Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Diving, Stars Off of Sangyang Island, Saturday, 02 July 2011 9:25pm

Our first full day of diving. We started off with two dives at a site called Hot Rocks, where volcanic vents give off streams of bubbles and upwellings of hot water. There were huge schools of fish, beautiful corals, and some neat animals. My favorite of the fishes were some purple antinaes with yellow dorsal fins with a single long spine, though there were some cool trumpetfish as well, and an industrial boxfish with gray and yellow markings. We saw a variety of nudibranchs, including a black, white, and yellow specimen that I think I've seen on the cover of a book on nudibranchs; one that looked like it was made up of worms; and a big one, probably four inches long. I also really liked the bushy feather stars, which are a kind of sea star that looks like a cluster of feathers suitable for a hat ornament. We did another dive nearby in an area of black volcanic sand.

To round things out, we did a night dive. This was the trickiest dive I've done to date, I think. The first dives had us diving in currents, which is a fairly new skill for me. This last dive added darkness to the currents. Often the best way to look at something is to swim into the current as you move closer. Any other direction makes it very hard to hold still enough for precise control. The problem with that at night is that when you want to continue, you have to either turn all the way around again or to let yourself drift feet-first into the darkness. Often there is someone else trying to move in to look at whatever it was, making turning an even trickier prospect, since it's hard for you to see any of them except for the hand holding their dive light.

We saw a lot of excellent stuff on the dive, though: a tiny octopus, a tiny squid, a prawn with antennae twice as long as its body, a stingray, a small scorpionfish, and some decorator crabs.

Even the ride back from the dive site to the main boat was great. The Milky Way was very visible in the sky, and our wake churned up phosphorescent creatures, so the water around us glowed as well.