22 March 2015

Diving the Little Coral Knoll with Leo

Leo got to the Park about quarter to 9:00, which was fine. We geared up and headed down the hill. The gate was open, so we went to the beach and got in the water. Swam on the surface out past the swim buoy and descended on the Big Rock.

Saw several lionfish on the Big Rock, but I didn't take any pictures. Instead, I got a shot of this little Seaweed Blenny

and this Spotted Scorpionfish.  Then Leo and I headed South to the smaller rock. Leo took a few pictures there, and then we headed off at 120 degrees to the knee-high coral, the two decorator sea rods, and across the sand sea to the dead rods. We jogged South to the counter-weight and then got back on our 120 degrees bearing past the bare rod, the green star coral head with the red-boring sponge to the knoll.

We drifted across and around the knoll for awhile, then I decided I wanted to go to the Porthole Rocks. I looked, but couldn't find Leo or his bubbles. I finally decided that he must have gone already.

So I headed off at 45 degrees from the NE tipped Coral Head and about half way to the Porthole rocks ran into an Octopus.

He kept an eye on me as he made his way under the Coral Head beside him

I went to the back of the coral head, but he spotted me as soon as I peeked around.

A large Red Grouper watched the whole thing and inserted himself between me and the Octopus.

Leo and I did a little exploring West of the Porthole Rocks, then swam back to the knoll. At 1000 psi, we turned the dive and headed back to the beach. Hung out in about 7 ft of water until I tripped 120 minutes, then surfaced.

Water temperature was 75 degrees; dive time was 2 hours; consumption was 24.88 psi/minute at an average depth of 18 feet; SAC rate was 16.10 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

Leo called his pregnant wife and got permission to make a second dive so long as he got back to Miami by 2:00 pm, so we geared up and got in for a 90 minute dive. Same pattern as the first dive: went to the Little Coral Knoll and hung out with the fish then went over to the Porthole Rocks and explored to the West some more; came back to the knoll and then headed back to the beach.

I got this picture of a Black Spotted Feather Duster,

 this shot of a Graysby on the knoll,
this shot of a Hogfish to the South of the knoll,
and this shot of a Starfish on the sand on the way back to the beach.

Water temperature was 76 degrees; dive time was 85 minutes; consumption was 23.72 psi/minute at an average depth of 17 feet; SAC rate was 15.65 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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