10 January 2015

Diving the Yankee Clipper Jacks with Luis

I decided, based on yesterday's visibility and currents, not to take my camera this morning. Big mistake. Visibility was so much better today. Luis found a star fish. We don't see many of these. We moved a bit to the North so we had a long swim to the Jacks when we finally turned. After turning, I spotted a baby Flounder on the sand, but it successfully escaped from me. On the Jacks, Luis also found a Spotted Cleaner Shrimp next to a Giant Anemone. We turned the dive at about 50 minutes when each of us reached half a tank. We swam West along the South side of the Jacks. I left the Jacks at 1,100 psi and sucked my tank dry before surfacing just past the swim buoy.

Water temperature was 75 degrees; Dive Time was 90 minutes; consumption rate was 28.59 psi/minute at an average depth of 19 feet; SAC was 18.14 psi and my MRV was 0.47 ft3/minute.

Took a while to warm up for our second dive, but the sun felt really good. We geared up and this time we took our cameras, then walked to the water and got in. I wanted to swim out farther so we would have more time on the Jacks with the cameras.  We got out almost to the sand, and went down.  We swam East, but we did not get set to the North and I never found the Star fish. Too bad. Luis did find the Spotted Cleaner Shrimp, once we got to the Jacks. I got several pictures.

Spotted Cleaner Shrimp in front of a Giant Anemone on the Jacks

This second dive was a slightly longer dive, but not as interesting as the first dive, or maybe it just seemed that way because I left my camera behind on the first dive. I did get these other pictures:

 Bicolor Damselfish
Black Spotted Feather Duster
Bluestriped Grunt
Translucent hermit crab
 Intermediate Gray Angelfish
a small portion of the Yankee Clipper Jacks
 Sergeant Major
Orange Spotted Filefish
Townsend Angelfish

Luis took the flag, so I had a pretty easy time getting out of the water.

Water temperature was 75 degrees; Dive Time was 96 minutes; consumption was 30.45 psi/minute at 20 ft average depth; SAC was 18.96 psi/minute and the RMV was 0.49 ft3/ minute.

09 January 2015

Solo Dive on the Yankee Clipper Jacks

The weather forecast was for light NW winds, but they were SE at the beach and about 8 knots.  I got in the water and swam out to the swim buoy to descend, but I couldn't see a thing.  Visibility was less than 3 ft in the shallow water.  I headed East and trusted the compass, but there was a varying current, as well.  I swam out to the 3 tiered reef, but I was blowing through gas pretty quickly.  On Wednesday, I had made a 142 minute dive on 3400 psi. Today I only made 109 minutes on the same amount of gas.  I took some pictures, but not many and few of what I took came out.  Too much back scatter.

Horse Conch
Seaweed Blenny and some unknown snail like creature

Slippery Dick

Water temperature was 73 degrees; Dive Time 109 minutes; consumption was 29 psi/minute at an average depth of 17 ft; SAC rate was 19.17 psi/minute; and the RMV was 0.49 ft3/minute.

07 January 2015

Solo Dive off Tower 2

I got to the South Beach parking lot at 8:20 am and a lifeguard was opening up Tower 1. Fortunately, he got his running gear and left. I set up my gear, walked to the water and got in.  Swam out on the surface and went down just past the swim buoys, but South of the bearing to the Jacks. Moderate South current, and I couldn't make much headway against it, so I went down where I was and crawled North on the bottom. I then swam East, slowly. I went by some familiar groups of blocks, then seemed to spend the rest of the dive in unfamiliar territory.  I think I was farther North than usual.  I surfaced at about 90 minutes and was Way North of Tower 2.  Anyway, I let myself drift South and ended up coming out just where I wanted to be.  Didn't see a lot of life and didn't get great pictures, but the dive was long.

 Butter Hamlet
Caribbean Spiny Lobster
 Juvenile Queen Angelfish
Saddled Blenny
 Sailor's Choice
 Striped Parrotfish
Spotted Goatfish

Water Temperature was 76 degrees; Dive time was 141 minutes; consumption was 22.82 psi/minute at an average depth of 15 feet, while the SAC rate was 15.37 psi/minute; RMV was 0.40 ft3/minute.

06 January 2015

Solo Dive on the Little Coral Knoll

Up early to a gorgeous morning. Got to the park before 8:00 am and had to wait in line for the park to open. Geared up and walked around, but I was swimming out by 8:30 am and descended at 8:44 am well beyond the swim buoy. Water was hazy when I first got in, but got worse as the wind picked up.  I had some trouble finding the Big Rock, but finally did.  Swam to the smaller rock, the knee-high coral and two dead looking sea rods and the went South to the counter-weight. From there, I swam 130 degrees past the stark rod, the gateway, the green and red coral and then I spotted the tipped over coral head on the NE side of the knoll.  I could easily have swum past. I took pictures and hung out.
 Butter Hamlet
Caribbean Spiny Lobster
 Juvenile Queen Angelfish
 Saddled Blenny
 Sailor's Choice
Spotted Goatfish
Striped Parrotfish with Porkfish in the background

When I got down to 1000 psi, I headed back, except that I missed the counter-weight and ended up to far North past the Sand Sea. Swam West toward the beach, hoping to recognize something, but never did.  Got into 10 feet of water and still had lots of air, so I went back East, and spotted two sea rods that looked familiar, then turned North and found the Big Rock.

Water temperature was 76 degrees; Dive Time was 131 minutes; consumption rate was 24.73 psi/minute at 21 feet; SAC rate was 16 psi/minute; RMV was 0.41 ft3/minute.  

05 January 2015

Solo Dive to the Yankee Clipper Jacks

Got to the parking lot and geared up. I decided to take my camera as the ocean was almost flat. As I was walking out, a lifeguard was jogging on the beach and asked me if I were diving solo. I told him I was because it was safer, statistically, citing the DAN study. I also suggested that as an instructor, I dove alone a lot. As a photographer, I preferred being by myself. He responded that they have rules and I suggested that my Solo Diving certification ought to trump their rules. Anyway, he said they might hassle me if I get in the water after 9:45 when they take to the Towers. Good way to start the dive. More fat cocksuckers in red leather chairs ready to run my life for my own good.

I got in the water and swam out to the swim buoy to descend. I was over the cut out I dove last time I solo dived, so I stopped and got some pictures.

Juvenile Green Razorfish

Sharpnose Puffer
Sergeant Major
Yellow Sand Ray

I swam slowly to the East and was feeling pretty smug when it took 18 minutes to use the 400 psi extra in my fill. I'm figuring I'll do a 130 minute dive:  18 + 60 to 1500 psi then 40 to 500 , which gives me 118 plus whatever I make on that last 500 psi. Sounded good in theory, but by the end of the dive I was stretching to make 116 minutes.

Swam East over the 13 foot shelf and stayed East over the sand and to the 3-tiered reef. Once I passed the 3-tiered reef, I angled South and swam to the Jacks.

 Got some shots of this Planehead Filefish,
this Rock Beauty,
 a Sand Diver,
 and this Stoplight Parrotfish.

Swam West on the South side of the Jacks and left the Jacks at 1000 psi. Just made it to the sand before the beach with 350 psi left.

Water temperature was 76 degrees; Dive Time was 116 minutes; consumption rate at an average depth of 18 feet was 27.40 psi/minute; SAC rate was 17.73 psi/minute; and the RMV was 0.46 ft3/minute.

04 January 2015

Darryn, Luis and I dive the Yankee Clipper Jacks

I was the first to arrive at the South Beach parking lot, but Luis and Darryn were only minutes behind me. Darryn has a new job on a 200 ft boat out of Papau New Ginea, so he settled up. Says he is leaving Tuesday. We geared up and got in the water. It was another day to leave the camera in the truck.

I walked out to neck deep water, submerged to put my fins on and came up kicking.  We had drifted a good bit North. I struggled and made up about half that distance, then watched Luis and Darryn get their fins on. Water was rough. Current was strong. It occurred to me that this might be a good time to descend where we were and make our way South underwater. So that is sort of what we did. crawled along the 13 foot shelf, pulling myself hand over hand rather than kicking. Had an extra 8 minutes from the fill yesterday and benefitted from the shallow depth. Crossed the shelf in 500 psi, then swam over sand to the 3-tiered reef.  Crossed that and went out on the next sand patch to 25 feet and turned South.

Found a small Gaudy Natacia as we swam along. Hit the Jacks at about 2100 psi. Followed along to the East, but staying on the North side, then crossed over and swam West on the South side. Current and surge were stronger on the South side.  Left the Jacks with 1500 psi.  By the time we hit the reef, Darryn was down to 1100 psi and about 600 at the 13 foot shelf. We shared my air over the 13 ft shelf, then separated when we crossed onto the sand.  I was fighting with the flag reel and Luis took it from me. I swam in by myself, but watched Luis struggling to free the flag line from his tank as he and Darryn rode a wave by me.  I came up in 4 ft of water.  We were South of Tower 1, so I let the current carry me North while I got my fins off and ambled onto the beach.  Exciting Exit.

Water temperature was 76 degrees; Dive Time was 91 minutes; consumption was a hearty 31.18 psi/minute at an average depth of 19 feet; SAC rate was 19.78 at and average depth of 19 feet; RMV was 0.51 ft3/minute.