New Dive Sites!

19 Apr

Hello everyone! As you know we are always searching for new dive sites. Sometimes we take customers on these exploration dives, and sometimes we just go out ourselves. I am going to write about two days that we went out.

It was actually about 3 weeks ago that we went. Alex was still completing his internship with us, so that means it was in March. It was a super calm day, a day of glassy water with no waves, no wind. It was almost eerie it was so calm. So, we decided to go out and do some exploratory diving! The first site we went to was north west of Tintamarre and Aure has seen on his charts that in the middle of the channel there was a spot that went from 100 feet to about 50 feet, so this sounded like a raised reef. We went to the GPS spot and dropped anchor. The anchor went over, then the chain, then the line. Then more line went out, then more line went out, then some more… you get the picture. We went in anyway to see what we could find. 

There is always excitement when we go to a new spot, not knowing what we will encounter. We took Alex with us, as you will see from the photos, and we also had divemaster Mark, Aure, Chris and myself. Stuart was acting as surface support and was staying dry on the boat. Sometimes for our two amazing instructors, staying dry is kind of nice! Well, the vis was amazing, over 100 foot, but the water was so still! The first two meters must have been about 92F and then as we dropped down further it suddenly dropped to about 84F, a big change. That is how still the water was. I think Alex was a little nervous, but he buddied up with Chris, so all was fine. Aure was first down, then Mark and myself, and then Chris and Alex.Well… what did we see? We saw some really great sand, and some more sand, and then more sand. One giant barracuda swam by, and there was an interesting kind of urchin down there, but all in all, there wasn’t really anything too interesting! I still got some nice photos though, and Alex got to do some skills on the safety stop. Chris had him taking off his equipment and replacing it (all neutrally bouyant) and then his mask. It is good for him to practice with all of us around at the same time.

So we came up and then for the next dive we decided to go just west of a site we already have called Circus to see what was there. Then we drifted in to circus so that Mark and I could try and get some photos of the caves. You can see those below. This was a nice dive (and nice to see more than sand). I buddied up with Mark. You can see Mark’s photos of the day on his blog at the following link http://www.lesfruitsdemer.org/2010/03/exploratory-diving-in-the-tintamarre-area/

The caves were really hard to get good photos in, and I need more pratice. Plus, one of my strobes isn’t functioning properly so it is going in for repair! 🙁 But as you can see from the photos, it is an amazing dive site. Being in the caves is just so cool as your eyes adjust and you can see the rays of light coming in!

 So, that was the first day we did exploratory diving, then we also went out the day before yesterday!  This time I didn’t have my wide angle lens instead I took out an 85 mm lens for some macro shots.  It is the first time I have used this set up, and it was so much fun.  It is like having a whole new camera, and just from changing the lens! I got some great shots of a butterfly fish, some secretary blennies, and others.  You can see these below.

The first site we went to, we are calling Little Canyons, as there were all these channels of sand amongst amazing reefs.  This site is closer to Marigot and was only about 25 feet maximum, so a shallow dive.  At this site we saw loads of barracuda, lots of butterfly fish, a giant stingray and just some lovely, healthy coral! With macro photography you don’t get so much of a sense of what it was like, so I’m hoping that Mark will post photos on his blog and I can ping you over to him.  

On this day we were diving with Menno, or Nemo as we now call him.  Menno is from the Netherlands and is visiting his dad and mom who work on the island, and he has kind of become like part of the staff for the last three weeks. He is currently in the bay working on his Rescue Diver with Chris and Stuart, and will hopefully come down and do his divemaster with us later in the year.  Nemo is a really great guy, and so fun to dive with.  I don’t have any underwater photos of him, as they would have just been of his nose with my lens!

The second site we went to was further in the channel towards Anguilla, not far from Chris’s Reef (for those of you that have done it) and it was about 40 foot max, so a good depth for long bottom times.  Here we jumped in and immediately I noticed that there was some wreckage down there.  Not alot, but enough to peak my interest.  I got the attention of Chris and Nemo and then we headed in the direction that the pieces of metal seemed to be leading us to.  After about 5 minutes Chris was banging on his tank like crazy.  I increased my speed (although my trusted Scubapro Twinspeed Fins are now broken so I can’t go super fast) and saw him pointing in the distance.  I put my hand on my forehead blocking out the sunlight and peered into nothingness.  I swam faster, but saw nothing.  Then, all of a sudden this shape appeared in the distance. A large black shape about 30 foot across! It was a wreck, we found a wreck.  Chris was mightily pleased with himself that he found a wreck underwater (although I take full responsibility as I noticed the small wreckage to begin with!).  It isn’t super big, but enough to have attracted quite a bit of life, plus it was too cool to just see it appear out of the blue.  It is only the midships of what seems to be an old tugboat, so who know where the rest of it is, probably around somewhere!

After checking out the wreck for a bit, we went wandering around and found a little overhang of rock with tons of fish around it and also a nice hawksbill, with a moray right next to it.  There was also a baby nurse shock and loads of horse eye jacks swimming around. It was a nice dive.

I got some great pictures of some secretary blennies and it is amazing with the 85 lens the detail you can see. More so than with your own eye. 

Alright, the Rescue Divers are back from saving eachother in the bay, and soon Harle and Minda should be back from diving at Tintamarre.  Stuart is covered in sand; obviously he was the victim being dragged up the beach.

I will maybe write more this afternoon.  Tonight we are having Tom (16), Andrew, Jessica (10) and Andrew’s wife (sorry, I am forgetting your name at this moment) over for dinner at our place.  They are from England near Birmingham and Tom and Andrew did their Emergency First Responder with us and a couple of days diving, while Jessica did a discover scuba dive off the beach with me (she is a fish basically) and they are stranded here with the whole Icelandic volcano erupting.  Not the worst place to be stuck!

My parents are stuck in England and can’t get back to NY, but that is another story.

Enjoy the photos and hopefully we can share these new dive sites with you soon!

(Sally wrote this blog 🙂 )

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