Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The dive that wasn't; the dive that was

As in most southern hemisphere tropical waters, the winds here blow almost continuously with some strength from the southeast. And unlike most foreign sailors, we are being contrarian and proceeding down the coast into those incessant winds.

To avoid undue suffering, we are trying to move on the rare light wind days [there is never any wind of strength IN our favor] and SCUBA dive or just veg out on the days when traveling is difficult.

After motoring southeast in a rare calm, we anchored off Pine Peak Island in anticipation of a pleasant dive. A considerable current brushes across the face of the island's coral reef and, by bringing past a steady flow of nutrients, this tends to encourage vibrant marine life. The current along the reef sweeping past us at anchor, first one way and then the other, created safety issues for diving. It wouldn't do to be swept away from TRAVERSAY and not be able to swim back!

I timed the period of slack current between the tidal flows and found it a little too short for real comfort. Knowing the calm was forecast to last another day, I hatched a plan that we would tether one of us to our outboard powered dinghy during the dive. We could enjoy and photograph the coral while the dinghy floated serenely twenty feet above us.

When the morning of our dive dawned though, the southeast winds had returned early. My mind conjured up the way our dinghy likes to blow downwind in a fifteen knot wind. The outboard easily tames it but I imagined myself being towed away from the reef like a person attached to a very large kite. We didn't even bother to launch the dinghy, canceled the dive, and headed off to the Percy Islands some ten short miles to the southeast.

Changing winds required corresponding changes in our anchor location. First at White's Bay on Middle Percy and then at Blunt Bay on Northeast Percy we took the dinghy around the bay and looked at the marine life through a swim mask. White's Bay was a disappointment but Blunt Bay seemed to have possibilities.

In the end it was a better dive than we had expected. While the visibility underwater initially seemed poor, the life at close range was colorful and interesting. Each dive seems memorable for SOMETHING and the choice find on this day was a large cushion sea star. In typical fashion, I swam right over it thinking it to be a rock. Mary Anne caught my attention and posed for a photo holding up the excellent sofa-cushion sized specimen. Photos taken, she gently placed it back where it had been hanging out.

A good day! And worth the rolly anchorages.

At 7/27/2016 01:07 (utc) our position was 21°39.27'S 150°20.02'E

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