the lone star pirates were here this last weekend, a grand slam bunch of ’em– 20+ divers for the two main days. originally we had planned on using two boats, but at the last moment (literally– the anita boat had already sailed and had to be called back) the rental boat had a large scale glitch with the transmission and so couldn’t get out of the marina. thank goodness that, for a homogenous group like this, the anita can handle it all. i must also doff my do-rag in the general direction of this group, whose patience with the process was about as good as could be hoped for– THANKS, YOU ALL!!

it turned into pretty easy diving though– we split them up into groups and did things separately, so as to give some better service. i went out with my friend roger (roe-hair as they pronounce it here) to back me up and we had a gas– plenty of sharkage out there, lots of turtles, and the currents were pretty good. even when they were strong, as in the last day, it was at least in line with the reefs. that day we dropped on dalilah, but we jumped close to the wall, at the deeper part of the reef, and found two nice little sharks in there. after this short bit of reef we came inside and dove dalilah proper– plenty of turtles and dog-toothed snappers, enormous groupers, flamingo tongues, lobsters, another shark. the current whipped us along though, and i had to keep us heading to one side so as to maintain the reef. in the end we did dalilah the deep part, then all the way through dalilah, crossed over some hills and ended up doing all of paso de cedral as well– not bad at all.

i think we had maybe a dozen for the night tank, or nocturno as we call it– a very productive tank it was too, once we got everyone together and on the same page. we saw a bunch of crabs and lobsters out there, some big ‘uns as well. small rays and even a sting ray.

my personal treasure for this evening was a smaller creature though– after poring through my “reef creatures” book i finally happened upon the photo of the ‘measled cowrie’– that was it!! of course, we see plenty of cowries out there, but this one had its’ mantle almost totally out of its’ shell, much in the manner of a flamingo tongue, and the mantle was fringed with tiny elongated “buds”– cilia if you will, and they were being used for locomotion of the creature. only a thin line of the shell itself was showing, looking a little deeper in color than the one in the picture i have, but those cilia were pretty much precisely what i see in the photo. great stuff!!

and then of course there were the octopus– octopi– think we saw maybe four or five of them, moving along and trying to hide out from our intense interest, changing colors or flattening out and assuming the texture of the corals around them. it was all so good that we extended the dive to 70+ minutes, coming up through all the bubbles to finally surface in the soft night air– time for refreshment!!

and thanks again, all you lone starred pirates– see you soon

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