Monday, October 01, 2012

Florida Diving Trip(2012) -- Day 6-7

Wow. So tired. I found the same thing in Honduras. When you have a full day of vacation, it's pretty hard to go back to your hotel and process pictures/video and then write about it all before you fall asleep.

But, I missed you yesterday, so here goes...

Saturday--am

Beach House looks like an old fort
We caught a boat out with Steve, from Quiescence. The trip was a little longer out than usual at 45 minutes. I was a little irritated that our trip was being hijacked by two young couples who wanted to go hunting Lion Fish. My irritation gave way when we found ourselves at an out of the way location that gave us the best diving of our trip.

As it turns out, the two young women on our trip were from REEFThe Reef Environmental Education Foundation is a non-profit organization of recreational divers who conduct fish biodiversity and abundance surveys during their dives, among other things. One of these thing is reducing the lionfish population. Lionfish are native to the indo-pacific ocean and now thrive unchecked in atlantic waters.

And, so much for that PBS break :)

We did a dive called Game Fish. It was a beautiful section of reef. It had spectacular corals and the light was amazing. Sadly, we didn't see any sharks or other large fish, as the name might have implied.

Our second dive was at a place called The Slabs. Besides the 'slabs' themselves, which are relatively flat coral features, the standout part of this dive is called The Arch. Unlike in TNG, where you can just call for it, this arch required a little finding (actually, I suppose that happens often enough in Star Trek...). When we did find it--WOW! Not only were there 4 lionfish there, which kept us from buzzing back and forth through the structure, but there was an enormous Goliath Grouper, perhaps 600 lbs, hanging out beneath it. It's in the video that I'm posting today, but there is nothing for scale, as we were too intimidated to go near. There is a marginally smaller one in a photo I found online if you are curious. As if that wasn't enough, later in the dive, we found a sleeping nurse shark :) It was entirely amazing.

Sunday--am

Got on a boat with Harry. Dolphins followed us out of the harbour. I was really lucky to have had my camera out, though my settings were not ideal.
Wake Jumping
So Awesome!
 There were 4ft swells and I'm proud to say that I was able to make the first dive at French Reef just fine. Brad found a strange box secreted within the reef, but we were unable to open it. We decided to leave it lie. I eventually succumbed to the waves and was unable to do the second dive, the Bentwood Wreck--but who cares... DOLPHINS!

Sunday--pm

We went to Everglades National Park. The interpretive centre was a bit more commercial than I like, but I enjoyed seeing lots of snakes, crocodiles and alligators. The highlight would be the airboat ride, a segment of which can be found in this G+ post.

Diving Video

It is hard to explain the feeling you get when you become comfortable breathing and moving underwater. It is very freeing and there is a smugness that comes with knowing that you shouldn't be able to be there, and yet, there you are. If you like sitting out and watching the sun set, or appreciating a fine flower garden, just sitting and breathing the sweet air, I suppose it is like that. But imagine that you are doing it on another planet. One with a toxic atmosphere that you have managed to adapt to. Oh, and you are able to fly on this planet.

This video doesn't do my explanation justice. You probably need to watch an IMAX undersea video for that. I've tried to compress 5 or 6 hours of serenity into 15 minutes. It's ridiculous, really. Anyway, I wanted to mention that I didn't put any music to it, because I didn't want the copyright police to stomp all over it, but the sound is mostly bubbles and the wheezing of an ecstatic and playful human breathing through a magical (I mean scientific, Brad, really) combination of tanks and tubes that allows the impossible to happen.

15 minutes may be a long time, or seem boring to you. I understand. So I'm adding time signatures for some key areas that I have mentioned in my recent posts that you may enjoy only those moments that interest you most ;)
I'd view this in full screen, if I were you.

Additional pictures from this trip may be found here.

#mikflorida2012