24 March 2015

Two Search and Recovery Dives off Tower 17

On Saturday, Brent, who works at the rental office and snack bar at Birch State Park told me that a yacht had recently lost its anchor off Tower 17. He said it was North of the swim buoy on the sand before the reef. I decided to check it out this morning.

Got in the water a little after 9:00, but I swam on the surface out to the buoy line, then North to Tower 17. It took about 45 minutes. Then I descended on the 100 degree bearing off the Tower and over the blocks. Took a few moments to set up once I was on the bottom. I was carrying both my SMB and lift bag so I could recover the anchor should I find it, and both of these were floating next to me and in the way of the camera. From the blocks, I swam up the gunsight and kept going East looking for the Cigar Rock. I did not find it, instead, I found the Green Mountainous Coral near the Perpendicular Rocks. Then went to the Swept Rock and finally to the Knoll.

On the North side of the Knoll I found the Rock Hind I have photographed there over the last two years. It's still as timid as ever, but perhaps that's why its still alive. Anyway, it was nice to see. I hung with the fish on the Knoll for awhile.

I spotted and photographed a Juvenile Stoplight Parrotfish.
 I also got this shot of a Juvenile Creole Wrasse.
 Then I found a small Nudibranch and
got two pictures.
I couldn't resist this shot of a pair of Porkfish.

I got this shot of a Sand Diver

and really enjoy this shot of a White Grunt opening his mouth and requesting a cleaning from the small Spanish Hogfish in front of him.

After some time on the Knoll, I swam down to the buoy line to look for the anchor. I swam a U-shape pattern between the reef and the buoy-line then surfaced at 60 minutes.

Bottom temperature was 75 degrees; dive time was 60 minutes; consumption rate was 25.58 psi/minute at an average depth of 18 feet and my SAC rate was 16.55 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

I stayed on the surface for 7 minutes, then descended and finished running my u-shaped pattern well South of Tower 17.  I saw no sign of an anchor, lost or otherwise, and wonder about the accuracy of the location information from Brent. I swam with the current to the South and made really good time all the way to Tower 14, so I could swim back on the surface fighting the current. I found a gaudy natica along the way and a spiral shell which was white with a red spiral line.

Water temperature was 76 degrees; dive time was 51 minutes; consumption was 27.75 psi/minute at an average depth of 18 feet and my SAC rate was 17.95 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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