It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Australia: Back to Ribbon Reef 3

For our last day of the trip, we were back at the Ribbon reef #3 area, where we had been on Tuesday.  We started at a site that is supposedly rarely dived, Gorgonian Bommie, which is a pinnacle from about 50 feet to 110 feet, which is kind of a short and fat pinnacle, that has really nice gorgonians on the sides.  The entry procedure for this site was sort of "interesting".  There was a down line installed at the top of the pinnacle, with a buoy on top.  We were anchored off of the pinnacle, so we were instructed to get our entire team ready to go, and then wait on the swim step until the boat swung closest to the buoy, jump in, and swim to the buoy.  Okay, fine.  The weird thing was that they used like the smallest, least visible buoy possible on top of the pinnacle.  It was no Team Kitty float!  There were some huge gorgonians, that's for sure, though they were not all in pristine condition.  Rob was diving without his camera, so we played with the hero cam instead (which I've included some snapshots from).  I eventually suggested that Rob take the video reflector and light the scenes for me, and this worked pretty well.  Other than the gorgonians and fan thingies, the reef wasn't super nice, but the fish life was pretty good.  On top there were the ubiquitous anemone fish.   Not too surprisingly, when we surfaced, with divers holding onto the downline on their ascent, that teeny tiny buoy was below the surface :)

After that, we headed to Steve's bommie (very close by), for two dives there.  We'd already been there, so we just spent our time trying to get some video and harassing, err, playing with, the fish.  At the end of each of the dives, we managed to have the pinnacle top to ourselves, which was nice.  On both dives, we found the Nemo clownfish, which had been mentioned in the briefing on our first visit there, but I hadn't come across.  I don't think I've ever seen this kind of clownfish before, so that was nice (though unfortunate that Rob's camera was out of commission).  I decided to play around with the snapshot setting on the hero cam, so that whenever we saw a nice "portrait" subject, I would video it a bit and then also try snapping a picture (using the video reflector on Rob's primary light to light it).  Most of the stuff that I took pictures of was too small for the camera to focus on, but I did get one nice picture of a Wobegon shark way back in his crack.  Woohoo!  (Rob found him back in that crack, which was an excellent find!).

I don't remember the name of the last site that we went to, but it was a little wall/sand slope.  Where the boat was moored was quite shallow, maybe 30 feet deep at most, and as we followed the reef, eventually the sand sloped down, and there was a wall that was like 30 feet tall, with coral outcroppings along the bottom, which was at about 60 feet.  There were some nice schools of silvery fish at the site, but I spent quite a bit of time playing with a bluespotted stingray, who was very tolerant of being video'd.  We also found two interesting flatworms, including one that was quite small, and nudibranch-like :P  All in all, a nice long last dive.

For dinner, we had a repeat of the BBQ from Wednesday night, since I guess that's the standard last night dinner :)  Since it was our last night, we stayed up late, drinking, and listening to the Australian guys tell stories.  Those guys were funny, but I could have really used subtitles while listening to their stories :)

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