Welcome to my Kosrae-Pohnpei blog - May 1 - May 20!

I hope you enjoy my blog about my solo trip to Kosrae and Pohnpei May 1st through May 20th.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Big animals on our dives today

Met Stamp (Captain), Ward (Dive Master) and Bernard (Deck Hand) at the front desk in preparation for diving with the Village this morning. Not sure why we need such a large crew with my being the only diver.  Drove down the hill and boarded the boat.   Headed out to our first dive spot - Manta Road.  This is a manta ray cleaning station so Ward and I geared up and headed down........

Dive Nineteen
Site: Manta Road

Dive Buddy: Ward
Other divers: n/a
Duration: 48 minutes
Max Depth: 73 feet
Visibility: 50 feet
Outside temp: 83.3 degrees F
Water temp: range from 83.1 - 91.8 degrees F (keep in mind this is my computer telling me this which can record little bits of water shortly after surfacing - the water temp is mostly towards the bottom range for most of the dive(s)

The viz was not good but I expected this given that it was a cleaning station inside the Pohnpei lagoon.  For those that don't know - a cleaning station is where large animals come to get cleaned by wrasse, remoras, etc.  Mantas are large animals with wing spans of nearly 10 feet wide!  We were lucky enough to see one manta swoop through and several small white tipped reef sharks settled on the bottom.  Also saw my first spotted eagle ray swooping past to our left - majestic! Not much else to be seen on this dive.  We had to abort early because Ward ran out of air as his regulator was leaking.

For our surface interval and lunch we went to Langer Island where the Japanese had a seaplane base during WWII.  It was actually really cool.  Stamp wanted a long surface interval as our dive profile would be deeper on the second dive so needed to rid our bodies of most nitrogen before heading down again.  There was a large cement pier running out into the water ending at a ramp that the seaplanes could run right up on.  Stamp led me on a tour through the jungle showing me several bomb craters from the US bombing this location during WWII.  He also showed me the collapsed hangar where the Japanese seaplanes were kept - pre-bombing.  Massive structure built into the side of the mountain. You can still plainly see the door on it's side and the track it once slid on.  There was also a plane engine lying on its side.  He then brought to me where a gun emplacement once stood with the swivel base and massive wheels jutting out (for when they transported the gun I guess).  A tall mangrove tree was growing right out of it so most of the iron was not visible.  Of course - I forgot my memory card for camera at the resort so was unable to snap photos but may have another surface interval there in future days so will be sure to snap some photos!  We then hopped on the boat and headed out for the next dive....

Dive Twenty
Site: Mwand Pass

Dive Buddy: Ward
Other divers: n/a
Duration: 36 minutes
Max Depth: 86 feet
Visibility: 100 feet
Outside temp: 90.3 degrees F
Water temp: range from 83.1 - 90.3 degrees F

This started out to be a fabulous dive.  Saw a manta ray swooping down below before my attention was brought to a spotted eagle ray climbing the wall to my left.  Spotted a large grey shark - probably 6 feet long?  I then was treated to a massive manta swooping towards me.  I sunk down to about 80 feet and he went right over my head - probably less than 5 feet away.  He had a remora stuck on the bottom of him.  AWESOME sight to behold.  This was a fairly heavy current dive so was simply watching depth and watching for large animals while flying along next to the reef.  Spotted another manta down below and then Ward gave me the shark signal and started to swim out into the blue so I followed.  I then saw many sharks on a "corner" of the reef. (I say "corner" because this apparently rivals Blue Corner in Palau - only to have a reef hook to stay!)  I started counting 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25......too many sharks to count!  There were white tips and large grey sharks.  BEAUTIFUL sight!!!!  I then turned around to head back to the reef only to be treated to another close encounter with a manta gliding right next to me - we made eye contact but went our separate ways - not my choice but his, lol.  We then hit some heavy current coming right at us so I wanted to turn around and let it take us but Ward was too far out in front to stop him.  I'm not sure what he was thinking as I really became tired swimming against the current with my split fins.  I went through 1300 pounds of air in about 6 minutes.  Not happy!  I had to abort the dive and was so tired out I could barely do my 15 foot safety stop.  I climbed on the boat huffing and puffing and not a happy diver as I was really enjoying swimming with the large stuff.  Oh well - I expressed my displeasure to the owner when I returned to the resort so will work out payment (or lack thereof) for today's diving later.

I then took a nice nap after doing some reading and am now blogging, drinking ice-cold San Miguel and heading to dinner soon.  I will try and post more pictures later.

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