Sunday, August 2, 2009

Diving Adventures Over the Last Month

No photos - but lots of adventures including today's and yesterday's..I'll start there.

YESTERDAY David and I (Jeff is in Arizona working) were going to go diving like we do every weekend (except when we are in caves). We have had some great dives lately but it looked like things were kind of changing. The Sahara Dust was knocked out of the sky and into the water and we thought visibility was dropping. Also it seems like wind and rain in the Central area were going to disturb things. I am just about to Rincon and David calls - "the north looks bad." No problem, I'll take the detour to Corseca in Rincon and check it out. Like mud. (Does it always rain in Rincon?) Where to now? We meet half way at the Aquadilla Court House Wall which can be spectacular or completely muddy. What a shock - it is crystal clear!!!! We descended at the usual place and since it was just David and I (we are the best on air - we don't breathe) we had 97 minutes underwater and saw the complete area! We went down and followed the wall to about 88 feet and went through thermoclines (layers of hot and cold water - 81 and then 82 but I swear it felt like a 3 or 4 degree difference). We kept the reef on our right and since it is kind of an oval we came up right where we descended after seeing oodles of stuff including the surface from 80 feet down!

ADVENTURE - The adventure started AFTER the dive. David has told us stories of diving the Sugar Mill. He hadn't gone there in 6 or so years and there was construction there now so he talked about getting a boat to take us there. The Sugar Mill is just South of Crash Boat. I pestered him into taking a big adventure and showing me where he USED to go down. I am always up for an adventure. There was some construction but an older guy (I love the old people here - they know everything) showed us where to get through the fence. David had us wandering on steep embankments and in thick brush looking for the old trail. We heard stories of needing 4 wheel drive pickups and then hiking boots to get down. There was no way we were doing this from shore....or could we? We saw another older guy in dress pants and I told David "I bet he knows how to get down." David asked, and the guy takes is an easy way down the bank to a beautiful little beach at the base of the pilings exactly where we want to be. This of course is after David gets into the dreaded pica pica and we both have scratches from wandering the brush without a machete! A nice swim after we found the route to the beach though made us forget all about the scratches and stings.

SUGAR MILL - David didn't even have to ask..."we are diving the Sugar Mill." Yes we are. So this morning we drove to the spot, suited up, and walked the 15 minutes past the no trespassing signs etc to get to the water. It is flat...sun is waves...clear people. Perfect! We swim on the surface to the end of the structure and decide to descend there, head south to around 60 feet to a debris pile and then back to the pilings. We drop down and it is a lot like Bonaire or St. Croix diving (very good). We are in caballo del mar country now - seahorses. Unfortunately we didn't see any but we saw more schools of fish than I have seen in one place. 30 or more Spade fish, large fish, small fish, all in huge schools around us. A line up of 10 squid that were in football formation. More eels than I have seen in one place - at least 6, turtles (I don't think it is really turtle time yet), nudibranches (I saw more today than I have in 100 dives here), god, what didn't we see? I used a 65 cubic foot tank and David used an 80 and we went to 78 feet and could still see the surface! We had 110 minutes underwater - wow! It was really wonderful. Lots of Tubastrea Coral that would be spectacular at night - unfortunately there is a guard in the evenings. We'll have to introduce ourselves! We then had to hike up the hill in our gear. My tank weighs 29 pounds and I carry 6 or 8 pounds of lead since I wear a 5mm suit (I know, most people are fine in a 3 mm). It didn't take much more than 20 minutes to come up but I was a little warm. We had a nice chat with the neighbors...nice people.

DESECHEO - a few weeks ago David, Raul and a friend of Raul's (forget his name) and I hired
a guy to take us in his boat to Desecheo. Jeff and I have always wanted to go there but the weather was never right...we didn't know any guys with boats...we didn't want to pay 85 bucks a person and be expected to have two back to back 30 minute dives. This was a friend of David's and for 40 bucks (then we all gave him an extra 10) he took us out and let us dive our way - which means David and I had 2 80 minute plus dives and he just tracked us with in the boat and came for us when we were ready.(Dive stores won't let you have long dives.) The trip out in the boat was great - maybe 40 minutes or so. It is about 14 miles off the Rincon coast and we left from Aguadilla near the Ice Rink. There was current, but the water was really really clear and there were really neat caverns lots of corals and fish and stuff (not like today's dive though - which was really packed with fish). We had long, wonderful dives and unfortunately for Jeff he was visiting his family in Wisconsin. The trip back in the boat was similar to any good Neah Bay trip - very very rough with lots of bottom slamming, being airborne and pounding. Coming back took over 1 1/2 hours. I am glad I took Bonine - I am shocked I didn't get seasick. Maybe the sun and being warm is just plain easier on the body? I got back to the truck and loaded up just about as Jeff's plane was landing in Mayaguez. He didn't have to wait long at all so it was pretty much perfect except that he didn't get to do the dives with us! Ah, another time..another adventure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Katrina for sharing your adventure stories! It helps my mind wander to a more relaxed place than work right now, LOL! A good break for lunch and some great stories. Thanks again!