Friday, November 29, 2013

Small Hope Bay

From Riding Rock on San Salvador island we went to Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros island for more diving. We got in one day of diving and then the weather turned bad - too windy for diving. We went for a walk in the morning, but otherwise just hung out and relaxed for a change :-) The next day was still windy but not as bad and we went out diving. Tuesday was still rainy but the wind has dropped so we dove again. It was pouring rain in between our two morning dives so we got a little chilled. On the positive side, that must have scared away the 13 other divers and Shelley and I were the only ones to go out for an afternoon dive. It was still raining a little but we didn't go far and with only one dive we could come back right after so it wasn't as bad. It was nice to have just the two of us plus the dive master (instead of the gong show of 15 divers). I didn't take my camera on all the dives but I got a few decent shots when I did.

It's too bad lionfish are a bad invasive species - they are definitely fancy fish!


four-eye butterflyfish

Four-eye butterflyfish are normally found in pairs like these two.

Thursday the wind was back and conditions were pretty rough. Six of us still went out for a single dive in the morning. Some of the waves were getting pretty big, maybe 10 feet, but once you're under water it's fine. Considering the rough water, the visibility was reasonably good. We saw a fair sized turtle. But the highlight of the dive was towards the end. I turned back to check on Shelley and there was a big black shape. It took me a few seconds to figure out what I was seeing. White spots, fins, huge size - OMG it's a whale shark! I frantically signaled Shelley and the dive master that was with us. By the time the dive master had made a noise to signal the rest of the group the whale shark had glided past and disappeared into the blue. Only the three of us saw it. It hardly seem to be moving its fins or tail, but it was still making a good speed. Whale sharks get up to 40 feet long - I'd guess this one was "only" 20 or 25 feet, but that's still a big thing to go cruising by! Whale sharks are not common here - apparently this is the only sighting for several years. (Note: whale sharks eat plankton - they aren't dangerous.)

We also wandered down the beach and in the mangroves, but there wasn't a lot to see - a couple of herons, some egrets in the distance, and a few turkey vultures overhead.



Unfortunately, the weather stayed rainy and windy for the rest of the week. We got in one more rough dive and that was it. It's still relatively warm (especially compared to Saskatchewan!) but hardly a hot sunny Caribbean experience. Luckily we still have one more week in the Florida keys - hopefully the weather will improve a little before we have to return to winter!

See the 31 photos in this set as a slideshow or overview

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