Dive #161 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:

139h
43m


Dive Info:

Dive Start:
11:30AM

Bottom Time:
36 minutes

Maximum Depth:
95 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
1300 psi

Weather Conditions:
Sunny 84F

Surface Conditions:
Calm

Surface Water Temperature:
82F

Bottom Water Temperature:
82F

Visibility:
60+ feet
161
TITLE
* * *
Oct. 15,
2003
GOOMBAY REEF
EXUMAS - BAHAMAS
BOAT DIVE
VIDEO
Linda
Shark
This shark aimed straight at me during my safety stop.
Videograph by Rich Torkington in Bahamas 2003 
Dive Journal: In the morning we forego the 1st dive because the SeaDog is headed off to Warderick Wells Cay to the headquarters of the Exumas Land and Sea Park.

The side trip starts with a serene boat ride between cays to the park office, which is perched up on a hill with a fabulous view of the pristene waters around it. The area around this cay is often termed the most beautiful area of the Exumas.

In the park office, some of the divers check out the gift shop while John and I sit out on the porch, enjoy the view, and strike up conversation with an old Caribbean salt on the deck. He wants to know what diving is like, so I describe it as as close as you can get to a spacewalk. Gerry overhears me, but he thinks Ive said as close you can get to a baseball. Hunh?

The group heads off on an island hike, but John and I then discover the porch birdfeeder which is covered with little yellowish birds bananaquits! The food is simply refined sugar, and there is a supply nearby on the porch. John gets a sugar chunk and holds out his hand. Within only a minute or so, a couple bananaquits have landed on his hand cool.

We hurry to catch up with the hike, which leads us around a beach, through a pretty mangrove area and across some shallows. On the beach there is a sperm whale skeleton and some old boats good for group pictures. At one spot there is an assembly of volcanic rock shelves that create an interesting musical effect when struck. Our hike winds up another slope, giving us more gorgeous views of the area, and eventually ends at Booboo Hill.

The tradition at Booboo Hill is for sailors and yachters to leave a momento of their vessel, typically a plaque with the vessel name, date, captains, etc. Most of the signs are makeshift and there are hundreds of them, making the hilltop look like a garbage dump. Still, it is very interesting to read all the inscriptions and dates and imagine each being placed. It is a great spot for photographs.

We pass a small but forceful blowhole on the way back and have fun examining it, waiting for a good rush of air. We eventually make our way back to the dock, and prepare for a snorkel. There are two resident lemon sharks here who are already circling around the boat. Lemon sharks are normally considered even more dangerous than Caribbean reef sharks, but these two guys actually have names and are presumably docile.

The lemon sharks do not react at all when we enter the water, and we enjoy the cooling off after the short hike. The sharks make dozens of passes through the shadow of the SeaDog and we all get some great closeup views.

We finally return to the AquaCat for the days 2nd dive at Goombay Reef. Both kids stay topside for this one, so Linda and I explore around on our own.

Our bottom time is relatively short owing to the depth and nearly square profile of this dive. No problem, because this reef doesnt seem to be thriving very well. There are lots of dead patches and not much fish life. We decide that it is a comparitively crappy dive, acknowledging of course that our reference is fairly lofty by this time.

The best part of the dive is the close approach of a reef shark during my safety stop. The shark comes directly at me and only vectors away at the last moment. Got some good video of that, but I cant imagine that I held the camera very steady!
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Dive
Info:
Fins:
Mares Avanti Quattro
Computer:
U S Divers Matrix
Tank:
80 ft3 Al
BCD:
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
BOAT
Body of Water:
Caribbean Sea
Mask:
U S Divers
Protection:
3mm full wetsuit
Regulator:
SeaQuest
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
Weight:
10 lb
Water Type:
Salt
Video Equipment:
Sony DCR-TRV11 digital handycam in Top Dawg housing