Today we had two dives and a snorkel. The first dive was through “the Chimney”, a series of several crevices and caverns in the reef. This dive was the most interesting one we’ve gone through so far. While at the surface, many moon jellyfish were lurking about in the shallow range. After some serious thought, I finally had the courage to touch one; it felt basically like sturdy jell-o. My partner, Noah, got stung by one on his shoulder. While down under, we saw a large porcupine puffer fish, maybe 2-3 ft long, that was hiding under a ridge. We also observed dozens of other species, keeping track of them on an underwater notepad. The main part of the chimney was rather tight, and we had to sweat in order to make it through the hole. Furthermore, I feel that my breathing rate and buoyancy improved from yesterday. I was able to better control my hovering, and it had 200 more psi reserve than earlier.
On the second dive at Paul’s Grotto, we reached depths of 60 ft. On it, I was breathing more freely and had some fun with my swimming, like doing flips and such. Hence, I used a lot more air. We also saw some interesting predatory fish, like the barracuda. This was mostly a flat-surface dive with mostly typical fish.
After lunch, we went snorkeling. Beforehand, I bought an underwater case for my phone, and it worked fairly well on the snorkeling. The buttons were a little difficult to push, but the quality of photos and water resistance were good. Some photos are below. While snorkeling, I found that we were very buoyant. Without any effort, you would float at the surface. Underwater, we saw many different fish, like fairy basslets and sergeant majors. Afterwards, we had a small presentation on various invertebrates, like the nudie bronc. We also held and learned about different echinoderms, cnidarians, and mollusks, specifically the sea urchin, sea star, and others. Examples of things we learned were that their bodies are split up into five sections, sea stars can regenerate from one limb, they release reproductive tissue when stressed or under certain conditions, and that many shells are made from calcium. Today was definitely fun-packed and full of new, interesting experiences. I can’t wait for tomorrow!