16 May 2015

Diving with a Reef Squid and Striped Burrfish off Catamarand Beach

I got up early, fixed coffee and shaved, then walked the dog. I still wasted time and left the apartment a little after 5:00 am instead of 4:45 am. I got to the beach and the parking on the East side of the lot was blocked off. I parked under a street light on the West side of the street but just across from the entrance where I usually park. I geared up, checked my lights and got in the water. Swam on the surface to the swim buoy and descended. Went over the blocks and then headed East.

No Anemones this morning, but lots of shots of shrimp. I also found a large Caribbean Reef Squid who was stunned by the light and let me get quite close to take pictures.

Kept going East to deep water at 25.5 feet. Hit 60 minutes and ascended for a short surface interval.

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 26 feet; dive time was 1 hour and my SAC rate was 18.66 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

On the surface I was East of the condo or apartment building just North of Bahia Mar. Figured I had enough gas to go North and explore at least to the umbrella stands off the Marriott, but had to rethink that analysis as I was huffing against the current to get back. Followed the Swiss Cheese Reef North and then back South, so I got lots of pictures, Found a Spotted Trunkfish and got a shot.

I turned West and crossed the dark sand patch, the reef and got to white sand. Surfaced at 8 feet to secure the flagline. Had some trouble getting out, but it was all balance and waves.

Bottom temperature 78 degrees; maximum depth was 26 feet; dive time was 53 minutes and my SAC rate was 16.35 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

I got out and was warming up when Luis got to the parking lot. He was eager to get in the water so I pushed it a little, but I had finished my coffee and was getting reasonably warm. Luis took the flag and we both took our cameras. Descended at the swim buoy and headed East. Went slowly and looked at everything. Got into the staghorn coral and then the Swiss Cheese Reef, where we turned North and went with the current.

Lots of fish, lots of swim throughs. It was very enjoyable, but I was getting cold by 60 minutes and eager to get out when we did, even though I had a good deal of gas left. Stopped to talk to the lifeguard, although I did not recognize him. He acted like we were old pals. He could have been the surfer dude who chewed us out about swimming through the swim area.

Bottom temperature 80 degrees; maximum depth was 20 feet; dive time was 108 minutes and my SAC was 16.0 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

I wanted to explore the area along the buoy line to the North, but it just wasn't a good idea today: too much sand in the water and too shallow. I did get a nice shot of this Hogfish, however.

 So we went NE up to the Swiss Cheese Reef and again turned North. Got this shot of a Smooth Trunkfish pretending to be a hummingbird.

I started worrying about fighting the current and turned the dive at 60 minutes. We we South, then Southwest. and finally just turned West  to get into the beach.

Bottom temperature was 78 degrees; maximum depth was only 23 feet; dive time was 89 minutes and my SAC rate was 15.59 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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