Davis Kepple- Day 5


Today was probably my favorite day of the entire trip. We woke up to yet another cereal and muffin breakfast overlooking the ocean and the beautiful islands on the horizon. We began the day getting on the board with the plan of diving the famous RMS Rhone twice. We ended up diving in Wreck Alley instead because the current was too strong at the Rhone at that time. Wreck alley was a good backup place to dive. We learned about how it got there: the ships were intentionally sunk. It was cool seeing inside of the boat to see how many fish enjoyed living in the darkness. On this dive we saw some large Dog Snapper as well as some cool Spotted Grouper and an “Indigo Hammer” a fish we had never seen before. We surfaced relatively soon because it was a deep dive and the increased pressure requires shorter dives and longer surface intervals. We went back to check the Rhone site and the current was perfect for us to dive! We learned a brief history of the wreck. Basically the Rhone was an “unsinkable” vessel for rich people, similar to the Titanic. When the boat struck the rock, the cold water hit the boiler and caused a large explosion, splitting the bow and stern apart and separating them far apart. I was very excited for this dive and I was not disappointed! The boat was absolutely massive and covered with all sorts of corals of all colors. We began the dive swimming a 60m long “swim through” at the bow of the vessel. While in the pitch black area of the vessel, our dive master, Zoltan, flashed his flashlight on a gigantic lobster. We also saw a bait ball of fish so thick you could t see through it. The tiny fish switched forms around us as we swam through. Upon leaving the inside of the vessel we saw a Cubera Snapper about 4 feet long and thick. It was so big it even had a small shark sucker on it. While the rest of the group was watching that, I was able to get a very good look at a Porcupine Puffer Fish, about the size of a basketball maybe even bigger. Since I was looking at it alone, it stayed in the area for a while and did not swim away, allowing me to get a great look at it. As we moved along the dive, we came across a beautiful yellow seahorse with its tail wrapped around a branch. Sea Horses are extremely rare and we were lucky to be able to look at it for an extended period of time. As we were swimming away I somehow spotted a very well camouflaged Peacock Flounder. Flounders have always interested me and I was very lucky to spot it and get it on film. Next we headed to the stern section of the Rhone wreck. On the way we saw a 4ish foot Barracuda that came up right next to our group within arms reach. As we reached the stern we saw many cool things left behind for hundreds of years. We saw tile flooring, silverware, and a porthole called the “Lucky Porthole”. I of course rubbed it for good luck. Additionally we saw some large French and Queen Angelfish. After we surfaced we headed to Cooper Island for lunch. It was an amazing private island with only one resort on it. I had Conch Fritters for dinner and they were fantastic. After this we had some refreshing gelato and headed back to the boats to snorkel off of. It was a mainly sea grass area at first and we saw many barracuda, stingrays, and even a few tile fish. As we made our way to the rock shelves, we saw some cool reef fish including Queen Parrotfish, French Angelfish and a large Tarpon. We then took our final boat ride back to the resort. Tonight we are eating meat on the beach and going on a night snorkel. Hopefully we will see some Octopus!