Hey, I learned a trick!
I figured out how to get all that blue out of my photos! I went back and did it for the last crop, but I’m not going to sub them into that post unless someone really cares. I will assume you do not. :) (BTW, those are french angelfish, another species with an interesting juvenile phase.)
The dive that tonight’s entire batch of photos comes from was a carpet reef called ‘Tortugas,’ known for these giant turtles (the little yellow wrasses are probably 4-6″), of which we only saw a couple. I only photographed one, which is why you’re getting turtle butt:
Big ol’ delicious-looking mystery fish, at least 2.5′ and 60 lbs or more. Mark was pretending to spear him and his friends as we drifted by:
Pair of triggerfish. Triggerfish are neat because they don’t look like much but they are one of the few fish you can buy to take on a mantis shrimp, which will otherwise happily eat everything in your saltwater aquarium:
Finally, the most exciting part of the dive: the bull shark that we saw at the very end! Almost every diver hopes to see a shark, but it’s rare to just happen across one on a reef — we got about 5′ from a reef shark in the Caymans, which was lucky. They’re really not interested in divers and generally prefer to stay away. Bull sharks congregate in Playa when the water is cold, but move on when it starts to get warm in March/April. Many divers come to Playa specifically to see them, so when some fisherman massacred a bunch of them this season to sell the fins, the remaining sharks fled and Playa lost out on tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue. A few stragglers came back at the end of the season, but the consensus among the dive industry folks was that they were gone for the year. Our divemaster was thrilled to see this one, which we guessed was around 400 lbs and 6-7′, and speculated that it was probably the last she’d see for the season:
This was a drift dive, so the boat captain was supposed to watch for our inflatable marker to surface and motor over while we did our safety stop, but when we surfaced he was nowhere to be seen and we had to wait for 15 minutes. I got so seasick bobbing around in the 4-5′ waves that once we got into the boat I couldn’t even put my fins back on to do the next dive. Boo. That’s the last time I skip my motion sickness patch. I have been on plenty of boats without getting sick, but I started wearing the patch just in case and now apparently I need it!