07 April 2015

Diving the Little Coral Knoll, sort of

Went to Birch State Park this morning since the whole South Beach parking lot is closed until next Monday. Geared up and got in the water, which was relatively warm but bouncy. I swam out to the swim buoy and descended. visibility was 3 ft or less, but I managed to find the old buoy pin and then the Big Rock.

I took a couple of pictures on the Big Rock, but visibility was really poor. I headed South to the smaller rock but ended up at the knee-high coral and went from there to the decorated sea rods, the dead sea rods and the counter-weight. That's as close as I got to the knoll. Think I got set North. In the low visibility, I just couldn't find the knoll.
I just swam around and got this shot of an Initial Phase Redband Parrotfish  
and this shot of a red-tipped Fire Worm.  I spent about an hour swimming and looking, then surfaced to find I was pretty much East of Tower 15.

Bottom Temperature was 76 degrees; dive time was 60 minutes; consumption was 25.07 psi/minute at an average depth of 18 feet and my SAC rate was 16.22 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

After a 5 minute surface interval, I guessed that I was North of the knoll, so I descended to 18 feet and then moved South to 22 feet of water, but I never found the knoll or any of the various landmarks I know in the area. I picked up some shells and took some pictures, but visibility was so bad that I wasn't optimistic.
 I got this sot of a Juvenile Queen Angelfish
and this shot of an Orange Spotted Filefish.

I had to surface at about 700 psi to see where I was and how best to get to the beach. Turns out I was well South of Tower 15 at that point and since the A1A project had blocked the street entrance to the beach, I would have to go down the stairs, through the tunnel and up the other stairs to get back to the truck even if I did swim back to Tower 15. I decided to exit onto Sunrise and walk in the main entrance to the park. It was a longer walk, but no stairs would be involved. After being weightless for almost 2 hours it was important that no stairs would be involved.

Bottom temperature was 76 degrees; dive time was 51 minutes; consumption was 25.84 psi/minute at an average depth of 18 feet and my SAC rate was 16.72 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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