I took my first Nitrox dives today. As I’ve already menitoned, there’s a big certification process to it, but like much of the PADI courses one of the big take-home point is “make sure you use your dive computer” and don’t be stupid.
Our first stop was at Bonnie’s Arch, where we dropped in and met our guide. We all swam down beneath the spectacular arch, for which this site is named.
The visibility here was very good, but there was a bit of tidal surge, so not as good as some of the other sites we have dived, and the surge made the dive a bit more challenging. As things worked out, this dive we hung a bit closer to the main group. For me, having buddied up with L has been helpful, as he knows what to look for, and we’ve seen some pretty interesting things.
Oh look! Another turtle.
Yes – we got to see another green turtle here. This time, we were moving the same direction so even though I initially held back, I eventually got plenty of photos.
We finally parted ways, as she (he?) drifted away from us.
We also saw a trumpet fish here. I used to play trumpet, so couldn’t leave this guy out.
After an hour or so, we found ourselves diving at Chain Reef. The last dive, L and I had been last out of the water, so this time they made us be last-in, so that our interval would be longer. This reef is named for a big chain that lays on the bottom. Nobody knows why or how it got there, but there it is.
This is the first time I’ve seen Christmas tree worms this trip. I love them – if you make a little move near them they pull back into their shells instantaneously. They’re very cool.
We have seen a lot of sea urchins, but mostly they have been hiding in little crevices, like this pair.
This photo isn’t quite in focus, but this little green eel was watching us cautiously. He’s in the center bottom third of the frame.
These are flamingo tongues. L has been telling me about them, and was happy to finally find some.
Finally this guy said hello on our way up.
After a lunch break, L and I returned with the dive crew to the USS Kittiwake. She was a submarine rescue vessel that was sunk in 2011 to serve as an artificial reef.
We got special permit tags to place on our BC’s, and jumped in. Swimming just east of where we were moored, the ship came into view.
We first swam from fore to aft on the port side of the ship.
We passed beneath the giant rudder.
And we caught a view of her stern.
From there we explored her interior. The walls and and floors have been opened in places so that divers, even with less experience, can explore safely.
I tried to get my first ever bathroom selfie (why are these a thing?) but failed.
We continued to explore the ship further, from her bridge to her engine room.
Eventually, we bid her farewell and returned to the surface, where L and I would later leave the resort for a delicious meal at the Cracked Conch restaurant.
And to add my 2 cents to the ongoing debate of whether people feel better when diving with Nitrox: I don’t know, but I do know that I don’t worry as much about how long I can spend on my repetitive dives, so that’s definitely a good thing.