Fabled Islands 11
April 17, 2009
Last night I actually slept pretty well. Iâ€™m not sure if it was the fact that I am getting my sea legs or that we were at anchor the whole night (a first). But never look a gift horse in the mouth. I woke refreshed and ready for todayâ€™s dive.
At dawn we moved the ship a couple of miles to the north on the leeward side of the island, protected from the winds that have been blowing. Here, too, is a nice reef and a beautiful beach called appropriately, â€œPerfect Beach.â€
After breakfast, the dive teams assembled, though this time they split us up from our usual dive partners. The beach slopes gently into the lagoon, with the reef starting just offshore. The reef then slopes gently out a few hundred yards from shore then drops off in a nice wall down to about 75 feet.
We buzzed up and down in the zodiacs searching for just the right spot to drop in. Once Kelvin, the divemaster, was satisfied, we entered the water and formed up in two groups of four divers and a divemaster.
Almost immediately we could tell the coral in this area was exceedingly healthy and abundant. Lots of reds, greens, blues, yellows, purples, and browns; in fact, almost any color you could imagine.
The fish life was also excellent, with plenty of anemones and their respective clownfish, lots of fry, and a half-dozen lionfish; a beautiful fish with a really nasty poisonous barb in the dorsal fin. You really donâ€™t want to get stung!
When our allotted time was up (an hour), we made our way up a small canyon of sorts to shallower water where we finished the dive and returned to the ship.
After rinsing our gear and ourselves, the ship weighed anchor and we left the lagoon, headed west toward Mozambique, our destination for tomorrow.
Once we cleared the island the seas picked up a bit, the ship pitching and rocking quite a bit in the larger than usual swells of open ocean. Lunch was attended by fewer people than normal, the effects of the ship movement no doubt.
Mid-afternoon I attended a talk given by one of our divemasters, Lisa Trotter, the first person to become certified as a diver in the Antarctic. Since then she has logged thousands of dives. The talk dealt with her passion, the Leopard Seal, and her close encounters (some rather scary) with these creatures in Antarctic waters. (more info: see her book, â€œBelow Freezing,â€ and Google her name).
On to Mozambique!