It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fiji Day 4: Macro Day!

Rob was finally shooting macro today, which made me happy, since I wanted to search for nudibranchs :)  Today we had the option to go back to try to find the hammerheads at Dreamscape or not to.  We waffled about it but eventually decided to go for the hammerheads (strange, I know, since Rob was shooting macro).  Because of this decision, we were on the other boat today.  This boat was smaller, slower, and didn't have as many good places to lounge while the boat was underway.  But it had a much better tank-retaining system (it was very sophisticated, and consisted of some bungee loops tied onto the rail behind the tanks), and I preferred its ladder.  So I guess there were pros and cons.  Also, the Namale Pearls is nice and shiny and those upholstered seats are nice and cushy now, but probably won't be for very long.

When we got to the site, it was determined that the current was unfavorable, so we'd come back in the afternoon.  Instead we headed back to Dungeons and Dragons.  Since Rob was shooting macro, we covered very little ground.  We saw two morays, an octopus, several nudibranchs, popcorn shrimp, lots of clownfish, and a cool flatworm, Pseudoceros zebra, out for all to see, crawling across a coral.  Not a bad bunch of sightings for a macro dive.  Frank was on our boat today, and like us, he was not staying with the herd, so was often not far from us, and whenever he found something good, he would yell through his regulator to get our attention, which I found highly amusing.  So he was actually responsible for several of the sightings.  When we surfaced and got back on the boat, we were seemingly the last divers in the water.

We were live-boating, so the boat got underway as they did the roll call.  During the roll call, we found that one diver was missing.  The boat stopped (I guess it really should not have been underway in the first place, BEFORE the roll call was finished), and after about 5 minutes of discussion, we learned the following.  One of the divers (who shall remain nameless) had, very early in the dive, gone through a swim-through that came out shallow, really shallow, like in the whitewater.  He got sucked to the surface, and his (loose) buddies followed.  He was in the shallows above the drop off "standing on the reef", gave them an okay and said he wasn't going back down.  Then he proceeded to walk into shore, walk across the beach, and into the jungle, after giving the boat captain an okay signal.  After this information came out, the crew called the resort to ask them to send a car for the diver, but he had already in this time made it back to the resort on foot (with all his gear!).  When we went back to the shop for the surface interval, we found him sitting in a lounge chair waiting to go out for the next dive.  Needless to say, this was a very strange situation, and the diver was dubbed "the reefwalker".

We headed back to Dreamscape for the second dive.  We were of course not successful at finding the hammerheads. There was less current, though I had a failing fin (the bungee strap was overstretched on one, so it kept slipping off of my heel when I flutter kicked with much force), so the swim was still pretty annoying.  We saw less stuff in general out in the blue, but I saw some reef sharks below us.  I think there were some tuna out there too.  The dive guide had to surface to figure out which was to go to get us back from the blue, which I found a bit lame.  Back on the reef, Rob wanted to go to 100' to "look down".  I followed him down and when I got to 100', he was quite a bit below me.  Bad Bob.  He was shooting macro, so we spent the rest of the dive looking at clownfish and nudibranchs (which we found a few of).

After lunch, we went back out on the small boat with Ginny, who was testing out the DUI 30/30 drysuit for the first time.  We went back to Purple Gardens, since the other boat had found a scorpionfish there on one of their dives.  Since scorpionfish apparently tend to stay in the same place throughout the day, Colin thought there was an excellent chance that it would still be there, so we decided to go there.  Colin also promised us some purple aeolids, Cuthona sibogae.  It's funny, for the first several days of the trip, I'd been looking for slugs on every hydroid I saw.  But I never found any, and started to wonder if Fiji's hydroids actually host slugs.  So Colin described a hydroid where you can find these aeolids, and said he'd jump in the water with us to show us the scorpionfish and some slugs.  The scorpionfish was not to be found, but Colin found some slugs for us, and once we saw the hydroids they live on, we had no trouble finding more... they seemed to be everywhere!  And they were very pretty.  Colin also showed us the next reef over, which had a cool swimthrough (I guess the swimthrough we had missed on the first dive there, because we didn't follow the DMs).  We found more nudis, and another cool flatworm, Thysanozoon nigropapillosum, which was black with yellow speckles.  There were also two Napoleon wrasses cruising around over by the second pinnacle.  We managed to get ourselves back on the boat without any more gear losses :)

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