Dive #29 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:

21h
40m


Dive Info:

Dive Start:
8:00PM

Bottom Time:
62 minutes

Maximum Depth:
53 feet

Safety Stop:
Long time in shallows

Beginning Air:
3100 psi

Ending Air:
n/r

Weather Conditions:
Night 80F

Surface Conditions:
Calm

Surface Water Temperature:
80F

Bottom Water Temperature:
78F

Visibility:
60 feet
29
TITLE
* * *
July 9,
1998
TOWN PIER
BONAIRE, N.A.
NIGHT SHORE DIVE
 
Linda, Mercedes, and Myron (buddies)
Rich
These orange cup corals are a major draw at Town Pier
Photo by Myron Johnson in Bonaire 1998 
Dive Journal: After grabbing more air tanks, we meet Joao at 7PM in front of the Sand Dollar. Joao and his girlfriend are on a putt-putt bike, and so he asks that we take their gear to the Town Pier in our van. When we arrive there, we discover, to our dismay, that we are part of a party of ten divers scheduled to dive with Joao. Some private dive.

Nonetheless, it is an exciting venue. The Town Pier is world renowned as a night dive spot, and certainly a "must-dive" while on Bonaire. As we suit up, one fellow diver of around 55 pauses, then loudly proclaims that while he is shooting film, no one must shine their dive lights into his field of view. Kind of a stupid thing to say, both illogical and arrogant to request such a thing, especially when so many divers are together. But we just nod - sure, whatever.

We enter the water as a group, submerge, and meet near the shallowest pier piling. We follow Joao down the pier pilings and observe many odd creatures of the night. The orange cup corals are amazing here - huge solid bunches of bright orange cups adorning every piling. There are lots of banded coral shrimp lurking about, and numerous brittle stars hanging onto piling corals.

In the crowd, Linda and I get separated, and so Linda stays close to Joao. They lead the way, and when they reach the outer sections of the pier, they find themselves out of sight of the remaining dive party. Joao points out a seahorse on the piling, then indicates for Linda to wait alone while he leaves to round up the others. After hovering mid-water a while looking at the seahorse, Linda starts to get unnerved at the strange surroundings. Joao is gone a seemingly long time, and Linda can see no glimmer of dive lights at all, only the murky glow of the pier lights from above. Finally Joao returns with the party, but not before Linda is a little uneasy about the whole thing.

Another party of divers arrives, then maybe yet another one. The site gets way too crowded quickly, and a bit confusing. We lose sight of Joao again, and Linda and I work to stay together. I spend a fair amount of time swimming around trying to identify Linda's fins. Although the layout of the pier is quite straightforward, it is still easy to get disoriented. There are a few gorgeous bearded fireworms that we examine with great interest.

Rich
This poor frogfish got alot of attention
Photo by Myron Johnson in Bonaire 1998 

Soon, we hear Joao using his tank banger to call attention to a longlure frogfish on the bottom near the pier. The poor frogfish is rapidly inundated with a half dozen divers grappling for position to get a close view. In the middle of this melee is the arrogant 55 year old, earnestly elbowing everyone out of the way while he blasts the intimidated frogfish with 55,000 lumens of halogen light. Joao later pings his tank to identify a large spotted eel, and the scene repeats itself. Mr. Arrogant consistently fins other divers in the mask, bubbles exhaust up through other divers masks, and hogs as much observation time as possible at each interesting site. Many of the other divers, including us, give up and go off to explore different sites on our own. On the return swim, we spy a 3-row sea cucumber, and a beautiful specimen of orange vein encrusting sponge.

We slowly surface and emerge from the water, with the group already largely dispersed. I've totally lost Joao. There seems to be a lot of people on top of the pier looking down at us. As I climb up the ramp stairs and onto the sidewalk, I am tingled by an interesting feeling - I can't quite identify it. Weird. Anyway, it's been a neat dive, except for the crowd, and we've certainly seen a few new critters to add to the list.

On the sidewalk, while Linda and I disassemble our gear, we see Mr. Arrogant pulling off his own wetsuit. He is loudly griping that all the other divers got in his way and ruined his photography. What a first class living asshole! How does anybody get to this stage in life? He then points to Linda and specifically points her out as a culprit. It turns out that he thought Linda was Mercedes, and when Mercedes understands this mistake she verbally attacks Mr. Asshole, explaining in no uncertain terms just exactly what kind of jerk he is.

We pay Joao $20US each for the dive, although frankly even this is too much for the effort he expended, especially since he had promised us a "private" dive.

More
Dive
Info:
Fins:
Mares Avanti Quattro
Computer:
U S Divers Matrix
Tank:
80 ft3 Al
BCD:
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
SHORE NIGHT
Body of Water:
Caribbean
Mask:
U S Divers
Protection:
3mm shorty
Regulator:
SeaQuest
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
Weight:
8 lb
Water Type:
Salt
Video Equipment:
None