Up at 07:00 for breakfast and briefing although we weren't in the water until gone 08:30. I had a bit of a restless night and the crossing out to the outer reef was a bit choppy and noisy.
Like our first dive from Scuba Pro II the first dive of the day, at NW Shoals on Little Black reef, was a bit disappointing. We saw some sea stars, sea cucumber, a shrimp goby, a dart goby, a baler, parrotfish, barrier reef anemonefish, humbug damsels, false anemonefish, nudibranchs, flat worms, butterflyfish, wrasse, lots of mimic filefish, coral trout and lots of cabbage leaf coral.
The second dive, again at NW Shoals on Little Black reef, was a buddy dive from the RIB. We saw a stingray resting on the bottom, parrotfish, christmas tree worms, humbug damsels, sea stars and shrimp gobies, schooling yellow tailed fusiliers and rabbitfish. When we surfaced we were some distance from the boat, Ocean Pro, and couldn't attract their attention. Ian deployed his safety sausage and soon we were rescued by the dive supervisor in the RIB.
Dive three, after lunch, was another buddy dive from the RIB at South Lagoon on Little Black reef. We saw a stingray with a very long tail, swimming above us, an undulated moray eel, barrier reef anemonefish, true clown fish, a very dark orange anemonefish that was relatively large and fairly inquisitive, pink anemonefish, black anemonefish - I could have done with a camera for all these species of anemonefish! There were also humbug damsels, butterflyfish, harlequin tuskfish, royal dottybacks and teeny tiny anemonefish, barely 1 centimetre long. I removed my regulator and gave Ian a bubbly smile for finding me the anemonefish. During the dive I retrieved a weight block from the reef and brought it back to the surface, being my first contribution to reef conservation. Again we were some distance from the Ocean Pro so signalled to the crew and we were dragged back to Ocean Pro, hanging on to the rope of the RIB. It hurt my hands!
Our final dive, 4 hours 30 minutes later following dinner and sunset, was a night dive at South Lagoon on Little Black reef, with my buddy and from the RIB. Immediately on descent, at the bottom of the descent line, we saw a lobster hurrying away into hiding. The visibility was very poor, allegedly due to cyclone Beni passing by a week ago. However, we did see some crabs scattering away and many shrimps. At the end of the dive the lobster was hiding under a coral block under the ascent line and he was huge, about 50 centimetres! He was very pale in colour and seemed to be banded. There were few fish still swimming around the bottom and in the shallows but unfortunately no sleeping parrotfish, nor sharks, nor turtles. When we ascended, having established positive buoyancy and knowing that I had a 250 metre surface swim back to Ocean Pro, I removed my mask to clean my face and as I was about to replace it realised that I had let it slip off of my wrist. I sent Ian and our additional buddy, Mark, back underwater to retrieve it for me. Minutes later Mark surfaced but Ian took some time to perform another safety stop and later emerged with my mask, having chased it down to 13 metres. He refused to hand it back to me until we had embarked Ocean Pro 15 minutes later! This little episode would definately warrant Cliff's bucket of shame award! Once we had degeared on the boat we saw two large squid at the stern of the boat.
Showered, dried and having peeled Ian's scalp with tweezers, written my dive log and journal I retired at 23:15 for, hopefully, a better nights sleep than last.
Copyright 2003 Helen Fuller. All rights reserved.