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Monday, November 2, 2009

Red Slave and Flamingo Peeping (Bonaire Day 3)

Monday morning we did a tech dive at Red Slave. There were some last minute gas shenanigans because of a lost Helium shipment, but in the end we managed to pull together full stages and enough backgas to do the dive (by topping pff some spent doubles with 15/55 left in them). We had checked out the site the previous afternoon and it did not look too inviting. But this morning Benji told us to pull up to a slightly different spot, which was better. Benji walked us into the water and then schlepped all of the bottles out to us. Benji had given us a dive briefing complete with a diagram of where we would find the anchors. The reef consists of spurs separated by sand channels. To the left of the sand channel that we would descend, there would be an anchor at 120' and another at 190'. Then we'd head right a couple spurs to find one at 160' and another at 210'. Benji swam us out to the drop point and we were off.

We dropped down the sand channel and at 120' to 130' we stopped to look around. No anchor. I suggested we head left in case we were a spur over, but we still saw neither the 120' or 190' anchor. I was starting to worry we weren't going to find anything :) We headed back to the right and eventually found an achor around 170'. I wasn't sure which one from Benji's map it was supposed to be. Shortly after that, we saw another at 175'. Then I saw a huge one off in the distance, down the slope. We swam over to it, and it was at about 190'. From that, I could see another smaller one just down the slope at about 210'. We hit that one just as I switched off of my stage, and then thumbed it. We headed up the slope and deco'd on the reef.

We had planned to extend our 50% deco if there was something interesting to look at at 30-40 feet. We extended the 40' stop, but by 30' the reef was petering out. At 20', we were over barren sand. Benji said that you can sometimes see rays in the sand there. So we waited, hoping to see a ray. At some point during our 20' stop, Benji free-dove down to tell us we were in the right spot to exit. He scared me half to death in the process (one minute it was just the two of us, with Rob on my left, and the next minute I feel a tap on my right arm). Shortly after that, an eagle ray appeared. It didn't come close enough for pics, but it frolicked nearby for a few minutes.

We decided to take it easy in the afternoon and not dive. Instead, we went flamingo peeping up north at the flamingo reserve. We got some pretty close up looks at flamingos (and some donkeys).

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