19 May 2015

Night Diving, a Solo Dive and a dive with Dennis Viasnikov off Catamaran Beach

Got to the parking lot about 4:40 am and there were two cop cars blocking the entrance. I parked, left my lights on but turned off the engine and got out to talk to the cops. Seems that there was some out-of-hand Haitian celebration last night so these two cops were there to close the park. I pointed out the the park would open in only 15 minutes and asked if I could park and gear up. They allowed me to do so, so I did.

I got in the water at about 5:00 am. There was a lot of wind this morning, but the sea was fairly calm except for the surf. I descended at the swim buoy and headed East. I spotted a Bluespotted Coronetfish and got some shots.

Shortly after that, I spotted a Purplemouth Moray Eel. My Cree light went out off and on and decided to cut out when I was lying flat on he bottom facing the on coming eel I didn't know where the eel was, so I went up a few feet and played with the light, then settled down to take some pictures once it was working again.

At 60 minutes, I came up to find that I was off the Marriott,

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 24 feet; dive time was 60 minutes and my SAC rate was 17.31 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

During the surface interval I swam South hoping to make up some of the distance the current had set me, but I didn't make up much.

I descended in 25 feet of water and began swimming and pulling myself along on a SW bearing. I spotted this young and small Scrawled Filefish swimming above me and went up to get pictures.

I then continued SW, hoping to run into the blocks just East of the buoy, but I never got that close. I ran out of air and came up well East of the swim buoy off Tower 4. I swam in on the surface.

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 25 feet; dive time was only 34 minutes and my SAC rate was 25.20 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

I spoke with Francois Greyling during my surface interval. He tried to interest me in rebreathers, but I think those days are in the past.

I changed gear and got back in the water about 8:00 am. Swam to the swim buoy and descended at 8:12 am and let the current carry me to the North. I swam Est and slowly picked my way through the reefs and sand to get to the Swiss Cheese Reef. I missed the staghorn coral, but it was fun to drift along the reef. Got this shot of a Threespot Damselfish.

I headed back early to spend some time searching for Tower 4 and the associated swim buoy. Spent time looking, but didn't really find what I needed. I did end up just off Tower 4, but it was happenstance. Got this shot of a Sand Diver in the shallows East of the buoy.

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 22 feet; dive time was 141 minutes and my SAC rate was 14.97 psi/minute, a considerable improvement over the previous dive.

Dennis Vianikov had arranged to meet me on the beach and had called to say that he would be there soon. I decided to not take the camera. Figured I might have my hands full with Dennis and visibility was pretty bad, anyway.

We geared up at the truck, walked to the water and swam out to the swim buoy to descend. Then we headed East. Dennis was concerned that his alternate air source was leaking air, and it was, but there wasn't much to do about it at this point.

We followed the same basic pattern as my solo dive, East up to the Swiss Cheese Reef, then North past both coral heads and more, then East again for a short ways to the sand and then South by Southwest back to the beach. Along the way I found a medium sized Gaudy Natica. I also spotted some squid ink handing in the water. Small amounts and not well distributed. I tried to let Dennis know what it was and to be on the lookout for some baby reef squids. He did not understand.

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 22 feet; dive time was 84 minutes and Dennis was on his reserve.  My SAC rate was 14.84 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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