20 May 2015

Solo Dive at Sunrise

Woke up in plenty of time to get to the beach, I just didn't want to. So I took the dog for a walk and finished the pictures from yesterday. Then I decided to go make a solo dive just after sunrise.

Got to the beach and had to park on the West side of the North-bound lane. Geared up and got in a little after sunrise. Swam to the buoy then descended and headed North along a patch reef, moving slowly and taking my time while looking for some landmark that might make it easier to find the swim buoy underwater. I didn't find anything, except that the sand corridor I thought was there was not.

So I headed East over the reef to the sand flat. I spotted a number of Sailfin Blennys who would emerge from their burrow and wave their huge dorsal fin. Seemed to be some celebration among the Blennies. I got this shot of a Sailfin Blenny with his sail unfurled. Many of them were coming all the way out of their burrows and hanging a foot or more off the reef to signal to the others.

I swam up to the Swiss Cheese Reef and thought about going North, but I was really moving slowly and I did not want to get in a low on air situation that would cause me to raise my SAC rate.

I kept going East and came to the Staghorn Coral. I don't understand why it is so difficult to find this patch, but it is.

Got this shot of a White and several French Grunts in the coral.

Also picked up a small school of maybe half a dozen Yellow Jacks who would speed by me, then double back and buzz by me a second time. I got the shot below on one of these second passes.

I kept going East up through the staghorn coral, over a small sand corridor and then over some more reef to about 24 feet of water. Took about an hour to get there and I decided to turn the dive at that point.

I went back over the reefs, then stopped at the sand flat and looked around for any Gaudy Naticas.

I remember seeing the blocks on one of my dives with Luis, but I'm not sure how I got there. I thought it was open to the beach, but I proved that theory wrong during the first part of this dive. So I headed South along this sand flat and found that I could get well South of the Tower 4 buoy, which is what I must have done. Then I would see the blocks if I swam Northwest. Indeed, I found the blocks at about the 2-hour mark then stayed close as I burned through the balance of my air. With 300 psi in my tank, I headed West to the beach. time was 150 minutes and I got down to 149 psi in less than 6 minutes.

Bottom temperature was 80 degrees; maximum depth was 25 feet; Average depth was 16 feet; dive time was 155 minutes and my SAC was 14.25 psi/minute on an aluminum 80 or 0.37 ft3/minute residual minute volume at the surface.

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