Friday, September 23, 2005

Finding Nemo...

Yesterday was a day of firsts. My first open water dive in Micronesia and I saw my first clown fish (Nemo) and first tridacnid (a giant clam although it wasn't that big).

The dives were mixed. The first dive was excellent. We started on the south east coast of Saipan where cliffs dropped 50 or so feet down to the water's edge. All along that section of coast there is a bench of rock which is perfectly flat and extends about 8 feet from the base of the cliffs about 1 - 2 feet above the water. Visibility was around 30 meters with excellent fish and coral communities. The water is warm, about 86 degrees and we are able to tow wearing only a rash guard (lycra shirt) and swim suit. It is nice to be warm while diving again.

The second dive was not as nice. Visbility had dropped to 15 meters and much of the dive was over sand. Hmmm, we have seen sand somewhere before I think... oh yes, the entire main eight Hawaiian Islands cruise last month!

Today I staid on board the ship as Dive Master and Data Manager which entails giving the morning dive briefing, trying to make sure no one gets hurt, and filling tanks which is what I have been doing all evening.

Tonight we are steaming north to Anatahan Island which should be interesting. The oceanography team will be dashing in to pick up some of their instruments while the rest of us will stay on the ship. We were looking forward to exploring the underwater areas around the island but the CO of the ship made the call today that it was too dangerous to dive. Better to err on the side of caution. Anatahan is an active volcanoe which errupted rather explosivly a few weeks ago. Still, it will be interesting to see it from the surface.

Now it is time to enter more data and then turn into a pumpkin. I fear my brain is hardly functioning. My pillow will feel good tonight.