Sunday, April 26, 2015

Heading South

This week ten new passengers arrived on the boat. Including myself there are four Californians, four Portuguese (two who have been living in Mozambique), a Swedish guy who is moving to DC with his not-yet-diving Japanese girlfriend, a Japanese man, and last week's buddy from Tenneesee. We range in experience from Miko, who is getting Open Water certified this week, to her boyfriend Nels, who used to do underwater demolition in the U.S. Navy. The whole Nels-Miko-diving dynamic is, shall we say, interesting to watch. Nels is a gung-ho name dropping gearhead who told Miko that she really must learn to dive. Miko isn't exactly loving it, but she's giving it a good try. I wish her well but I think my extrovert new friend Wendy is secretly taking bets on how long it will be until they have a screaming fight. Nels is kind of obnoxious. We got in the water at Abu Dabab and according to him it was an awful boring dive so he got out at 36 minutes. It's fine to end a dive because it blows, but it was actually a lovely dive and he sounded rather bitchy poo-pooing it.

We actually started the day back at Marsá Shoana. I'm now diving with Dennis, a nice man in his late 60s from Carlsbad. His wife couldn't make it so he came alone (plus she doesn't like cool water). He's a very good dive buddy, is great in the water, and his somewhat faster than me air use means that our dives are 50-55 minutes. This is fine by me, as I am now getting out of the water before I get cold, unlike last week. Stuff at Marsá Shoana seems to come in size large. I saw the biggest scorpionfish I've ever seen, a huge nudibranch, and a massive turtle. The dugong did not turn up again, sadly.

After Marsá Shoana we went a bit further south to Abu Dabab, where we ended up last Friday because we couldn't get to Elphinstone. I didn't dive Abu Dabab last week, and was happy to get in today because the sea was much calmer. Although he-man Nels hated the site, I thought it was a fun dive. First we swam by a wooden boat that caught fire and sank about six years ago, then we made our way though a slot passageway though the reef. I enjoy swim throughs, this one was twisty and went up and down, dumping us out in a coral amphitheater full of jellyfish. They looked like moon jellies to me, they did not have long trailing tentacles. We visited a bright red anemone, and then worked our way back to the boat. There appeared to be some sort of low air drama with one of the divers from Mozambique, but it happened practically next to the boat so it looked like simple reassurance from divemaster Erin handled everything. Those divers probably just didn't realize we were right by the boat and had been swimming at 5 meters long enough already that they had already completed their safety stop. Anyway, all is well. We are now motoring about 100 miles south overnight to Fury Shoals. Aside from diving, we will also try to snorkel with a resident pod of striped dolphins. After that we will go a bit further south to a place called St. John's Island, which is supposed to have a big lovely sunlit cavern you can swim in to. I do not know how much longer I will have an Internet connection for, but I will at the most be back online on Friday with more log entries and pictures.

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