Thursday, 21 April
I awoke to a steady wind again. It was good sleeping but I awoke to a dream about losing a chess game. Turns out it was not a dream but an omen. More about that later. It seemed a little less windy than yesterday. When I met Nicole for breakfast and after speaking to other divers we decided on one dive in the early afternoon. Depending on visibility there were a couple of options.
We sat near the bar and chatted after breakfast under cloudless skies. The water is beautiful shades of blue when it is not overcast or hazy. This made us decide on a minor alteration to the schedule. We were suited up and in the water about 11:30. Our plan was to head to the garage if visibility was good. Then we would decide if it was clear enough to find a small piece of coral at over ninety feet. Backup to all this was to just follow the north reef out and back.
We arrived at the garage structure and found it covered in small fish. Today they were on top of the structure as well as underneath. We were entertained by a black angelfish or butterflyfish harassing a lionfish who looked like it was trying to enjoy the garage fish buffet. After you see your first couple of lionfish you quickly realize they are like the bullies of the reef feasting on the little fishes. Since visibility was good we decided to see if we could locate the rock at thirty meters, about one hundred feet.
The moray eels are Nicole’s favorite. This tiny reef hosted a moray eel three years ago during our last visit. Nicole quickly located the yellowmouth moray. I could see her smile even with the regulator in her mouth. This eel is pale gray with dark spots and the inside of it’s mouth is bright yellow. These can grow to six feet. I guessed it was about three feet long from the couple of inches that were showing. Muräne is German for moray eel so I have a heard the word muräne a few times and added it to my very limited German vocabulary. Several of the banded coral shrimp were also hanging out with the fish on this small piece of coral. Photos are not mine. I may take my camera on tomorrow’s dive.
Instead of finding our way to the garage and back to the entry point, we found ourselves at the south reef. Since the wind has been blowing from north to south it seems to have pushed jellyfish up along the south reef. Among the fish there were needlefish. Along with the varieties of colors, the variety of fish shapes is amazing.
After making our way to the entry point and rinsing dive gear it was time for a hot shower. Nicole and I split a barbecue pizza for lunch and then cappuccino for dessert. Nicole had paid off all of our earlier wagers with ice cream and coffees so for the first time in a while, we started even. First up was a game of pool. Wind gusts are still strong enough that occasionally the cue ball would roll or the ball you were aiming for would be moving. That only made the game more interesting. Unfortunately, Nicole won two games of pool. It was time to redeem myself at chess. The game seemed to go on for a while seeming like each of us had the edge. Finally, Nicole pulled out a victory. That dream last night turned out to be an omen. Three and oh today. Now I am the one owing coffees….
While I was losing my games a dive club with about thirty people came in. The dive center and meals have not been busy at all the last couple of days. I suspect we are in for a change. Time to read the news and relax a bit before dinner.
We headed to dinner when they opened at seven. That turned out to be a good decision since about fifteen minutes later the dive club with about thirty members came in together. Thursday nights are a barbecue station – sausages and chicken roasted over charcoal. Mmm. After dinner a game of pool rematch. I finally pulled this one out with a win. Short phone call with Dolora – important topic was when I get in. Since it is an overnight flight I want to make sure I do not send Dolora to the airport on the wrong day!
Neil Young – “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”