...and other misconceptions I made 07-02-24
2007 Feb 24

Archive for the 'scuba' Category

September 18th 2012
Maybe my best single dive so far

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It started all rather boring. I guess one gets spoiled. Yet another reef. Sure, it is called “Shark Canyon”, but we all know these dive boats make up names to get people excited and book a trip.

Well, about 15 minutes into the dive (we’re at about 80ft / 24m) there are a couple of sharks that show up and swim around us. I think they were kind of cute and exciting. Not too big, maybe 5-7ft / 1.5-2m.

The sharks swim away and we see some goliath grouper. They suddenly hurry off. We go exploring what happened and look under a big overhang. A lot of sand was stirred up (too much to take a picture – even though I tried). But laying under that ledge was another shark, this one a nurse shark, maybe 8-9ft long (about 2.5m). Definitely big enough to have me not get closer too aggressively. They are mostly harmless and misunderstood creatures. But then again, doing something that the shark might misunderstand in the confined space under that overhang – not necessarily a good idea.

A few minutes later I found a turtle and went chasing after it. Oops, federal law requires me to say “swam around next to it, coincidentally in about the same direction and at about the same speed…”.

turtle swim-alonganother turtle

As I finally give up (let’s just say the turtle is a better swimmer than I am) and look up, there is this nice 5ft / 1.5m shark right in front of me. How close you ask? The first picture (shark from the front) was completely out of focus. The pictures below are basically uncropped and taken with a strong wide angle lens. Instead of taking pictures I could also have petted the shark. No kidding.

Absolutely breathtakingly amazing.

smallish spinner sharksmallish spinner shark

Oh, on the other dives I took some cool pictures, too. Like these. Whatever.

another beautiful lion fishFunny looking guy

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September 17th 2012
Scuba pictures from Florida

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I’m here for a business trip, but had a chance to do some diving, too.

We start with two fish. One of them is very dangerous and should be killed when you see on (at least in the Atlantic where it has no natural enemies). The other is a vilified beautiful animal that people love to be afraid of.

And I bet that many of you will get the “which one is which” wrong here.

Lionfish - beautiful but very poisonousnurse shark - not very big, maybe 4-5 feet

Then two beautiful animals that I cannot name. They look like ferns but I believe they are actually classified as animals…

Update: These are Christmas Tree Worms

no idea - some fern? - but beautifulanother unidentified beautiful life form

Next a puffer fish getting away from me, and a moray eel trying to get me to go away.

puffer fish getting awaymoray eel

An octopus trying hard to look like coral. And another eel – this one rather badly wounded in a fight, it seems.

octopus (kind of hard to see)another moray eel

During a night dive you can see much more exciting things than during the day. And strangely, colors come out much better at night (because the daylight at depth is very tinted whereas the light we bring to take pictures usually isn’t — a counterexample below).

beautiful artificial reef (i.e., wreck) at nighta fish that's good at hiding

And finally, maybe the highlight of this trip. The goliath grouper. We spent lots of time looking at them and this one let the photographers get close. Really close. Sadly, one of the others was taking pictures with the new “red led lights” that are said to not scare the fish away as much and on her camera can easily be color corrected. Only for all the other divers now your pictures have that strange partial red color tint…

goliath grouperwith red lightup close and personal

But given how close we got to these huge animals, I don’t really care. Just to put this into perspective – some of these were in the 500-600 pounds class. Really big animals.

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September 1st 2012
Pictures from diving

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Before attending a few conferences in San Diego (no kidding – there were NINE co-located conferences there this week), my usual group of friends and I went scuba diving. One of my diving buddies recently became certified as a scuba instructor and he wanted to get some practice teaching students, so we volunteered as Guinea pigs and took two classes with him – wreck diver and underwater naturalist. And for the second class I took some pictures while diving…

nudibranchnudibranchcoralspiny lobstergaribaldikelpfishspiny lobstermoray eeljelly fishkelpfishspider craban ode to red - should be a cardinal fish

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November 14th 2011
Trying to avoid repetition

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Of course many of the pictures that I take while diving are the same thing over and over again. The same fishes, similar scenery – it’s hard not to get repetitious. But I think today I have a few that are different.

A couple of old anchors (those things were huge, each at least 10-12 feet long). A shark (looks impressive but wasn’t scary – maybe 4ft / 1.2m long). Another moray eel, this time completely outside (but sleeping under an overhang). It’s hard to tell in this picture, but he’s about 2.4m / 8ft long. A couple more beautiful fish. A couple of pictures that I like for their artsy feel. And finally another picture of me (this is at our safety stop).

The things that were remarkable today were bad and good. One of my dive buddies had a problem with her buoyancy (there was a mix-up with her weights and she ended up 2kg light). So towards the end of the dive she was having trouble to stay neutrally buoyant. Since shooting up to the surface from 70ft / 21m is not desirable, the rest of us simply held on to her. To help her relax I offered to take her camera from her (which she had been nervous about before). And then, inexplicably, I managed to drop that camera and not even notice it until much later. It’s of course gone.

On a much happier note, for my dive number 111 I returned to the exact same dive site on which I did my very first dive, ever, a little over a year ago. We had a wonderful dive there, again, and I really enjoyed coming back to where it all started. So much good has come from that. And frankly, if it hadn’t been for K2, I wouldn’t have gone on that trip last year and I wouldn’t have done the discover scuba dive. So she deserves much of the credit for all the good things and wonderful friends I found through that.

And here the promised pictures.

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