We arrived around 5am at a reef in the middle of nowhere with a black and white striped lighthouse on it. Half of the boats from The Brothers were also there. Early morning is the best time to look for the hammerheads, so we took a zodiac to the north side of the reef with the plan to go down to about 90 feet and see what happened by. We were barely in the water for two minutes when we found what we were looking for: a small school of 15 scalloped hammerhead sharks. They cruised around us, above and below, and we hung out in the blue (around 70 feet) watching them for nearly 15 minutes before returning to shallower water along the reef.
The next day the wind started picking up. We went out in the morning to look for hammerheads, and once again were not disappointed. We hung out in about 80 feet of water, and soon enough a few ventured into view.
We finished the dive along the reef, where we found a turtle eating his breakfast and some beautiful purple-spotted nudibranchs. After breakfast we were gearing up to go out to see the hammerheads again, but by this point the wind and the seas were picking up and I started worrying about getting in and out of the zodiac. It's not that I couldn't do it, it's just that it makes me nervous and I simply wasn't in the mood to do anything difficult. I'm not a hardcore adventure diver, and I've had plenty of dives of clambering in and out of bobbing boats, whacking my knees and shins on ladders and getting bruised up. A key to safe diving is to know your limits, and I firmly believe this means mentally as well as physically. There's always another dive, unless you make a mistake and have an accident. There are two more dives scheduled for today, and I'm unsure as to whether I'll do either of them because the winds and chop are increasingly strong.
Lucky for me, the winds dropped down in the late afternoon, so I jumped into the water for the final dive of the day. It was a mellow cruise along the wall right near the boat. I saw several eels, two Napoleon wrasse, and a type of anemone I hadn't noticed before. This one had wavy, almost corkscrew, tentacles. My dive buddy lagged way far behind the group again, and I patiently hung out waiting for him to catch up. After the dive the other divers and the divemaster all said something to him about staying closer to the group. He responded that he's solo certified and dives alone at home all the time. Be that as it may, the official Aggressor Fleet policy is that solo diving is never allowed. I'll keep my eye on him but if something stupid happens I won't feel responsible. After the last dive of the day we had a delicious dinner, and then departed for the final dive destination for this week: Elphinstone. Unfortunately weather conditions do not look good for diving there tomorrow. There is a nearby backup spot, though. I'm staying on the boat for another week to dive the "Southern" itinerary, which will give me another shot at Elphinstone next week.