08 November 2014

Diving the Big Coral Knoll with Ryan O'Connor

Tim Rice, a PADI instructor who works part time for Matt at Underseas Sports, introduced me to Ryan O'Connor and suggested we might like to dive together since Ryan lives just across the road from Tower 17. I was supposed to meet Ryan at 8:00 am, but got there at 7:30 am. Just a little eager to dive the Knoll again. Ryan was eager, too, but he wanted to hunt lobsters.

We geared up and walked across the street. He had so much lobster gear to carry that putting on fins in the water would be difficult, so he put his fins on at the shoreline and then walked backwards into the water and over the sand bar, just like the PADI video demonstrates. I've never found that to be very efficient. I walked in to chest high water and put mine on. Then we swam out to the blocks. Difficult to see them from the surface, but I got close enough to see them once we went down.

Headed up the gunsight up to Irish Thighs, which looks much smaller than I remember; then past the sponge and up to the Cigar Rock, though I was a little South of the mark but still spotted it. Headed East from there but ended up just below the Bubble Rocks. Corrected course and headed for the Perpendicular Rocks, the Swept Rock and, finally, the Big Coral Knoll. Lots of French Grunts, some of whom were going mouth to mouth. Went around the Knoll. Spotted the green Rock Hind on the tipped over coral head on the North side of the Knoll. No turtles. I wonder if the construction hasn't scared them off to the second reef line, or at least North to LBTS. Made a second lap and then headed over to the English Garden then back and headed to the Fish Camp Rocks.

Ryan chased some Lobster there and caught one. Saw some Sweepers and a couple of Midnight Parrotfish. Really missing my camera on this dive. Ryan was getting low on air, so we headed back to the beach. Had to go South to find the Big Gray Rock, but we did and went from there to the Cigar Rock, the Irish Thighs, over the blocks and back on the beach. Bill Evans was on the Tower and we chatted from a bit. Not a bad dive but a little chilly for my taste and we spent too much time swimming. Should have slowed everything down and ambled up the reef instead of swimming purposefully.

Dive time was 93 minutes; consumption rate was 30.55 psi/minute; SAC rate was 19.77 psi/minute; and my RMV was 0.51 ft3/minute.

Found out later that after our dive, Ryan went to the Emergency Room suspecting that he had developed subcutaneous emphysema:  he heard the bubbles crinkling in his neck. We discussed it and I think it is likely that because he has only had a handful of dives, he would hold his breath as he tried to capture a lobster and, of course, holding his breath would make him positively buoyant so he would float up. He may well have sustained an air gas embolism and ruptured some alveoli.  

06 November 2014

Luis and I make a Night Dive across the Tower 2 Algae Patch

Met Luis in the South Beach parking lot a little before 6:00 pm.  We got in the water pretty quickly as it was getting dark. I could barely make out the swim buoys by 6:25 pm and there was no chance we could track our bearing to the Jacks. We descended and made our way more or less to the East across the algae field. Got into 22 ft of water then came to the tiered ledge, but we weren't where we usually are to get on the Jacks. Luis spotted a young green turtle who hung around us for a bit. Also spotted a large crab. Kind of a nice dive there, but we could have skipped the 600 yard swim to get there. The effective closure of the beaches North of Sunrise and recent high winds have caused me to severely cut back on my diving.  I now lay around and, bored, eat too much. I've put on some weight, maybe 20 pound. I was not well weighted at 10 pounds and my gas usage suffered:  RMV of 0.47 ft3/minute.  Dive Time was just a little over 90 minutes; actual consumption was 27.46 psi/minute at an average depth of 17 feet; SAC rate of 18.13 psi/minute.