Florida Islands - Aug 21 to Aug 23, 2015
It was a quick 48 hour trip out to the Florida Islands but we fit as much diving as possible!
We kicked things off first thing Saturday morning with a dive at Ed’s Wall. We had barely made our initial descent when a curious spotted eagle ray made a bee-line straight for us. She swam within a couple of meters before gracefully veering away. As we reached the point there was just enough current to hold the interest of a couple of grey reef sharks who held position out in the blue. After watching the thousands of tiny fish chase tiny nutrients on the point we finished our dive in the shallows.
Next we did a dive at Napoleon, just around the corner. We started the dive with a couple of nudis crawling along the reef. Part way through the dive another eagle ray made a close pass. A couple of divers were peering under a ledge and much to their surprise a massive loggerhead turtle woke up from nap time and darted past them for a swim out into the blue! The weekend was off to a great start!
After lunch and a nap we headed to Baby Cakes for a dive. We heard a lot of tank banging on this dive which typically means one thing, big fish. In this case it was dogtooth tunas. These toothy beasts cruise just off the reef waiting for an easy meal. We also had a monster greater barracuda hanging under the boat when we returned for our safety stop.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and night at Maravagi. On the afternoon dive we had some great encounters with some broadclub cuttlefish. They seemed to be as curious about us as we were of them. Part of the group rounded the corner and hung in the current to see what might cruise by. The payoff was a few sharks! We also caught a quick glimpse of a marble ray heading down to the sandy bottom of the bay. On the night dive we introduced the group to fluoro diving. We provided them with special UV lights and mask filters for a unique view of the reef. Many species of coral and critters glow in a way you’d never imagine possible with the help of light of a different wavelength. We finished the dive with normal lights as well to make sure we got a complete picture of what lurks on the reef at night.
Sunday morning we started the day at with a wall dive at Mbeaseri. The wall here is home to a plethora of massive sea fans. In addition to the thousands of tiny reef fish we saw along the way, we also had a reef shark swim by towards the end of the dive.
Next we drifted along Tanavula Wall. We stopped along the way to check out a blue spotted stingray hiding out under a rock. We had a group of three giant trevallies cruise past to see what we were up to. As the slope turned into a sheer wall the coral growth became even more impressive. The tiny damsels and anthias danced in the current as we drifted past and just off the all there were thousands of triggerfish swimming against the current.
After lunch we decided to do some exploring for the final dive. We put chief engineer, Foster, in charge of choosing the location and he did a wonderful job. As soon as we dropped in two black tip reef sharks swam right past us. The reef leveled out and we found ourselves swimming over a wonderful garden of soft and hard corals. There were nudibranchs galore, including a Solomon favorite, the banana nudi. Since the spot was definitely a keeper, we decided to name it Bananas Foster.
A big thanks to the guests and crew this weekend for making it such a fun trip. Also, thanks to the sharks and rays for cooperating and giving the guests the diving that they were hoping for!