Saturday, September 20, 2008

Diving Day

So, it had been waaaaaaay to long since I was last underwater, so I made it my mission from the beginn of the week to go diving today, and I did!

Today's dives were at Snapper Ledges and The Aquarium (a site on Molasses Reef) in Key Largo. With my favorite dive shop, Ocean Diver's, of course. I went on my own, and was paired up with another Friendly Solo Diver, Hugh. He was a solid buddy, and I let him lead the dives.

Dive one got off with a bang, seeing (nearly landing on really) a Southern Sting Ray.

And just a hop away, another Stingray. This one's a Yellow Stingray.

Snapper Ledges is a relatively low profile reef site, lots of Rubble, with a low series of ledges, where one can often see Moray Eels (we didn't see one today) and Nurse Sharks. I did see one on this dive, but no photo. Snapper ledges is really famous for having huge schools of fish. These we did see, in abundance. And many will let you swim right up to them, without moving away at all.

These schools of fish are made up of various Snapper, Goatfish and Grunt species, including Bluestriped Grunts, Yellow Goatfish, and Yellotail Snapper.

This site was also great for non-coral invertebrates. It was full of these big barrel sponges

A real live Queen Conch (as opposed to a real in a fritter conch)

And for my favorite dive instructor, Laurel at Bubbles Below, the "most over photographed" invertebrate ever, the Flaming Tongue (the funny part about that statement, is until today, I only actually see these guys on days I don't have my camera....)

The second dive site was The Aquarium, on Molasses Reef. This is a great site for seeing tons of fish (both were pretty fishy sites). Molasses is a large spur and groove reef, so it has towering coral walls, with wide channels between. The best way to see stuff is to get down in these channels and follow them.

Again, many Grunts (these are French and Bluestripe Grunts)

And I have to say again I love how these fish will let you get right into the middle of them.

Midnight Parrotfish and their Grouper Friend.

Apparently I offended this Grunt.

All in all an excellent day. Good conditions and lots too see. Oh and these were officially dives number 100 and 101. Hooray!

P.S. There are a lot more pictures too, and I will be working to upload the vast majority of them to my flickr account too, I am lone_locust


Kat Offcourse said...

congrats on breaking 100 and great pictures

wheelerwest08 said...

Loved the pictures!