Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bubbles in the Grotto

For those of you who might recognize her underwater, this is Bev, or Bubbles. She wound up going on a dive with me as a result of her going on a dive with Greg. One of the main things you need to know about her and Greg is that they have matching cameras. Greg had to replace the camera he lost, that he got to replace the other camera he lost. And since he was ordering one anyway, Bev went ahead and had him order her the same one as well.

Now there are many stories that I could tell about this dive, and I might but not tonight. But the most interesting part of it was having Bev show us the pictures she took on the dive. I'm thinking she's going to be doing a new blog feature soon, kind of like Deece's where you have to identify something. Deece always just takes a little square of a bigger picture and you have to identify it. In Bev's case, she wouldn't need to take a square of anything, she could just go ahead and put the whole picture up there, and you'd still have a real contest trying to figure out what it was. Bev just has a different eye for pictures. Anyway, if you know Bev, you might want to ask her about her dive, and about her new underwater jewelry, accesorized wrist wear.

Well Bev, that's all I'm going to say for now. But again, no promises what tomorrow may bring.

What Happens When You Take Greg Diving

After the amazing dive I had with Mike Saturday morning, of course I had to call Greg and rub his nose in the fact that he missed one of the greatest dives of the year so far. I knew he would be extra bummed because he had his brand new underwater camera he was itching to use for the very first time. I take some kind of perverse pleasure that, sick I know. Anyway, Mike and I had decided that we had to do another Grotto dive that afternoon mainly because of all the nudibranchs that were out. So I told Greg we were heading to lunch at Oleai and then off to an afternoon dive if he wanted to come. It was with mixed emotions I did this, on the one hand I really didn't want the dive jinxed, and figured bringing Jonah (Greg) along might just do that, but on the other hand, I felt the chances of him losing the 3rd camera in a row were excellent, and I'd be right there to claim my ocean salvage rights.

So we all had a good lunch at Oleai, with only a minor amount of bragging about how awesome the morning dive was, and then went home to download our pictures and get fresh batteries. We all agreed we'd meet back up at the Grotto, either above or below the water, but we all knew we'd each other would be. Greg was kind of afraid to take his brand spanking new camera out, but I told him he wasn't allowed to come unless his camera came too. I'm not about to put up with the threat of a jinx without the possibility of getting a new camera out of the deal.
Needless to say I was quite relieved when I got in the water and sure enough, there on the rope rock, was one of the Halgerda guahan nudibranchs. There was indeed something magical about this day for the nudibranchs. Was it Nudi New Year? Was it their Fabulous Festival of Fertility? Or was one of them hosting a kegger party, and you know how quickly word gets around in somewhere as small and close knit as the Grotto community. I have to admit I'm very curious as to why they were all out on this specific day, I have never seen this phenomenon before, and knew that had to be some sort of reason for it.

But then as I went down to the little wall where a bunch of them were hanging out on the first dive, I didn't find a single one on the wall, nada. Now I was convinced the Greg curse was kicking in. I was almost ready to go start following him around waiting for the camera to come floating free, when I stumbled across the nudibranch equivalent of Motel 6.

These two were already involved in some sort of up close and personal activity. They might have tried claiming a Bill Clinton, saying they didn't have sex with each other, but I don't think it would have been anymore true in their case than it was in his. So these two were already getting it on, and there were two others fairly close by that seemed like they were headed each others direction as well. Nudibranchs don't exactly move quickly in most cases, so this is a time consuming process. By this time Mike had arrived and I saw his strobes underwater, so I motioned him over so he could get some good footage. While he was filming them, I went and looked around the area some more trying to spot other of this flambuoyant family of nudibranch. Sure enough, after some very close looking, I managed to find another 3 Halgerda guahan all within a 20 circle. But with Mike and Greg busy filming down there, I decided to go back up and check out the rope rock, besides natural lighting was much better up there.
When I got back up to the rope rock, there were 3 nudibranch out crawling around on the surface of it, one of them being this Halgerda malesso, if you read yesterdays entry you should be able to tell them apart now. So I sat up there happily snapping away. And the longer I stayed there, the more nudibranch's started coming out, there were eventually 7 of them all crawling around. And I actually got to watch one come out of his hiding spot, he spotted the female, or she spotted the male, not really sure how that works, and he went over and they got together. Yup, there was truly something magical about this day to the Halgerda guahan and malesso nudibranchs. If I don't have the largest collection of photographs of these two particular species in the world at this point, I've got to be pretty darn close to it.

While I was taking pictures of the nudibranchs on the rock, I was showing them to as many of the tourists that came through with cameras as I could. I figured they might like to have some pictures of the cute little critters too. Here is a picture of me taking a picture of Mike who is taking a picture of a Japanese tourist taking a picture of the nudibranch. Sometimes life is interesting under the sea, and you just never know what might make an interesting picture.

I still had about 700 pounds of air left in my tank, but I'd already been down over 2 hours anyway, and Mike and Greg were both waiting for me topside, so I went up. We talked about our adventures for a few minutes, then started heading home. I thought our adventures were over, but not quite.



As we were coming down that steep hill that leads up to Suicide Cliff, there was a girl standing next to her car on the side of the road. I didn't think anything of it and just kept on driving. Sir Galahad (Greg) was convinced she was a damsel in distress and needed to be rescued, so he had me turn around to see if she needed help. Sure enough, she was a Russian tourist who had a flat tire, it was on the opposite side so I couldn't see it, and she was wondering what she should do. We tried asking if there was a spare tire, but weren't sure whether she said no, there was no spare tire, or no, I have no clue what you two are saying. So we proceeded to get the jack from my truck and remove her tire so we could get it repaired and get her back on the road again. Right as we were finishing removing the tire, who should wander down the road but Mike. He decided to stop and see if the Russian tourist needed any protection from the two thugs who had stopped to help her. It was at this point that he decided to do what he does best, and took a picture of the 3 of us. I tried to stay out of the picture, but they all insisted I had to be in it for some strange reason.

So Greg and I then took off to get the tire repaired. It was at this point that he said, "hey I don't have any cash on me, can you pay the $3 to get the tire fixed?" That really came as no surprise, he never seems to have any cash on him. So we got to the tire repair shop, and the tire already had a tube in it, which had already been patched. The Chinese tire guy shook his head no, indicating he wouldn't patch it again. That meant we had to buy a new tube, the price jumped to $13. So it cost me $13 for Greg to play Sir Galahad and rescue the damsel in distress.

She was actually on her way to go swimming in the Grotto, and now since we were all hot and dirty from changing the tire, we went along. Fortunately for me I still had air left in my tank, so I got to do my 3rd Grotto dive of the day. Sure enough, there were still a couple nudibranchs partying on the rock when I went down. Therefore July 21st shall always officially be known as "Nudi Sex Day". And that my friends is what happens when you take Greg diving, don't say you haven't been warned!