NOTE: NONE OF THESE ARE MY PICS. they are thanks to google image search. sorry! my camera is in the shop! i'm sure my pics would be just as good, though. no, really.
after an evening in the water with the dolphins and our first night in the room with a view
, we went on my second ever key largo dive, my first ever wreck dive, and my first ever dive where nothing went horribly wrong. unless you count the few minutes of diesel sickness on the ride back, but i'm going to not
. so - yay! :)
ed & i went with our friend ernie and his new fiancee (and brand-spankin' new certified diver), cyndi. there were just two other folks on the boat, a married couple on vacation from atlanta.
we dove with quiescence
, which is nice because they have six-person boats rather than the 20-something boats
i've been on. this is appreciated because there are fewer people to jostle you about on the boat and fewer people to crowd the site underwater.. or, in my case, fewer people to mistake as Part of Your Group and follow off. baha, i'm so cool. also, our captain.. was his name mike? anyway, he was great. after a dive, when you feel like you're mr. heavyfoot
, there is nothing more appreciated than a little help getting onto the boat and out of your bc. and when dive #2 came around, i realized he had switched my reg over to the fresh tank for me! omg!
we first went to the bentwood wreck. according to the herald
, this is a 300-foot foot freighter at depths of 25-45 feet. it was a nice and easy little dive. navigation wasn't an issue - as long as we stayed by the wreck, we were fine. so we just cruised around, looking at the various fish who've taken residence at the wreck. the wreck was pretty deteriorated, but it was still a very new thing to see something so "out of place" in the water -- one part of the wreck looked just like a huge bookcase that had crashed to the floor and crumbled. the holes in the wreck served to remind you that the sandy bottom you were swimming over wasn't just the ocean floor.
this is the bentwood before it came to rest on the ocean floor.
and this is what it looks like in the blue. this pic makes it look tiny, however, and it's not.
our second stop of the day was at french reef. it was absolutely beautiful. colorful fish everywhere, swim-throughs to lose your camera in (sorry, ernie) , and plenty of places to investigate. a few times, i noticed couples of blue parrotfish zipping by that were so close to one another, my first thought was that they were mating or performing some mating ritual. then i realized they were both brightly colored - not the same size or identical in appearance, but both definitely vivid enough to be males. i heard that's how they do things in the keys, so i'm not terribly surprised.
this is one of the swim-throughs. i bonked my tank on the ceiling of this very one!
every time i see a queen angelfish, i have to stop for a moment. They. So. Pretty.
on this dive, i also spotted my first grouper. a couple, actually. people on past dives i've been on have seen grouper, but i was too engulfed in adjusting my weight belt or clearing my mask to notice.
groupers are neat. big lips. (no, my standards are not very high for what i consider to be "neat".)
stoplight parrotfish are very common, but i still am happy every time i see one. they're so pretty and are always so busy mawing at one thing or another. goats of the sea. that somehow doesn't sound like a compliment, does it?
we saw the midsection of a huuuuge green moray. ed said it's probably the biggest he's ever seen, and it was obviously the biggest i have. i wanted badly to see its little old-man face, but it was tucked into the rocks.
ed spotted a hogfish, which he pointed to and patted his tummy. i have yet to track down the diver's hand signal for "ha ha, marine sanctuary" so i had to roll my eyes instead. unfortunately, i doubt ed could see. hogfish are so ugly (this pic is far too kind) that i kinda feel sorry for them. everyone likes to eat 'em and who is gonna take up that
there were barracudas hanging around, which i like quite a bit too. they're always just there, suspended in the water. the myth that they're scary strikes me as pretty funny. unless you're a fish, i suppose, but i can't imagine they're the ones that started that whole thing.
at one point during the dive, every fish in our immediate area DARTED AWAY at the same time. that's, like, hundreds of fish. moving like they're panicked. when we discussed it at the surface, it turns out ed & i had the same thought: "SHARK!
" alas, if there was one, we didn't see it. i'd love to see a shark. or a flounder. (i'm not picky. )
on our way to the surface, we noticed a big group of barracudas in the water looking like they had been stacked on top of one another. it was a tower of barracuda. *guitar riff* awesome.
all in all, a beautiful day on and under the water. diving: yay! :)