Today I had the worst dive I think I have ever had. We went to a reef called TableTop, and the visibility was so bad I thought I was in a blizzard. Apparently we were dropped in at the wrong spot. I have never been in such a strong current, and we had to swim against the current. At times there was no choice but to hold onto the rocky coral area in order to stay put. I was very, very surprised that the dive wasn’t aborted pretty quickly, but we stayed down for 24 minutes. The visibility was maybe15 to 20 feet, at most. You didn’t really see people so much as shadows unless you were right next to them. Ironically, as I was fighting like hell to keep up and not get swept away, I took some really nice photos. I guess when you are that close to the reef (like 2 or 3 inches) you spot some fairly amazing creatures. At least something good came out of it. I can say this, I won’t stay down on a dive like that again. The currents and wind are extremely variable on this coastline, but I
don’t want to do those kinds of risky dives. Life is risky enough.
I finished my last dive for All Out Africa today, though I will continue to dive until Randy gets here. I have to say I am disappointed that I did not participate in collection of id photos on anything but turtles. I have learned so much from this trip, and I am still ruminating on it. I will share as I get my thoughts in order. I did participate in fish id surveys and I logged dives into the research database. The diving has been interesting and I wouldn’t have missed it, but what was once a common sight here, leopard sharks, whale sharks, manta rays, are common no longer. The decline in these populations is disastrous for the people here, as tourism will be affected, but they are the ones causing the decline by overfishing, longlining, targeting sharks and rays. I have another week here, I still hope to see a humpback whale, whale shark, small eye sting ray, leopard shark, or a manta on a dive. I will be very happy to trade in my bunkbed with 2 inch mattress for the Casa do
Mar on Monday. They even have washing machines! Sleeping on a real bed will be heaven. I have enjoyed living in the house with this wonderful group, but I am starting to miss the luxuries I am used to (washing machines, bath tubs, microwaves, and crisp French fries, aka chips.)
I have an ocean safari tomorrow, so hopefully I will get my wish. ONE of the housemates saw an oceanic sunfish (mola mola) today, but of course, I wasn’t on that dive. Maybe tomorrow. Cheers!
May 25 morning update:
They saw a leatherback turtle on their dive today. No, I wasn’t on the morning dive. Shit! And a leatherback and manta cruised by us on the ocean safari...did I see them? No, they were gone in a flash.
Tonight is the goodbye “party” for Patty at TofoTofo, a restaurant/club. We have a turtle talk at 6p, then we will head off to dinner. I’m diving in the morning so I won’t be out late. J
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