Thursday, May 22, 2008

Boat Dive at Wing Beach Arch

The joys of boat diving! Here I am on the side of the boat, yeah, that's me with the bunny ears, thanks to Mark Robertson, and Brad Derksen is on the far right. We had just finished diving Spotlight up on the Bonzai cliff line, and were heading down for Wing Beach. We decided to do a drift dive, to drop down into the crevasse at Wing Beach and then swim down to the Wing Beach Arch, the current was perfect for it that day.This is loooking down on the crevasse at Wing Beach after we rolled off the boat. It's pretty cool looking as it is this long crack in the ocean floor. The top of it is in about 30' of water and the bottom of it is about 85' where it comes out on the underwater cliff line. There are usually some big lionfish hanging out in the bottom of it, but they must have all had the day off.I was down in the crevasse as I took this shot of Kelli hovering above the top of the crevasse, looking down at me and taking a picture. I love the silhouette effect with the sun shining through the water. Visibility was great as usual at Wing Beach and the water seemed to be crystal clear.This is looking back through the crevasse, you can see divers descending into it. It's like this long underwater canyon carved right out of the rocks. It has a bunch of holes in the walls, with sea fans that dance back and forth with the current. You truly feel like you're on another planet when you're in there looking around.After exiting the crevasse to the right, the ocean floor starts to come up a little bit before forming another underwater cliff line and dropping off to well over 200'. Here you see Jeff Turbitt and Mark Robertson cruising over the bottom. Mark is much like me, always on the lookout for the next great picture.I watched this little fish go darting into this hole, leaving the back half of him and his tail exposed. I couldn't resist, I reached down and petted his tail, which he didn't seem real excited about. All the sudden he started making this loud sound over and over and over. I imagine it's what a rapidly beating heart sounds like through a stethoscope. Of course I had to show Kelli and make her pet his tail too.Here you see Kelli up above the entrance to the Wing Beach Arch. It is a little cut back into the side of the underwater cliff line, where the rock is hollowed out and has a very cool large swimthrough, forming an arch. The inside of it is covered in lace coral, and has tons of marine life covering it, everything from crinoids to nudibranchs. I was down in the covered section of the arch taking a picture of these divers who were also near the opening to the arch. You can see Mark Robertson in the background taking pictures of us in the Arch. It was truly a very cool spot to explore and check out.This crinoid, or feather star was hanging from the ceiling inside the Arch. You can see a couple divers in the background as they head out of the opening to the Arch. I thought the colors and shadows in this picture made it very cool and unique.This is what the ceiling and the walls of the Arch looked like, they were covered with the lace coral fans and the purple lace coral. It gave it a very exotic look, and if you looked really hard, you could find the occasional nudibranchs in it.This fish was just sitting there begging to have his picture taken, so how could I resist? It was truly an awesome dive, and the $45 per person charge for the boat seemed like a deal for the 2 dives. There was no dive guide, so we didn't have to worry about following someone else or following their dive agenda, we were just able to go down and enjoy ourselves and take our pictures.This was a bit of a sad site, looking up at the boat realizing that the dive is over and you have to go back. I'm just never ready for the dive to be over, and one of these days I'm sure that my gills will be fully developed enough that I won't have to go back up. One can always dream...