Sunday, May 11, 2008

Manatee, Underwater Treasures and 2 New Walls!

Yesterday we decided to dive the Aguadilla Court House Wall since we hadn't been there in awhile. We have been working hard in the yard for 6 dive- free days since there was some rain earlier in the week and we expected the water to be murky. So we take a look at the surface and it is calm calm calm and appears clear. We head out for the 20 minute swim and Jeff spots "something big" on the surface. We all quickly put masks on and discover a manatee!!!! My first ever! This is a big, weird looking animal. The blob kind of swam a little and then settled on the bottom for a short while and we ewed and awed until it left. We continued on in good visibility until the end when it got murky. The water temperature has gone up to 81! It was 82 in spots. So what about the treasure? Here is the first treasure - (not the shoe) a really cool and very large fish scale. The shiny aluminum foil look is what caught my eye. At first I thought it was an operculum (anatomy that closes a snail into its shell) and then figured out (because of the slime) that it was one monster-big fish scale. I would have loved to have seen the giant barracuda or whatever it was.
 A closer view.

The second treasure was on today's dive. Lobster for dinner - yum. We headed out to Shacks since conditions looked good. It was absolutely gorgeous! We pulled out the reel to get an idea what the visibility was and at 85 feet we just stopped - visibility was around 100. Unheard of for us Washington divers. We could see forever. The previous day at the court house wall we even saw our own shadows underwater! We had 78 minutes or so of absolute beauty, turtles, big fish, little stuff and clear water. Even coming back through the reef in the tunnels wasn't as difficult as usual. And we got something yummy for dinner.

The first new wall was south of the Rincon Wall - we will cleverly call it Rincon Wall 2. We did a nice long exploratory dive here last week. My new favorite spot. Big drop off, gullys, reef and loads of big big fish. The second wall is a mini wall we built to take care of a messy driveway. Here's a shot of the mess. I don't even know how messy it gets in the wet season but wanted to fix it before then! We are limited as to what we can do since it is rocky, a house sits up top and you can see the water lines. Water lines for a couple houses go up our driveway for a hundred feet before veering left to cross a road and go to other houses. We can't move them, can't really hide them totally in case they need to be fixed so we are doing what we can. We will build a wall that will function to keep dirt back. It will make a little mini planter where I will plant some stuff to kind of hide the pipes, soften the wall and make a nice entrance to the house.

Jeff did the digging while the ground was soft so it took a couple hours. We layed it out to figure out where to set rebar before making the base (which took an afternoon).

The next day we set about making the actual wall which we thought would be 2 blocks high. We ended up going three since it would function better and give me space for soil to plant (it is rock).

It was a very long and tiring day of getting the blocks up. Jeff brought sand and gravel and cement down in the truck (which he had to load) and he did the mixing (in the wheel barrow) while I did the cementing. I had to gather rocks from all over to fill the cinder block holes. Jeff had to cut more rebar when we decided to go up a block. Lots of wrist work, but it looks great and looks like it will function well (we will see when it rains). We still need to wing it to the left on a diagonal (more digging and block cutting). I am waiting until next week (hey, that's tomorrow already) to put the finishing coat on and then we'll do the final part on the upper wall before getting paint and REALLY finishing it! Working with cement is really get results fast and can actually build things. We plan on making cement benches for various spots in the yard and maybe some planters? Endless possibilities. Jeff even cut some steps into the orange hillside and poured cement to make cat play areas - (not really) I mean steps to make weed whacking easier. Cement is fun and easy and so far works!


Yeli said...

Enjoy our beautiful are a nice couple.
Un abrazo

Summer said...

You guys did a great job! I'm muy impressed :).

Anonymous said...

Cement is fun and cheap! You can build a little wall, planters, make pedastals for benches all for 65 cents a block, 3.60 for a bag of cement and some rocks and sand! Yipee! Very fun and easy! The only expensive part is rebar if you need it. katrina

Anonymous said...

Great improvement. Let me know if this is actually working, this posting thing. I'm not sure.