Friday, January 15th finds me out on Scubatyme III with fellow divers Deb and Sara, heading out to do a couple of reef drift dives. Deb and Sarah hadn’t been in the water for a while and they really wanted to go diving before Sarah left for school. They were a bit nervous and I offered to guide them for the morning. They readily accepted and we began to set up gear and talk about our upcoming adventure. Captain Bob and Divemaster Enzo carefully navigated the boat in the 4ft waves out to our first destination – Lighthouse Ledge Reef.
Once we are all ready to jump in, Captain Bob gets us into position over the reef. Before I jump in, he asks me if I would do him a favor and send up a signal of some kind if we came across the dreaded Lionfish that has been spotted on this reef. So off we go to drift along the reef and possibly find a Lionfish. The water was 73 degrees and visibility was a great 50ft so I knew this would be a great drift. About 10 minutes into the dive I spot a school of Spadefish near the reef and head over casually to shoot some video. Once I am done with the video, I look around for my 2 buddies and notice they are pointing at something. Sure enough, they had found the Lionfish (they actually found 2)! Of course I took the opportunity to shoot some video first, then inflated one of my SMBs and sent it to the surface so Bob could get some GPS numbers for the REEF Foundation people to come and capture them. After that excitement was over, we all headed off to see what else we could find. Deb and Sarah were amazed at the quantities of fish we have here. They have been diving all over the Pacific and the fish in that area are scarce due to overfishing by the locals. After a few more minutes, I signal that our bottom time is up and we head up for our safety stop and, ultimately, the boat.
Once back on the boat, Deb and Sarah felt a little less anxious about the reefs, and we chatted about what we saw and hoped to see on the next dive. Captain Bob headed us over to Abbey Too Reef (a fave of mine) and we got prepared to do our second dive. Due to current and wave action and the way the flag was pulling me all over the reef on the first dive, I decided that taking the video camera down this time wouldn’t be easy, so I left it aboard. We all jump in and begin drifting along the reef. The sun was really bright at this point and the colors on the reef really popped. Soon after we get in I spot a big Green Moray and I wave everyone over to look at it. It was kinda shy and tried to duck back in a hole, but we could still see it. A little bit after that we found the tail of a Spotted Eel, but we couldn’t find the other end! We also saw more Spadefish and Deb found a Lobster. Neither of them had ever seen one before, so I coaxed it out of it’s hole so they could see the whole thing. I was thinking about taking it with us on the dive, but I could see that it was too short to keep. All too soon our bottom time is up and we start heading up to our safety stop. Deb and Sarah were really relaxed at this point – so much so that they were playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for the whole safety stop!
Despite the 4ft seas, it was a great sunny, warm day for diving and I made two new friends and showed them a few things they had never seen before. Hopefully we will dive together again soon!