Wednesday, August 29, 2007

USS Ford Crew Tours

Meet OSSN Stephen Ware of the USS Ford. Stephen was on gate duty when I went to pick up Commander Taylor for his Sunday morning dive. I was chatting with Stephen since I showed up early and he mentioned that he'd love to go diving, so I offered to take him and a couple of his friends out Monday afternoon. He brought along HM3 Jacob Moody, and GSMFR Joshua Smith. This was each of their first dives ever, so I took them out one at a time and watched them like a hawk in the water. Afterwards each of them was going on and on about how cool they thought it was and what an awesome experience it was. I'm hoping that each of them caught the dive bug and will now pursue it and become dive bums as well. Stephen got to see this green sea turtle outside of the Grotto, how cool is that for your first dive? Turtles are just my all time favorite, and every time I see one I just become an official ocean critter myself. This is GSMFR Joshua Smith. He didn't get to see any turtles on his dive and the one we saw earlier wasn't considerate enough to stick around for us. I was able to show Joshua a Red Lionfish up close and personal though. It's not that common to see one this size at the Grotto, so it was a very good sighting. I always like to get very close when taking a picture of something like this so I can get good color and clarity, Joshua didn't seem to feel that same need. Lionfish don't ever seem to be in any hurry to get anywhere, they just kind of float on the currents and ride them back and forth, which usually makes for some very nice pictures.

Joshua was also the one who was down with me when I spotted the Japanese dive guide feeding the sharks once again. Fortunately he didn't really see what was going on, so he didn't know about it until after our dive. But he did get to see the sharks swimming around instead of just laying in their usual spot. And finally this is HM3 Jacob Moody. Jacob was the one who said he was the most nervous about being in deep water, but once he went under it was like he belonged down there. You would have never known he hadn't been diving for years and years. The rest of his family are all divers, and he is the only one who hadn't gotten into it yet. I think we can now consider him to have gotten his feet wet and caught the diving bug. While I was down with Jacob, I found a Halgerda guahan nudibranch that had just laid another egg ribbon, so I showed it to him and started taking a bunch of pictures of it. A few minutes later, Jacob motioned me over and showed me this. Jacob actually managed to find two of them mating! Again, just further proof that I somehow inspire these nudibranchs to multiply. But how cool was it than in just one short dive I had actually trained Jacob to be my seeing eye diver and spot nudibranchs for me! Then a few feet away on another rock, there were two more of them crawling around on the red algae. So it was a very cool dive for Jacob as well, who also got to see the Red Lionfish and a shark. Here are three sailors who all experienced their first dive ever in the Grotto. Definitely a day for them to remember hopefully! After that I took them to Bird Island, Suicide Cliff and Bonzai Cliff. Then Stephen wanted to thank me by buying me a drink and dinner, so we finished up our day at Oleai Beach Bar & Grill. Welcome to one of my every day's in paradise guys!


Anonymous said...

I hope you truly know what a memorable experience it was for the 3 sailors. I don’t know how to thank you for what you did for them. Every thing has been about how great it was and how much they enjoyed diving. So THANK YOU form the bottom of my heart.

Melissa Moody

Harry Blalock said...

It was my pleasure, really Melissa. I'm just glad they all seemed to enjoy it so much!