Our fresh fruit supply has dwindled to nothing, the last extremely over-ripe banana was cooked a few days ago, the school kids have wiped out the chocolate supply from the island tuck shop (a sight I foresaw upon their arrival but was too slow to beat them to it) and the bait is smelling pretty rotten – but we are all talking big fish, photography and watching new footage every evening – so we are still full steam ahead – whenever we have a boat to steam in that is.
After an extremely frustrating down day yesterday for the team (we lent our boat to the school kids early morning and by the time it was back the tide was too low to cross the encircling reef) we were in good spirits this morning to feel the wind in our faces and wet our fins. The deadly still waters that blessed us these past few days have moved elsewhere, and in their place the ocean has been woken by southeast wind. Definitely not rough compared to the South Africa’s stormy seas – but the water was choppy and the surface speckled with white horses. We managed to time our dive in the coral gardens up the main channel perfectly, as the tide was still going in when we got in the water and the current perfectly slack for most of the dive, unfortunately the visibility was not good. Nonetheless, it was good to spend time free diving in the coral without being pulled along by the current. It gave us a chance to explore the various channels and get id photos of the impressive variety of corals.
Tom and I spent a good half hour trying to get the perfect composition of damsel fish above a beautiful acropora coral head, but the fish insisted on corralling in one particular section. The first time we were there Dan caught a fleeting glimpse of a hammerhead, but today all that came in was a very large lemon and a few black tips. Tom and I were last back to the boat and the lemon surprised us both by appearing out of nowhere to check us out. He was so large at first glance I didn’t even recognize him for a lemon shark. Sadly we didn’t have time to stay on the reef and photograph him, as once again we had to rush back to beat the tides.
I completely forgot to mention that the other day James pulled an all nighter on us. We have all been wondering what the shark population looks like at night here and whether we would finally get some images of large sharks if we did some night dives. … so James volunteered to keep watch for us, put some bait in the water and waited in the darkness to see what showed up. We thought perhaps that the tigers patrol the reef here at night and with powerful strobes we would at least get some images of them, but James never woke us up with news of a tiger or any other large shark. Only the usual characters, grey reef, silver tip, and sicklefin lemon. He did, however dream that a nice big hammerhead arrived but no photos to prove it.