17 January 2015

Leo, Luis and I dive the Yankee Clipper Jacks

Luis and Leo were already at the South Beach parking lot when I pulled up. We talked for a bit, then geared up and headed to the water for our First Dive. We swam out past the swim buoys, then descended and headed on an E bearing, but got set a bit to the North. We found a funny chest on the sand and were North of the 3-tiered reef.  Spent some time poking and prodding the chest, but got nowhere. We continued East.

We turned at 24 ft and headed South to the Jacks. I got a few photos on this dive, including this shot of Banded Porcelain Crab on top of a Rough File Clam;

 this shot of a Hogfish at the Jacks; and
this shot of a Pearly Razorfish.

We were all low on air by the time we got to the Jacks, and I was cold, as well, so we didn't linger. Luis was towing a small Danforth anchor which was attached to their two SMBs. They had picked it before getting to the Jacks and the surface current was obviously creating problems. I put the camera away once I saw Luis with the anchor and hustled to keep my flag line out of his way. We were both moving right along on the way West to the beach. I lost sight of him a few times, but would just wait in place and he would come along dragging the anchor.

Both of us came up out of air as we went under the swim buoy line. We swam in on the surface and didn't have much of a problem getting out. Water temperature was 75 degrees; consumption rate was 33.70 psi/minute at an average depth of 19 ft; SAC rate was 21.38 psi/minute; RMV was 0.55 ft3/minute.

It took me a while to warm up after the first dive, but I was ready to get in the water for our Second Dive after about an hour. We swam out on the surface most of the way to the sand.  We wanted to get more time on the Jacks with the good visibility. I still used the same approach:  East to 24 feet of water then turn South to the Jacks. We got to the beginning of the Jacks when I still had 2500 psi in my tank.

Found a Lightning Welk shell that was large and really pretty, but also really alive, so we left it where we found it. We continued swimming East on the North side of the Jacks.

I got this shot of a Bar Jack with some Sergeant Majors in the background.
I also got this shot of the Jacks.
This shot of what I think is a Juvenile Channel Flounder;
and this shot of a Trumpetfish.

I surfaced at the East end of the Jacks.  I was cold again, so I let the sun warm my hands as I watched a Catamaran sail by. I also checked our location relative to the East-West bearing. We were South. My computer rolled over while I was on the surface.

Water temperature was 75 degrees; consumption rate was 29.02 at an average depth of 19 ft; SAC ratte was 18.42 psi/minute; and the RMV was 0.48 ft3/minute.

After the Catamaran went by, I descended and tried to photograph some Ballyhoo near the surface. I didn't do well at that. We swam back on the South side of the Jacks. Near the end, I spotted some post-larval squid and took about 100 pictures.  I hoped some might turn out, some did.

I was shooting with my 100 mm macro lens, but it was difficult to hold still to focus on them. I was free floating in the water and they were moving, as well.
 I drained the battery on my strobe shooting the baby squid.

The clear water and bright sun allowed me to get some decent pictures without the strobe, like this shot of an Atlantic Spadefish,

and these pictures of Leo Paez
and Lis Monroy.

I had plenty of air this time, so the trip West to the beach was a much more pleasant experience. I surfaced in about 8 feet of water, wound up the flag line and swam in on the surface. Cross currents made getting to the beach difficult, but there wasn't much of a step up just South of Tower 1. Much easier than last night.

Water temperature was 73 degrees; consumption rate was 31.94 psi/minute at an average depth of 16 ft; SAC rate was 21.51 psi/minute; RMV was 0.55 ft3/minute.

15 January 2015

Thursday Night Dive with Luis on the Tower 2 Algae Patch

Luis left work early and sent me a text that he was on his way to the beach. I quickly got my gear ready and headed out, as well. I beat him into the lot by seconds. We geared up, walked to the water and got in. I felt good at first. We swam on the surface out to the swim buoy and descended then tried to head East but got set to the North. We got to the sand after about 40 minutes and I just started getting cold. I was also down to 2100 psi.

We were both taking pictures but I'm not sure how many will turn out okay. We saw some rather large red shrimp

Spotted this Longspine Porgy.

Found a Flame Box Crab on the 3-tiered reef. I was at half a tank before we made the turn South towards the Jacks.

We headed West instead. I was getting low on gas, but stopped to shoot a Fingerprint Cyphoma.

I was at 300 psi when we got to the sand and I ended up surfacing from 8 ft of water.

Water temperature was 75: consumption rate was 29.52 psi/minute at an average depth of 17 ft; SAC rate was 19.49 psi/minute; RMV was 0.5 ft3/minute.

Solo Dive on the Tower 2 Algae Patch

Got to the parking lot, geared up, set up the camera and got in the water. The tank held 3054 psi in the air, but pressure went up to 3256 psi in the water, which was considerably warmer than the surface air. I descended just past the swim buoy and swam East, taking my time. I looked for shells and tried to keep from getting set by the current.

I found an Atlantic Guitarfish and got some nice pictures, I hope.

I got to the sand at about 2200 psi  Hung out there looking for shells and fish until I got to 1500 psi and 67 minutes.  Then I started back to the West. Got all the way to the sand and spotted a Planehead Filefish.

Got this picture of a Dusky Jawfish in his borrow,

this shot of a Sheepshead Porgy.

and this shot of a Yellow Sand Ray.

Also found a Dusky Jawfish with his mouth full of eggs, but I scared him and though I waited for some time, he did not come back. I hung out until I got down to 350 psi and then headed for the beach.

Went up at about 125 psi and 121 minutes. Swam in on the surface. Struggled, but got up the step without falling, but it was hardly a graceful exit.  Just wasn't disgraceful.

Water temperature was 73 degrees; consumption at an average depth of 15 feet was 25.88 psi/minute; SAC rate was 17.79 and the RMV was 0.46 ft3/minute.

14 January 2015

Our Second Dive with Scubatyme was on Abbey Too

During our surface interval, Gary said he had seen a large Bull Shark during our first dive and was amazed that neither Jimmy, Jordan or I had seen it.

I popped the camera housing during our surface interval and re-fit the hot shoe. Got a flash, so I closed it back up. We got in the water and dropped. Held the mask on and tucked the camera to my chest. Caught the reel once in and down we went. I let the flag pull me South.

Gary spotted the large shark again and Jimmy claims to have seen it, too, but not me. Jordan, the doctor, hunted lobster and ran out of air early again. We drifted along, but I was running up against a no-decompression limit. Gary was getting cold. We went up with almost half a tank left. Still, got some better pictures, I think, using the strobe.

 For example, I think this shot of a Bicolor Damselfish came out much better than the one I took on the first dive.
 Same with this shot of a Blue Chromis.
 Got a nice shot of a Blue Tang,
 a Brown Chromis,

a Creole Wrasse,
and this Initial Phase Queen Parrotfish.

Water temperature on this dive was 75 degrees; Dive time was 48 minutes; consumption rate at an average depth of 42 feet was 42.23 psi/minute; SAC rate was 18.58 psi/minute; and RMV was 0.48 ft3/minute.

Gary, Jimmy and I dive on Turtle Ledge with Scubatyme

Captain Bob drove Scubatyme and Doug Blakely was the Divemaster. We had one other diver on board: a young doctor named Jordan. Essentially a private trip.

Got this shot of Gary Smith in the water.
and this shot of Jimmy Vidler.

I set up my camera with the wide angle lens and put it in the camera bucket at the stern. We set up our gear and talked diving as we traveled out to the dive site. Once there, I geared up and pulled my camera out of the bucket only to discover that the lens was fogged up. This was the same lens that had been on the camera I flooded back in September, the last time Gary and I dove on Scubatyme.

I quickly got out of my gear, opened the housing and pulled the camera  so I could change to the macro lens. I tried to put the camera back in the housing, but the macro lens would not fit through the sleeve used to adjust the wide angle lens. I had to take the dome port off, pull the sleeve, replace the dome port, put the camera back in the housing and lock it up. Then I quickly got in my gear and got on the swim platform and went in backwards. My mask came unseated and I had to adjust and clear it, then chase the reel Doug had dropped overboard after attaching it to the flag.

I was racing and must have pulled the plug from the hot shoe as the strobe would not fire in the water when I finally got around to taking pictures.  Oh well.  I opened up the aperture and shot without the strobe.  Pictures came out unexpectedly well:

Got this shot of a Blue Chromis,
 this shot of a Bluestriped Grunt,
This Spotted Moray Eel that Jimmy pointed out as we drifted along,
 this shot of a Graysby, and
this shot of a Harlequin Bass.

Water temperature was 75 degrees; Dive Time was 67 minutes; consumption at 44 feet average depth was 40.85 psi/minute; SAC rate was 17.51 psi/minute; and the RMV was 0.45 ft3/mintue.

13 January 2015

Diving the Yankee Clipper Jacks with Gary Smith and Jimmy Vidler

The sky was dark, overcast and windy this morning. Gary and Jimmy, my friends from Red Devil Scuba in Chatam Ontario, came over to the apartment about 8:30 am with their gear and we drove down to the beach.We geared up, walked to the water and got in at 8:55 am and swam on the surface out to the swim buoy, where we descended.

Swam slowly to the East, but apparently got set to the North. Got some pictures as we swam over the Algae Patch, the sand and the 3-tier reef, then turned South in 24 feet of water

Got this shot of a Bicolor Damselfish,

this shot of an Orange Spotted Filefish,
and this shot of a Sergeant Major.

Swam South to Southeast. Jimmy hit half a tank about 5 minutes before we found the Jacks near their Eastern end. We went up and over the Jacks, then West along the South side. Got some pictures:
 This shot of a Sharpnose Puffer
and this one of a Yellow Sand Ray.

.  Current wasn't too bad, but got worse once we went beyond the Jacks. Not a lot of life on the Jacks this morning. Not much more in the cut out area to the West.  We were all low on air by the time we hit the sand and Jimmy sucked the bottom of his tank before getting out.  I fell and crawled out on my knees.  Wind was picking up and no one was up for a second dive.

Water temperature was 75; Dive Time was 97 minutes; consumption at an average depth of 18 ft was 31.43 psi/minute; SAC rate was 20.34 psi/minute; and RMV was 0.52 ft3/minute.

11 January 2015

Luis and I dive on the Eastern Ledge off Tower 15

The sky was cloudy and threatened rain, but we were going to get wet, anyway. I met Luis at Birch State Park. While we were gearing up, a cute woman ran by, smiled, waived at me and made some comment about how much easier it was to park on A1A. It was such a rare event that both Luis and I looked up. After the shock wore off, we walked down the hill, through the Center, across the road and into the water. I dropped a fin along the way and Luis took the flag from me. While it was still tricky getting out, it was so much easier without the flag. Got to deeper water and finned up to swim out, then swam back to Luis to take the flag so he could more easily get his fins on in the breaking surf.  We got out to the swim buoy and descended.

Water temperature was 73 degrees. I couldn't see much, but I thought I recognized a sea rod and headed NE looking for the old buoy pin and the Big Rock. Found them both. Took some pictures, but visibility was terrible and there weren't a lot of fish around.

Got this shot of a Bluestriped Grunt on the Big Rock

as well as this shot of an Intermediate French Angelfish. I've cleaned these pictures up in post processing, but you can still see particles in the water.

I headed South in the surge looking for the smaller rock, but never found it. I confused Luis, since we had discussed heading to the Eastern Ledge if the visibility was bad, and it certainly was, but I thought I might find my marks to the Little Coral Knoll and wanted to try. Unfortunately, we must have gone by the smaller rock, so I conceded and we headed East.

I saw almost no life until we got to the Ledge itself.  Water got warmer there: up to 75 degrees. The sun came out for a bit, too. Not as much surge at 30 feet, either, but I had blown through half my air getting there and didn't have much gas left to stay.

Got this shot of a Juvenile Stoplight Parrotfish,

this shot of a Sand Diver,
and this shot of a curious Seaweed Blenny.

We headed back when I was at 1200 psi, but I had plenty of gas to get back. Just not used to the dive, so I was worried, which did not help my usage any. Just broke 400 psi when we passed the swim buoy. The damn flag was surfing the waves in front of me and pulling me fins over face mask, so I signalled Luis that I was ascending and swimming in on the surface. We were still in 4 ft of water just yards off the beach, so it was tricky getting fins off and holding the camera with one hand while holding the flag and the fins in the other, but it worked.

Short dive.  Water temperature was 73 degrees; Dive time was 81 minutes; consumption was 33.28 psi/minute at an average depth of

20 feet; SAC rate was 20.72 psi/minute; RMV was 0.53 ft3/minute.