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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

All day and all of the night

There's something special about doing a night dive as things are never quite the same at night as they are in the day time and you know you're guaranteed to see something special. 

And you know we saw lots of something specials, talk about reef creature overload. Lighthouse Point continues to be our go to dive site day or night for all creatures great and small. 

Right from the off we nearly landed on a stone fish sitting right under the dock and he was pretty well camouflaged sitting right under a sea fan that I was about to get up close and personal with to look at some nudis. 


We spent a good while scouring the hard pan, with Roland using the UV light and me with the white lights, checking all the usual haunts and hangouts. Some sponges and coral heads proved to a good spot for some great hermit crab action.





The top of the mini wall provided some more surprises like multiple moray eels although I couldn't get them both in the same shot at the same time, the tricky little devils but they were happy to smile for the camera.


 Another little something that I found was something I hadn't seen before so I was pleased about it, was an Aphelodoris antillensis and it was a tiny little thing, perfectly blending in with the background.


Continuing on the nudibranch theme, the elysia crispata were out in force, in singles as well as pairs.



As well as some really nice juvenile flamingo tongue cowries not to mention some juvenile octopus scuttling around the area.






Prize find for the evening was on the way back in to do our safety stop, just coasting along in the shallows and I finally found one of the notorious, elusive seahorses that had been lurking around in the area for some time. it was also pretty much in the same place where I saw my first ever seahorse at LHP. What goes around, comes around. 

Prepare for seahorse picture overload in 3...........2..........1................





And a little bit of video as well...........


We were only a couple of minutes shy of the two hour mark but the need to pee and some particularly bad leg cramp on my part forced us out of the water at the end of the night but it was a pretty spectacular night dive and one of the best I've had in a while.

P.S. And Roland found a nice example of a slipper lobster on the way out as well. I don't know who was more surprised, Roland or the lobster......


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Blinded by the light

It's good to have some time off work. It's even better to spend that time underwater doing the thing you love the most. No, not eating pizza (although that's close second) but taking photos.

Another good thing is getting to the dive sites early as not only do you have the whole place to yourself but you also have the perfect lighting to maximise the impact of your shots.

We had some some fun today with a first dive taking us passed the statue of Amphitrite, out to the wreck of the Nicholson then onto the main wall for a nice deep long dive to enjoy the scenery and play with snappers, groupers, turtles and triggerfish of which there where many.

Roland proved a most accommodating model, a bit high maintenance as most models are, but proved quite photogenic once he manged to keep his legs shut. And that's not something you'll commonly hear about him, let me tell you!







Our constant companion, Spot the snapper was with us all throughout both dives and proved to a faithful companion and additional photographers aid when required with no complaints.

Lovers of the deep.
There were some really nice macro opportunities down there as well, not just the big scenic stuff, but you really had to work for it. We had some fine examples of gobies and blennies as always.





 There was also a great example of a mantis shrimp which I think is a dark mantis going by the book, but I'm sure someone will be quick enough to correct me if I am wrong. It was quite happy to sit in the open and wasn't overly bothered by me getting in a couple of shots.




We also had quite a few squat anemone shrimp hiding in the crevices as well which I don't personally find that often here, but maybe that's just me.


 Over three hours in the water with great scenery and marine life not to mention the perfect lighting. This is why we dive.

 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Happy Jack

Here we are again, Sunday morning and time to jump in the water. No the new camera is still not in operation as the housing is still on order but hopefully soon..... 

Anyway, it was time jump off a perfectly good boat with our friends from Tortugas and our old mate Roland to introduce to the harsh realities of diving in the Caribbean. Poor lads never been the same since.......it was about 6-7 knots Easterly with a minimal chop at the surface, 30-40m viz underneath and 31C temp.


There was a request for sharks, no surprise there, so Captain Nige took us off South to Jack McKenneys to see what we could see. We went one way and the rest of the groups went the other way. We saw nothing but nice scenery.



Well that's not strictly true, as about 20 minutes in to the dive we had one of the ladies in grey tail us around like a very big lost puppy. And she wasn't shy about coming in to see us either, making passes at us from all sides without showing any signs of aggression. Perfectly relaxed and happy in front of the cameras.



Did I mention it was 31C in the water. Well not entirely accurate as there was a definite thermocline which I found as I went down to get a shot. And instantly it was 4 degrees less. People think I'm mad to wear a full 5mm suit but I'm more than happy with it.

After a good 10 minutes or so down at depth we doubled back to the mooring with our new friend in tow and found several other new friends cruising around underneath the boat but a bit too far away for my meagre fish eye to cope with but we had oodles of fun with them whilst it lasted.

After a surface interval of muffins and cookies we motored back up north a little way to Roger's reef which I remember having a small pinnacle/rock formation beside the mooring pin which was always good for a nudibranch or several, in this instance elysia crispata and painted elysia. Pinky nail in the shot to give you some sort of scale as to how small the painted elysia was. It was minuscule.




We also had a red lipped blenny patiently sit out in the open for us whilst we snapped away surrounded by a plethora of it's fishy friends, not to mention many other of it's relatives.







There were also a good selection of hermit crabs to be found if you looked hard enough in amongst the sponges and corals but they were definitely there.
 


Last thing we saw on the safety stop was a nice big Southern stingray that cruised past us at about 6 metres which was a nice way to round of another fun days diving.

Friday, 11 September 2015

In the still of the night

I've missed the post from Sunday but honestly just now the hours I'm doing at work is crazy and that in conjunction with looking after my old mate Roland whilst he's visiting doesn't leave a lot of time to get stuff done. I got up at 4am just to sort out my photos and do this update before I go to work. Last night was night dive time straight from work and it was a nice one. Not the best I've ever had at LHP but still nothing to be disappointed about.

LET'S GET WET!!!
 A little excursion across the hard pan threw a up some nice fins, like peacock flounders and yellow spotted rays along with the obligatory flamingo tongue cowries, especially the juvenile variety and a very fine selection of crustaceans.





We then sculled along the mini wall out to the left for a bit to take in all the colours of the sponges and corals under lamp light as well as play with some monstrous spiny lobsters who are always pretty friendly. Unfortunately they were too big to fit in the frame of a macro lens.

We doubled back and done a couple of laps round the guardian statue for good measure with a shot of the old man. And the statue. *boom-boom!*


The old man of the sea. I'll let you decide which is which........
We carried on to the right of the mini wall , dipping on and off the hard pan just to make sure we didn't miss anything. One surprising thing I did mange to take a shot of was a spotted trunkfish. 

Now anyone that's ever tried to take a picture of a trunkfish will know that the most likely shot you'll get of one is of it's arse as it disappears over the reef. However this particular specimen was happy to pose for a couple of shots head on. And then it showed it's rear to the camera.



 There was also a fantastic display of the sponges feeding but wasn't particularly happy with the shots I took. Sorry, next time. It was spectacular though. Along with the superb selection of gobies and blennies which are always happy to pose for the camera like super models. Except with fins. And gills.






With about 20 minutes left in the tank, we headed back onto the hard pan to the engine block and went off on a nudibranch hunt, of which there were many, especially of the fringeback and lettuce leaf variety.



There's actually two elysia crispata in the picture. Don't ask what they're getting up to.......

 And one last final one before we left the water was  a nice little bristle worm. What's not to love about night diving?