24 April 2015

My First Lesser Electric Ray off Catamaran Beach

Got to the beach about 5:15 am. Geared up and got in the water. looked for the swim buoy, but could not find it in the dark. Headed off to the NE, against a slight South current. Seemed like I was in 18 feet of water forever. Missed the staghorn coral. Missed the large Coral heads.

I did run into what I first thought was a small Atlantic Guitarfish, maybe 18 inches long, but which I now think is a Lesser Electric Ray. Unlike the Guitarfish, which has a triangular head and pectoral fins, this fish has a rounded, almost circular head.

I spent some time following this guy, who was not particularly shy, but did not like the strobe.

I ended up North of the Marriott Courtyard in an algae patch area about 15 feet deep. Came back South for deeper water and got into 20 feet as I got to 60 minutes. Surfaced with just over 1500 psi.

Bottom temperature was 78 degrees; dive time was 61 minutes; consumption was 28.18 psi/minute at an average depth of 15 feet. and my SAC rate was 19.37 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

When I descended, it was more twilight than night. I spent my surface interval swimming to get South of the Marriott Courtyard. I dropped to about 20 feet and swam to the SW once on the bottom. I got into the Coral Heads and found some fish.

Got this shot of a White Grunt,

 this closeup of a Scrawled Cowfish,
 this shot of a Planehead Filefish, and
 this shot of a Banded Tube dwelling Anemone.

about 20 minutes into the dive I came across the plow anchor I had been looking for the last two weeks. It was due East of Tower 4. I went up 3 different times to get bearings and landmarks. I think I can find it again when I have some tools to disconnect the chain and the lift bag to help carry it. I was beginning to think I would never find it, of course, I never would have found it looking North of the Marriott.

On the way back to the beach, I found a nice looking Danforth Anchor with some chain rode. I carried it down to the swim buoy in front of Tower 3 and dropped it to the NE about 30 feet. I didn't think I could manage the camera, my fins, the flag and an anchor.

Bottom temperature was 78 degrees; dive time was 52 minutes; consumption rate was 25.17 psi/minute at an average depth of 17 feet and my SAC rate was 16.61 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

I called Ashley as soon as I got out of the water and then drove up to Ryan's to pick her up. We drove back down to the South Beach lot and parked right in front of the entry. We geared up and got in the water a little after 9:00 am. Since the lifeguards were here, we swam on the surface out to the swim buoy and she had a little trouble equalizing as she descended, but she got it done. She was heavy at 12 pounds, but she was wearing a shorty as well as a full suit. I ended up putting air in her Inner Tube so she could stay off the bottom.

We swam to the East a bit and then got on the sand to run through some skills. She did fine until we got to the mask removal and replace skill. She refused to take her mask off. Just shook her head "no." I asked twice. She refused twice. We moved on. We swam out to the sand and then headed back. I wanted to go by the swim buoy off Tower 2 and pick up the anchor I left there last dive, but as we got near, I found two other cheaper danforth style anchors, so I carried those two back to the beach. Ashley helped me get them both back to the truck.

Bottom temperature was 78 degrees; Dive time was 83 minutes; consumption was 26.48 psi/minute at an average depth of 15 feet and my SAC rate was 18.21 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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