Monday, October 22, 2007

Weekends Are Made For Diving

This is a sight that greets me every weekend and signals that my adventure is about to begin. This is looking out the #1 hole at the Grotto, skimming over the rock to the left. Most people go out the cut on the right side of the hole, but I choose to go up and over this rock, looking for nudibranchs along the way. You just never know what you're going to find on that rock. It seems there are some nudibranchs that like to sit on top of it and catch a few rays, I guess they're working on their tan. No sooner did I get out of the Grotto and take a quick look around than I saw this guy sitting right outside the opening, it's like he knew I was coming and was just sitting there waiting for me. There is a tall rock right near where I have seen him the last couple of times, and this time he decided to go up and do circles around the rock. Now most people would think it was cool that he was sticking so close giving them so many photo opportunities, but most people don't get vertigo when they ascend too quickly. I did manage to get in a few good shots before I fell to the bottom spinning uncontrollably in my head. There is nothing like starting your dive swimming with a turtle. I suppose some of you might get tired of seeing turtles and hearing me talk about the magic of swimming with a turtle, but there are a few people out there who get it. I know that Tami totally understands my fascination with turtles and appreciates it as well. But just because I enjoy taking pictues of turtles doesn't mean I don't appreciate the other sites down there as well. There is a little patch of this staghorn coral outside of the Grotto at about 100', right on the edge of a pretty steep drop off. You can usually find some pretty cool fish and eels hanging out in this area, but the coral itself also makes for a great picture. I find it always pays to spend the time to look in each and every little hole, you just never know what might be in there waiting to have its picture taken. This eel was being a bit shy and didn't really want to come out for a picture, but he did let me stick my camera down in the hole to get him. Many divers swim right past things like this never realizing what it is, it is camouflaged pretty well and blends in with its surroundings. It is a spondylus clam, which is the favorite of some of the local carvers and artists. The shell, while quite ugly and plain on the outside, is smooth, shiny, colorful and beautiful on the inside. Some of the bigger fish, snappers and tuna will bust them open, eat the clam inside and leave broken pieces of the shells. This orange sea fan is poised underneath the crack that turns into the #2 opening into the Grotto. It makes for a very cool picture though to get the fan with the vivid blue of the ocean in the background, contrasted by the dark rock walls. There is art everywhere when you're diving, it's just a matter of opening your eyes and seeing it all around you. Occasionally I like to look back up and see the waves crashing above me, or in this case through the rocks looking outside the Grotto. It's amazing but when I'm down there I really feel like it's where I'm the most comfortable. I don't really want to have to go back up, and I never feel any anxiety about being underwater. I sometimes wonder if I wasn't supposed to be a fish and if my gills aren't just cleverly disguised. Those who have gone diving with me and tried to make their tank last as long as I make mine last hae probably wondered the same thing. As you may have gathered from some of my pictures, yes I like swimming into some pretty tight spots trying to get just the right picture or angle. I sometimes forget that I'm not a fish and can't always follow them wherever they go. Now if you're a regular reader of this blog, you are probably wondering where the nudibranchs are. Oh yes, I saw nudibranchs on this dive. In fact I saw a nudibranch I've never seen before, and it was so small I really didn't know what it looked like until I got home and blew up it's picture on the computer. But if you want to know what it looked like and what kind of nudibranch it was, you're just going to have to come back tomorrow.