Boat Dives and Pink Beach

While it looked like it had rained overnight, today was warm and dry and sunny. We had our second set of boat dives this morning, and in the afternoon, Henri, Alec, Natalyia and I headed to Pink Beach.

Boat Dives

Paul had been pushing for a very nice dive site called Rappel this morning, so we headed north.

In order to protect the reef from anchor damage, there are a number of boat moorings all around the island. The dive boat ties up to the mooring, and doesn’t  have to drop an anchor on the coral.

We were literally about 100 yards away from the mooring, when a small dive boat from another resort zipped in and scooped it. Paul was utterly beside himself. There was an upside, though— as we headed for the alternate site, we saw a bunch of flying fish zipping along beside us. They pop up and glide about a foot above the surface for about two or three seconds. First there were a couple, then a few more, then suddenly a whole school came up.

We arrived at our dive site, Cali’s Reef, and went in. Almost immediately, I noticed a turtle deep underneath us. Originally, I decided it was too deep, but eventually I went down and got a picture of it.

Turtle at Cali's Reef

Turtle at Cali's Reef

Overall, though, probably because I was dead tired, I felt out of sorts and didn’t see much that got my photographic sense going. I also managed to burn through my air pretty quickly. It felt strange to be the first one back on the boat.

That feeling continued through the second dive too. There wasn’t much big stuff to shoot, so I tried focusing on the small fish. The problem with that is that they move really fast. I did get a really good picture of a fairy basslet, though.

Fairy Basslet

Fairy Basslet

In addition, I was having problems with the strobe not firing. I tried plugging and unplugging the sync cable, and finally realized a dial was mis-set… right before it was time to come out of the water.

Pink Beach

Two years ago, I dove Pink Beach with Ralph Fuller as my last dive of the trip. I was determined to do it again this year. This year, I did it with Henri and Alec and Natalyia. It was almost as good as I remembered (no dolphins or rays this time). The nice thing about Pink Beach is that the sponges and coral are in better health than other sites, so there’s more texture and more variety in the sea floor.

Pink Beach has a very wide sandy area before you start to reach the reef, so we snorkeled out, then dropped down once we started seeing coral. We ranged along the edge of the reef headed south, then turned around. When I thought we’d gone far enough, I popped up long enough to get our position. We were nearly in position, and I took a bearing to get back.

After we were all back and situated, we decided we didn’t want to do another dive right then. Instead, I drove down to the south to take a quick look at the slave huts and saw some kite surfers flying across the water near the southern end of the island.

The No-Camera Dive

Henri wanted to do another dive back at the resort. She likes the variety of sea life there, and, I believe, feels most comfortable getting in and out there. We both decided we wanted to do a dive and just enjoy it as a dive, rather than try to take pictures. It was getting closer to dark, so we both brought lights. Since I wasn’t carrying a camera, I did a giant stride off the dark.

It was a really good dive. We went to the south, and since there was a current running, it was a drift dive for parts of the way out. Because of this we turned around relatively early. As we were coming back in, I felt, rather than saw, something go flying past me. It startled the heck out of me. I then saw it turn on dime, then go flying into a school of small fish.

Update: More pictures here.