100th Dive at Half Moon Wall
|March 18, 2014|
After a lengthy surface interval that involved deserting our accompanying snorkelers on an island, we headed to Half Moon Wall. The site of my 100th dive!
Before beginning the dive, our dive masters asked us a simple question. Does anyone object to the killing of Lionfish during the dive?
Lionfish are a scourge on many reef ecosystems. They're not native to most parts of the world and so they have no natural predators on the reefs. They feed indiscriminately depleting local fish populations and no one objected to the dive masters hunting them. Here was the first kill.
Towards the end of the video you can see dive master "swimming" the Lionfish along. He's doing this to attract the grouper to eat it. The how is that other fish in the ecosystem can be made to develop a taste for the Lionfish and begin to hunt them naturally.
Here's the aftermath of the second spearing. This time he was "swimming" it along but the Barracuda literally wouldn't bite.
Hungry, a largish shark swam by, and made a quick meal of the Lionfish that was already motionless on the sandy floor. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to catch it live but I did snap a picture of the shark before his meal.
The most you can ever ask of a dive is to see something you've never seen before. My 100th dive delivered this in spades with a Lionfish hunt.
Apparently I was quite excited by the whole spectacle and I gulped through my air quite a bit more quickly than most of the others. Looking at my gauge I realized I was at less than 500 PSI, not good. By the time I got the dive master's attention to let him know that I was ascending I was at 300 PSI, worse.
A standard 3 minute safety stop was necessary but by the time I ascended to 15 ft I was down to 150 PSI, bad. Knowing I could pop to the surface if absolutely necessary I was determined to make the full 3 minutes.
I spent the last minute breathing on "zero" PSI. Those last few breaths before my computer cleared me to surface were a little thin. When I reached the sunshine, I didn't even have enough air to inflate my BCD and I had to manually inflate it.
The boat picked me up and all's well that ends well. I look back on it as a learning experience and an exercise in not panicking under duress.
Half Moon Wall
|Location: Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize, Belize|
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