Aquamen

Tim channeling the Fonz (I promised him I would never show anyone this picture!)

We had two and a half days to squeeze in as many dives as we could manage.  We had already done 4 dives on day one and our second day we had another 4 planned as well as a night dive.

The winds were calm today so we could start off right away with reef dives.  Most of our dives were between 20 and 30 feet.  At that depth we could practically stay underwater forever… or at least until our air runs out.

It was however still cold.  The sun was out but it wasn’t enough to fight off the chill in the air.  Most of the divers we had been with yesterday were off doing a wreck dive this morning so we went out in the small boat with just a couple other divers.

James wondering how much further south we'd have to go to actually feel warm

Tim relaxing on the way out

Back at the marina waiting for lunch

Our two morning dives lasted an hour each and on the way back our captain called in our lunch order.  There was a small cafe on pier next to the dive shop.  The cook was this grizzled old guy that in a different age I could picture a cigarette dangling from his lips as he stood over a sizzling grill flipping burgers for us.  However with the recent banning of smoking in restaurants, he had to take a step out an open side door which was right next to the grill to get his fix.  The healthy eating movement has learned they can shape, color, and flavor soy beans to make a variety of foods that mimic things we are used to eating.  Similarly this guy had figured out how to shape grease, to which he added a little bit of meat flavoring, and then sold it to hungry divers as hamburgers and cheesesteaks.

Heading out on the big boat

We met up with the other group that had done wreck diving in the morning and went out on the big boat for the afternoon dives.  The day was starting to warm up and for the first time during this trip we didn’t feel really really cold.  We did two more reef dives that were each an hour long.

We’d already spent 4 hours underwater, close to half of the day since we awoke, and we signed up for the night dive which would add another hour.  My fingers had reached a constant state of pruniness and I was beginning to wonder if they would ever recover.

This time of year the sun was setting pretty early, so we didn’t have to wait long before we were out on the boat again.  The underwater world looks so different at night and although it seemed there were fewer fish out than during the day, there were definitely more crustacians out.  We saw lobsters galore!  Under one shelf I counted four lobsters and then as I started to move on I saw another and another, they kept appearing.  I’m sure I saw at least 20 or 30.  Also we saw many crabs some of which were quite large, I’m sure as big as my head.  Twice we saw a interesting type of crab that appeared to have taken a loose piece of coral and was using it as camoflague.  The coral was mounted on the crabs back (not sure how) as the crab moved about feeding.

We also saw squid and eels.  You could turn your light out and run your hand through the water and watch all the tiny bioluminescence critters light up leaving a faint magical glow trailing behind.  Towards the end of the dive we were in a spot where there were thousands of tiny critters swarming about in the water.  Some were tiny eels (maybe?) that were less than an inch long and as thin as a thread.  I didn’t even realize they were animals at first until I saw one of them begin to squiggle as it swam along.  Most of these critters were moving extremely quickly.  Every now an then, a quick blur would hesitate in the beam of my light and I would see a small shrimp, no longer than my fingernail.  At one point, some of the divers had found a nurse shark sleeping under a shelf.  We went down to take a closer look.  It turns out that the shark was sleeping on top of a giant green moray eel.

Christmas lights on the water

We made it back to dock by 7pm.  After a long days diving we were hungry and went out to get a bite to eat and then back to the hotel where once again I was asleep by 9pm.

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