Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cocos Island and Coral Gardens

It's been a while since I've posted any dive pictures here. Specifically, it's been almost four months... not coincidentally, the exact same amount of time since Nick and I went to Palau. We had heard the rumors that after diving Palau, diving in Guam (or just about anywhere) is ruined. Our amazing experience there confirmed those rumors, so we hung up our BC's for a while.

Nick and I have still been out snorkeling and exploring on the weekends and even some weeknights, but we don't usually bring our camera anymore. Two reasons. One: I have already shared here many of the places we go. Second reason: There's a law of nature that if you don't have a camera, you are more likely to see awesome stuff. That was true on our dive this past Saturday afternoon at Gun Beach, when we saw an octopus in the rocks within the first sixty seconds of our dive. I haven't seen an octopus in the water in ages, and since they hide in rock crevices, they are usually pretty easy to photograph. Bummer.

Meet Anet... hi!
Today I did a boat dive with a new friend of mine, Anet, who is also trying to get in more dives before they move back to the States in August. With Nick off island this week (getting hit by the super typhoon in Japan... awesome!), I figured I'd take advantage of this completely free week and go. I debated on whether or not to bring the camera, but I am so glad I did!

Our first dive off Cocos Island we saw a turtle, a spotted eagle ray, and a white tip reef shark. I felt like Guam was showing off a bit, as if to say, "Okay, maybe I'm not Palau, but I'm still awesome." Message heard, loud and clear.  Here are some of the shots:
This guy swam right up to us... hi!
At 2 ft.+, this is one of the biggest puffer fish I have ever seen. I didn't think it was a puffer because I'd never seen one with spots and a thin tail like this.  I showed the guide these pictures. He said a head this puffy has got to be a puffer...
Lots of butterfly fish 
and all kinds of fish

Big conch shell

Plenty of gorgeous blue starfish

Our next dive was to Coral Gardens. When Nick and I had our boat we only dove here once or twice. It's close to shore and a few odd reef breaks, so the visibility isn't usually as good as some of the other nearby sites. There aren't any turtles, sharks or rays hanging out in these parts, so it's not as spectacular in terms of marine life. I would usually turn my nose up at the mere suggestion of this place. I feel like the ocean taught me a lesson today. 54 minutes here flew by like seconds. There was so much to see! The corals here really are gorgeous.
The corals rise up out of the soft white sand, fold after fold, and keep going as far as the underwater eye can see. Tucked away among the folds are little hiding creatures.  

Vibrant colors

Beautiful shapes and textures.

And then this...
 This giant spiny sea slug... it is about 2.5 feet long and hanging off this coral shelf, swaying in the current. These things aren't that rare, but usually they are plopped on the ground somewhere, not moving. This one was a sight. And it was slightly massive.

Here's one of my favorite moments from the day... this starfish hugging its lounge chair... 

And that wraps up this most recent round of diving... and brings me to 75 total dives. I have now spent over 50 hours of my life breathing under water. That's 50 hours alone with just my thoughts and my breath, contemplating this fascinating world teeming with such colorful and curious life. I continue to find myself amazed.

1 comment:

  1. So that's pretty much three whole days underwater! Not too shabby!! Great pictures, pretty stellar for a Guam dive! So glad you and Anet got to spend some time together, I miss her!


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