21 May 2015

Night Diving and a Solo Dive off Catamaran Beach

Got to the beach early and geared up. The tank I chose had only 2500 psi, but I decided to dive it anyway. I got in the water and realized as I was swimming out to the buoy that I had forgotten my primary light. I still had my backup and decided to make the dive with just the one light.

I descended near the buoy. I headed East, except that I frequently caught myself turning to drift with the North current. I spotted two Green Sea Turtles sacked out in different areas on the reef and quickly got pictures and left before the turtles did.

I also spotted an Atlantic Guitarfish, but it was wide awake and moving when I spotted him. I got some pictures.

I swam over a couple of sand flats and then got on the Swiss Cheese Reef. I was down to 1300 psi when I got into 21 feet of water. As it was also 39 minutes, I ascended.

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 21 feet; dive time was 39 minutes and my SAC rate was 20.82 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

When I got to the surface, I was North of the Marriott, so I spent the surface interval swimming South. Seemed like I was making headway through the water, but when I looked over at the Marriott, it seemed like I was right where I started. So I descended to 24 feet of water and swam to the SW. I spotted a Hawksbill Sea Turtle under the patch reef just East of the Swiss Cheese Reef and go some pictures.

I also spotted a second Hawksbill in one of the holes on the Swiss Cheese Reef, but that turtle took off as soon as I spotted it and I did not get any pictures.

I got some shots of a Spotted Spiny Lobster.  I haven't seen many of them in the past few years.  I also got shots of a Smooth Trunkfish and a Scrawled Cowfish, but nothing really striking.

Got this shot of a Pederson Shrimp. I was being a calm as I could but ran out of gas just past the buoy line and came up.

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 24 feet; dive time was 40 minutes and my RMV was 0.46 ft3/minute.

I had not really warmed up during my 85 minute surface interval, but nonetheless geared up and got back in the water. I swam out to the swim buoy and descended. I spotted the little stingray swimming nearby. I quickly got some pictures, but I couldn't tell if he was looking for a place to sleep or scrounging for food. He kept moving and headed away once I started flashing the strobe.

I continued at a slow pace up to the Swiss Cheese Reef and then headed North with the current. As usual, there were a lot of reef fish, but nothing special.
I went past the umbrella stands and turned East to the sand flat. There, I headed South looking for shells. Found a Gaudy Natica, but it was a small one. Poked my head up at an hour and was between Bahia Mar and the yellow condo building to the North.

I headed WSW past the swiss cheese reef and spent some time searching for shells on the sand flat, which was where I got this shot of a Spotted Eagle Ray.  There were actually two of them, but they were moving pretty quickly and not too close to me.  I was lucky to get this shot.

I headed West to the beach, but stopped East of the buoy line. I ran my tank down to 250 psi and then swam in to surface in 6 feet of water just South of Tower 4. Nice dive, but 137 minutes is not nearly as long as the 155 minutes for yesterday's dive.

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 24 feet; dive time was 137 minutes and my RMV was 0.38 ft3/minute.

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