Saturday, June 03, 2006
We had a new group on today. We're just coming out of a pretty strong south swell and the south facing sites are still not ideal. We did our first dive at Turtle Pinnacle, which is quite protected. My leg's healing up quite nicely and since I haven't dove this site in a while I led the dive. Lot's of stuff today. There were 3 turtles at the site, one of them being cleaned by about 40-50 tangs at once. We saw a white collector urchin, these guys are rare, the usual collector urchins being blue. My batteries in my camera died prior to a lot of the good stuff so no pics of this. We also saw a firedart goby, as well as a large fried egg nudibranch, some shrimp and other goodies. The hit of the dive though was a small Java Eel (Gymnothorax javanicus), at least I think that's what it was, either that or a hybrid yellow margin/undulate that I doubt is likely. This guy was about 32" long or so, they can hit up to 8' and are the largest Gymnothorax eel in the Pacific. This eel was out in the open and hunting, it took a on full-sized Naso Tang (Naso literatus) and was able to swallow it whole in about 2 minutes. I'd never seen an eel eat a fish that size, even the larger eels I've seen eating at night. Lots of knot wrapping and fish crushing took place.... too bad I didn't charge my battery in my camera last night. Anyway, it was a great way to spend 84 minutes.
Bob led the second dive at another site and the group had another great dive. The highlight of their dive seemed to be the group of spinner dolphins which swam by a couple of times.
Well, I spent too much time thinking about yesterday's post..... I ordered a camera and housing. I ended up picking up the Olympus sp350 and the Olympus housing for it. I did a bunch of reading on this camera this evening with reviews by users both above and below water. The main gripe I found about this camera (battery usage) was apparently fixed with a firmware patch back a couple months ago, I may have to hook the camera up to the computer and update it when it arrives, not a big deal.
This whole unit should be small enough for me to pocket and carry in case something nifty comes along (like an eel eating a fish 5 times the size of it's head). I'm thinking I'll offer it for rental and carry it if it isn't being rented. I see plenty of people on dive boats burning through 20-40 bucks worth of "inexpensive" disposable cameras in a day, and that's before even developing the film. I may be able to get some takers interested in trying out a fairly high end digital for the day that I can burn the results to a CD once we get back to the wash down with the boat. We'll see.
Here's a shot I took the other day of a Divided Flatworm. These are one of my favorite little slugs.