Last day of diving
Trip Start Mar 22, 2012
11Trip End Apr 01, 2012
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We are going to Pange South for our first dive. Pange seems to be this long blazingly white sand bar. We anchor fairly close to it and gear up and get into the water. I am still being careful of my ears and we descend slowly with a lot of equalization. The dive master points out a lionfish and I try to get closer to take a photo. While I am working on this lionfish, the dive master taps my arm and points. Right close to my arm is another lionfish
.We leave the lionfish and move on to some great nudibranches. There was one that we had been seeing a lot but next to him was this gorgeous “fuzzy” looking one. If you didn’t know what nudibranches are, you would have missed this one because he looked like a pointed blob. I’m trying to get close to take photos and my BCD pulled me over again and I kicked a piece of coral and broke it. The French woman tells me so when we get out of the water. I am mortified because I work so very hard on trying not to damage anything underwater and usually I am quite good at it but without my own gear, I wasn’t being careful enough. I’m sure she was thinking “yea, right, big horse of an American doesn’t care what she damages” but truly, I am usually the person telling others to be careful. I like it best when I can sink onto the sand and take photos without having to worry about coral
There is a mantis shrimp too that scurries out of his hole and underneath some coral but I can’t get close enough to get his photo. They are fast little buggers. Out of the water and back into the boat. We only move a little bit to get to the other side of the sandbar or to Pange North. We have our standard lunch of fried bits and fruit and then get ready for our second dive and yes, our last dive.I am going to be much more careful this time even if it means I miss a shot.
We are anchored on a sandy bit and we follow a rope over the bank of the underwater sand dune and down to the coral heads below. Pretty much the same kind of fish and corals and all but our guide was looking for a leaf fish which was a new one for us. He stopped us over some sand and showed us what looked like about 4 pieces of leaves just floating in the gentle back and forth of a light current. He had told us there were leaf fish there so we’re staring at this supposed debris when suddenly I do see that two of these pieces of trash actually have eyes. We have two leaf fish and two pieces of leaves. This was incredible mimicry as they looked exactly like leaf trash. We’ve never seen these before and this is why we dive. There are so many cool things under the surface! The dive master gave us the signal for a stone fish too. The signal mimics someone smoking! The only way this can be understood as a signal for a stone fish is thinking of someone smoking a reefer!
Looking at leaf fish on the internet, it appears that they are related to scorpion fish and look much more fish like than these two bits of debris looked
Finally we head back up the slope to the sandbar to go back to the boat. As we are coming up the slope, there is a fish that appears to be bobbing along head down and tail fin up. I’m trying to look at it and get a photo when my husband grabbed my leg. My BCD rolled me over like a turtle and I’m on my back on the sand slope and can hardly turn over again. Very turtle like indeed. It's also very hard to chuckle and laugh hard with a regulator in your mouth. I manage to right myself and we continue to the boat ladder and out of the water. Another very good dive.
Back at the shop, we gather up our gear and get ready to pay for our diving. Their credit card machine is not working so we have to go to the ATM and try to get enough cash to pay for 3 days of diving. There is a bank across the street with an ATM. There is also a line of 5 men at the machine. One is helping two of them to get their cash. It takes us a good 20 minutes before we get to the machine and we are only able to get the equivalent of about $100 out of the machine because the men had cleaned it out of cash. We do owe more than $100 for our diving. We are told there is another ATM up the street so we trudge up the street, (YES, the two venders were there and saw us and tried to sell us wooden Masai figures and CD’s). When we get to the next ATM machine, three people are sitting in front of the door with ice cream cones and tell us the machine is broken
Back to the shop and YES, the venders tried again to get us to buy as we walked past them just 10 minutes after we had walked in the other direction. Back to the dive shop and we pay what we can with the cash we have. She doesn’t seem to be worried that we won’t show up tomorrow to pay the rest. Now we have to haul all our gear back to the hotel. While the dive shop did rinse it, I always like to give it a better rinse so everything goes into the tub and gets rinsed again and then spread out all over our room to dry.
We spent a relaxing evening looking at the photos which were better this time and then over the Mercury’s for happy hour and some dinner. A very spirited game of football takes place most evenings on the beach, it seems. Sitting in the row of tables next to the beach might mean getting a bit wet and sandy if the ball hits the wall close to where you are sitting. The power goes off. Have forgotten to mention that this seems to be a nightly occurrence. Usually the power would go off sometime between 5 and 6 and be off for about ½ hour to an hour
After dinner, we had a nice ice cream sundae at Mercury’s again, with different flavor ice creams this time, and then back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep with wet equipment and clothes scattered about the room.