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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Tower of power

Well as good as our word, we set off at the crack of dawn over to the East End to jump off a perfectly acceptable boat operated by our good friends at Tortuga divers. Once again they show other dive operators on the island how dive centre should be run. It's been a couple of months since we were last out with them what with work getting in the way but it's good to be back.

Big boat, not too many passengers and a crack team of boat crew. This is how you do it.
Unsurprisingly, the first place we jumped in was Babylon. I think outside of St Abbs, I know this dive site more than any other place on the island! But as the old saying goes, never a bad dive at Babylon. And today proved no exception despite the water being a bit cloudy we had great overhead lighting and an explosion of colours down below.

Getting dirty down at 30 (m)
As always you should be keeping one eye on your computer because it's just far too easy to spend time down in the deep with all the fantastic sea fans and sponge formations on offer for the photographers out there.

And without fail, we were followed around on the dive by our faithful pet snappers and angelfish. It happens every dive, I think they just want to get close to the camera.......

It never hurts to keep an eye out in the blue now and again as it's not uncommon for the bigger stuff to cruising by but today was a bit uneventful in that regards but that didn't detract from the stunning scenery on offer.

Start deep and spiral your way up the pinnacle until you get bored (as if!). Like us, if you still find you have bags of air left, follow the wall Easterly to catch some phenomenal overhangs and colours that looks as though an explosion in a paint factory just happened.

When your ready to head home just cruise along the top of the wall to knock out your safety stop as the mooring pin and boat are sitting right there to ready for your trip to the next dive site.

In this case, our next site was Delwyn's Delight which was a nice little mini wall with some great coral fingers to mooch around in and look for the small stuff.

Peek-a-boo, I see you.
Doug also was kind enough to point us in the direction of a nurse shark hiding under a shelf. Now ultra macro lenses aren't necessarily the best weapon of choice to take shark pics but I gave it my best shot.

There was also a great selection of gobies and blennies on offer to waste a good portion of the dive on, which was absolutely fine by me.

If you looked carefully, you would also see several cleaning stations dotted around on the wall which gave some excellent photo opportunities but unfortunately I just missed the Pederson shrimps working on the Coney Grouper in the phono below. Damn you!

Still there were plenty of hamlets, grunts, drumfish and basslets to keep me occupied until I found one of my most favourite things in the world. Nudis!! A couple of lettuce leaf slugs crawling along the top of the wall were just the thing to add the icing to the cake on today's diving, despite their lack of enthusiasm towards the camera. Maybe I caught them without their make-up on or something........

Still despite getting the brush off, it was a great end to a great days diving and guaranteed we'll be jumping off a perfectly seaworthy boat again in a couple of weeks time over on the East End. Safe diving everyone!

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig