27 February 2015

Diving the T2 Algae Patch

This morning was overcast but calm. My camera was working and I got this great shot of a single empty chair on the beach facing the ocean with dark clouds covering the sky except for a narrow strip of light across the horizon.

I decided to explore the Algae Patch off Tower 2 and swam on the surface out to the swim buoy where I descended. I moved slowly along the patch heading East, but would get turned around easily.

 I found a few shells and took some pictures as I moved towards the sand, including this shot of a couple of Juvenile French Grunts on a lonely patch of coral.

A little further on, I spotted this Purplemouth Moray Eel under some rocks.

I was moving quickly off the algae patch when looked up to see a Loggerhead Turtle directly in front of me. I got some pictures, but I was not close enough for them to turn out well. Had I seen the turtle earlier, I might have been able to approach more obliquely, but I startled it by heading directly for it. She was not interested in letting me tag along and I simply could not keep up.

Shortly after encountering the Loggerhead, I spotted something green with white/yellow spots in the sand. At first I thought it might be some kind of Zoanthid, but as I dusted away the sand, I found it was a fish. I think it was one of the stargazers, but really did not get that good a look at it. I had just decided it was a fish and was pulling the camera up to get a shot and it took off. I never did get a picture and I didn't even try to follow. It was fast.

I continued across the sand looking for shells and spotted Leo's coffin from an earlier dive this year. I took some pictures of a Yellow Sand Ray next to the box, but didn't try to break it open.

I kept swimming roughly East and went up from 24 feet of water near the 3-tiered reef.

Water Temperature was 73 degrees; Dive time was 61 minutes; consumption was 24.77 psi/minute at an average depth of 17 feet; SAC was 16.35 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

I got tangled up in the damn flag line while at the surface. Decided to wind it up some, but it was wrapped around my right leg and I could not get it off while on the surface. I let it go and straightened everything out when I descended.

Got this shot of a Red Grouper

 This shot of a Split Crown Feather Duster.

This shot of what I think is a Sun Zoanthid. There were several colonies of these.

I had traveled South during my surface interval and went down to 21 feet. I headed WSW and moved towards the beach.
 Just as I was leaving the sand, I spotted an Atlantic Guitarfish racing across the sand. It was being shadowed by a Blue Runner. I took a couple of shots, but like the Loggerhead, I was too far away to expecgt much.

I got over the algae patch in 50 minutes but still had 400 psi left, so I just drifted across the sand and ran out another 10 minutes.

Water temperature was 73 degrees; Dive Time was 60 minutes; consumption was 24.12 psi/minute at an average depth of 14 feet; SAC rate was 16.93 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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