06 September 2014

Darryn Timm, Chad Scott and I dive the Algae Patch and Clipper Jacks off Tower 2

Luis was at the beach when we got there.  Leo came 10 minutes later.  We geared up and then Leo locked his keys in his car.  Spent some time trying to contact his wife to drive up from Miami with a spare set of keys.  Then we got in the water.  We did not follow blonde surfer dude's rule that divers had to swim on the surface until they were outside the buoys.  Luis and Leo continued to swim towards the Jacks, but Chad, Darryn and I dropped down in about 10 feet of water and went slowly out onto the algae patch.  Chad had some trouble equalizing, but worked through it. Darryn had good buoyancy control except when he was performing skills and would focus on the skill instead of his breathing.  Chad was not so good with his buoyancy, but he had moments when it seemed like he got it.  We swam out to the second tier of the three tiered reef and turned as Chad hit 1500 psi.  Darryn was at 1800 psi and I had 2300 psi.  Dive Time was 68 minutes.  My RMV was a sad 0.46 ft3/minute.

During the surface interval we went over the table problems and the guys took their final exams.  Pattie Conrad joined us.  Leo acted as the dive leader, gave the briefing and lead us out on the surface about as far as we swam on the first dive. Pattie was getting tired and we went down a little earlier than we might have, otherwise, but we found several single Jacks then got to sand.  I incorrectly decided to head South.  Chad had trouble getting equalized and Leo took him back to the beach.  I finally decided the Jacks were not South of where we had been and Pattie, Darryn and I headed North.

We passed two single Jacks in a line and I was having second thoughts, but we soon came to the Jacks.  We got on the South Side and headed East to the end, then came back to the Western end of the Jacks.

Along the way, we found a small school of Doctorfish on the Jack, one of whom was carrying a Cymothoid Isopod.

 Got this shot of an Ocean Surgeonfish.

A Porkfish.
A Sand Diver.

A Smooth Trunkfish.
and a Trumpetfish.

After touring the Jacks, we surfaced to see if we could find Leo's flag, but we could not.  In that few minutes on the surface, however, we drifted far enough North that we could no longer see the Jacks.  This time, I knew they were there and we quickly found them, but it was amazing how quickly we lost them.

We swam back in to the beach and Leo and Chad were waiting for us by the truck.  Leo's wife had not arrived with the spare key.  Pattie needed to go and I took Darryn and Chad to fill tanks.  We later met Leo at the Bridge and he worked with the guys on the snorkel skills and the regulator and mask clearing skills from the first confined water dive.

Dive Time was 96 minutes; my SAC rate was 17.66 psi/minute and my RMV was 0.46 ft3/minute.

01 September 2014

Jack, Leo and I dive the Ledge of Turtles

Although DOT has shut down most of the parking spots North of Sunrise, there are 5 spots still available behind Tower 20. Jack and I got to the beach and there was only 1 car parked near the beach entrance.  We parked behind them.  I texted Leo regarding to let him know where we were. We started to gear up and get in the water.  Between the darkness and the poor visibility, I could not see the bottom from the surface.  We descended where I thought the Rock Pile would be, but it wasn't and we didn't find it swimming North.  I went up and saw that we were way North, and we went back down and swam South.  This time, we found the Rock Pile.  From there, we headed up the reef at 120 degrees.  I spotted the large round coral head that sits SW of Turtle Rock, and we headed up to the Large Rock and the Turtle Rock, then to the coral head and then to the Ledge.  No turtles.  Lots of fish.

Jack and I hung out on the Ledge with the fish and I took pictures.  Got this shot of a Flamefish.
 This French Grunt
 This Redband Parrotfish,
This Rock Hind
This shot of four Shortfin Sweepers
 and this shot of a Spanish Grunt.

Jack did well on his air usage, considering this was his 5th dive.  Dive time was 122 minutes; my SAC rate was 14.35 psi/minute; and my RMV was 0.37 ft3/minute.

Leo was on the beach to meet us as we got out.  He was eager to make a dive.  I would have been happy to stop at one, but Jack seemed interested, too, so we geared up and made a second dive.  I did much better at finding the Rock Pile this time and headed up the reef to the Large Rock and the Turtle Rock.  Then to the Ledge.  Leo and I spent some time taking photos, then we headed over to Shark's Rock and Shark's Rocks East where we got a few pictures, including this Grouper looking fish I can't otherwise identify.
 Also got this shot of a Yellowhead Wrasse,

and this shot of a Yellowline Arrow Crab.

Then we headed back to the Ledge.

 I went South from the Ledge and found some Caribbean Reef Squid and got some pictures, including this shot.

Then I looked up and Leo and Jack were gone.  I had the flag, so I wasn't sure how I could find them, but I headed for the Large Rock and they were there.  We went down the reef together.  Nice dive and I did a little better on air.

Dive time was 130 minutes;  my SAC rate was 13.83 psi/minute; my RMV was 0.36 ft3/minute.

31 August 2014

Jack Holts final two open water dives on the Clipper Jacks

Luis got to the beach before Jack and I did, but we were not far behind.  We all geared up and got in the water. Surf was rougher than yesterday.  Visibility was terrible over the sand and early in the algae patch, but by the time we got to the 3-tiered reef, it was looking pretty good.  We had trouble finding the Jacks.  No single jacks in sight. We finally just went down. Jack and I swam North and Luis swam South.  The Jacks were to the North, but we were well along the line of Jacks when we found them. We continued on to 25 ft section, and then Luis held the line while Jack and I did the alternate air source ascent and a CESA.  We were a bit fast on the CESA. Anyway, we made the tour of the Jacks and then headed back to the beach.

Luis took his camera and got several good shots, including this shot a of a small school of Atlantic Spadefish.
 This shot of a small flounder of some kind.
This shot of a Hogfish.
 This shot of a Porcupinefish.
 This shot of a Spotted Trunkfish.
 This shot of a Trumpetfish.

and this shot of a Yellow Sand Ray.

You can see ore of Luis's work at Luis Monroy Photography.

Dive Time was 121 minutes; RMV of 0.32 ft3/minute and 795 psi still in the tank when I surfaced.  Not bad for Jack's 3rd open water dive.

Luis left after the first dive and Jack and I went over the Table problems, then Jack took and passed his Final Exam during our surface interval. We geared up and got in the water for his 4th and final dive. I did not take the camera as Luis made only the one dive with us.  We descended in 16 feet of water and headed out to the SE.  Got into 22 feet and turned North.  Bumped into the 3-tiered reef line, but did not see the Jacks.  headed back to the beach.  Dive Time of 94 minutes; RMV of 0.31 ft3/minute and almost 1500 psi left in the tank.