.  Dive time was 22 minutes.

After we completed the tired diver's tow and replacing gear at the surface, we swam over to the flag and joined Luis on the bottom.  We headed East and came to the Gray Mid-way Rock, then continued East to the Fish Camp Rocks.  We weren't there very long, but it was interesting.  Brandon was getting low on air, so we headed back. We got to the beach with plenty of air for everyone.  Dive time was 41 minutes.

Solo Dive to Photograph the Sailfin Blenny dancing at dawn

I got to the beach right at 6:00 am.  I was geared up  and in the water shortly after that.  I descended in about 8 ft of water and swam slowly out towards the Sea Rod.  Never found it, but must have been close since I was only a few kicks North of the rock where I found the Peppermint Shrimp before.  I got to the concrete blocks and found my Sailfin Blenny buddy and just waited for him to do his dance as dawn crept across the reef.  I shot 185 pictures of this blenny and only a dozen have him up with his dorsal fin unfurled.  Some of those are in focus,  but some are not.  Disappointing, really, but try again tomorrow.

Took a few other photos, but just on the way off the reef and to the beach.

This Stoplight Parrotfish being cleaned by a couple of Neon Gobys.

This Post-Larval Porkfish.

and this Seaweed Blenny.

The dive time was 130 minutes and my RMV was 0.42 ft3/minute, which, too, is disappointing.  You'd think I would do really well on my breathing if I just stayed in one place and shot the same shot over and over.  

02 July 2014

Two Dives on the Big Coral Knoll

Got to the beach early, geared up and got in the water.  Went down at the Sea Rod and then moved slowly East to the blocks.  Went up the gun sight and to the Gray Mid-way Rock.

 Found a Hawksbill turtle along the way and got some pictures.

Turned North to the Perpendicular Rocks and the Big Coral Knoll.

Spotted the Glasseye Snapper but couldn't get a photo.  Also spotted the Rock Hind and got this shot of her.

Also saw the dark fish I have not been able to identify. Didn't get a picture of it either.

Good breathing.  Got 141 minutes of dive time and a RMV of 0.38 ft3/minute.  Not bad.

Patrick brought his father, Bob, along for my second dive. We geared up and got in the water. Bob wanted 14 pounds of weight, which seemed like a lot to me, but he is an AOW Diver.  We headed out towards the blocks and Bob was having trouble keeping his head above water while we were swimming.  Got to checking things and noticed that his BCD was punctured and leaking near the inflater valve.  At first I thought it was the valve, but it was the BCD, itself.  So I called the dive but suggested we swim in under water.  Underwater, Bob did just fine.

We shifted direction and spotted a Green Sea Turtle and I got Patrick's picture with the turtle.  Bob wasn't fast, but he was keeping up and looked more in control.

We headed to the blocks and then up the gun sight to the Cigar Rock where we saw a small Southern Atlantic Stingray getting cleaned.

Then we went to the Gray Mid-way Rock and over to the Big Coral Knoll, where we saw some more turtles.

 Took a turn around the Knoll and saw the Rock Hind out sunning itself.

By this point, Bob was down to 1800 psi, so we turned back and re-traced our steps back to the beach.  Turned out to be a lovely dive with a number of interesting creatures.

01 July 2014

Two Solo Dives on the Ledge of Turtles

Storm clouds along the horizon kept the day dark well after dawn.  I geared up and went down in about 10 feet of water and swam to the reef.  Had to surface to find that I was well North of where I thought I was, but I found the Rock Pile and headed up the reef at 120 degrees.  I was not able to find the octopus that I had played with last Tuesday.  No sigh of him. Too bad.

 I spotted Turtle Rock and swam on to the Ledge, where I found a small Green Turtle.  Got some pictures of him, then just hung out and took photos of other fish.

Like this Bicolor Damselfish,
this Juvenile Striped Parrotfish,
This Striped Parrotfish,

and this Rock Hind.

I stayed on the Ledge until I got down to 1000 psi, then I headed down the reef to the Rock Pile and West to the beach.  Dive time was 141 minutes with an RMV of 0.37.

I needed some extra surface interval before making a second dive, but also needed to get in the water before the evil lifeguards came, so I swam out to the reef and just floated for another 10-15 minutes.  Still ended up with the "tissue level warming," but it was manageable.  I descended as soon as I saw the life guard and quickly found the Rock Pile.  Headed up the reef at 120 degrees, again, but this time I ended up getting set South and found the Round Brain Coral to the SW of Turtle Rock.  Still swam right to the ledge.

Found another of the leafy gobys.  This looked like the one I photographed at the Little Knoll on Sunday, except it was whiter.  Still can't identify them.

 This, on the other hand, is a Townsend Angelfish, which is a cross between a Queen Angelfish and a Blue Angelfish.
 This little Yellowtail Damselfish looks like he's really giving me a piece of his mind.
And this is a Yellowhead Wrasse.

I stretched my air some and got 151 minutes of dive time.. My RMV was .36 ft3/min.  

29 June 2014

Two Dives with Leo on the Little Coral Knoll

Met Leo on the beach shortly after 8:00 am.  We caught up and discussed the mapping project.  Decided to measure to the tipped coral on the NW corner of the Knoll and then from the NW corner back to the Big Rock. Agreed to do so in 50 ft segments so we could pull the line tight and maybe do better at holding the bearing. Seemed to work out.  We overshot the outbound measure.  We went 130 from the little rock and probably should have been at 115 to 120 degrees, instead.  On the way back, we went at 130 and came out right in from of the big Rock. Perfect.

Our second dive was just a dive.  We both had our cameras and swam out to the swim buoy.  Descended onto the Big Rock and took pictures, then went to the small rock.
I spotted a Blackbar Soldierfish on the small rock and got this shot, which came out much better than I thought it would.

Got this shot of a Spotted Scorpionfish.
 This shot of a Blue Tang
This shot of what I think is a Graysby Grouper, though its coloring is a little off and it is missing some white spots along the dorsal fin.
This shot of a Juvenile Porkfish.
This shot of a Spanish Hogfish.
This  shot of a Sailors Choice.
And finally this shot of a Red Hind.  We just drifted over the knoll and taking photos.

It got to be noon and we headed back.  Pleasant dive. The Dive time was 122 minutes and my RVM was 0.39 ft3/minute.