April 22nd – Darwin Island
Awoke to a cloudy, dreary day at Darwin Island. Have been traveling since 0300 from Wolf. Darwin is another island, like Wolf, that is inhabited solely by birds. There are trees and greenery visible on the flat top, and the sides rise vertically 350 feet from the sea. On the east side of the island is a large rock arch which is stunningly picturesque with its converging currents and pounding surf. This is where we dove today! I learned quickly not to fight the current or surge – just hang on a rock when the surge goes in and swim with it when it goes back out!
At the beginning of the dive I found a turtle sleeping under a rock. I got him out, held onto his shell and guided him before me to Mike, who looked singularly unimpressed. So I took him over to David, who was VERY impressed because the turtle knocked his mask off with his flipper as he swam! You can believe I heard about it when I got back on the boat.
Mike was worried about being low on air in the waves on the surface, so he went up early and I stayed down with Frederico for quite a bit longer. We found a huge moray – as big around as my body! Very pretty dive, but difficult. We looked like flags in the wind hanging onto the rocks in the current.
Mike was right, the surface was really rough. I was down to 300 psi so used my snorkel….bad idea! Swallowed some sea water. My BC didn’t hold me above the surface enough with 20 lbs of lead, so I had to fin enough to tire me. We could see both dinghies; one was already full of folks and ready to head back to the Aggressor. The other was fairly near but the engine wouldn’t start.
The loaded dinghy delivered its load and returned for me but it took awhile and I was pretty tired and starting to feel ill. By the time I got on the dinghy and out of my mask and fins, I was sho-nuff sick, but felt better as soon as I got back to the boat for a hot shower and nap. Mike and I both skipped the next dive and missed little but cold current.
We took the afternoon dive along the shore line of Darwin, seeking calmer water. A very peaceful dive, saw spiny lobsters and mushroom coral.
Back aboard, we showered and gathered to say goodbye to Darwin. A large school of dolphin escorted us briefly.
Still no hammerheads except one that Dicksie saw from the bridge as she sat out the last dive.
Mike and I sat on the stern deck and watched the sun disappear into the ocean from a cloudless sky – beautiful. There is a story that if you watch very carefully on a clear evening, just as the sun drops below the surface of the sea, you will see a green “flash” of illumination across the sky.
Tonight we will travel all night to arrive at Roca Rodonda for diving tomorrow. It is a small pinprick on the map to the north of Isabella.