April 23rd – Roca Redonda
Did I say small? Roca Redonda is real tall, but real tiny! As Frederico observed, “a small rock in a big water”. Can I spell scary? Frederico also astutely commented to me, “I have dive every site in islands. But HERE I am always especially careful.”
Where the current hits the point of the island, it sweeps to each side at a swift 3-4 knots. If that weren’t enough with which to contend, there’s a surge that whips in and out at a perpendicular to the current and it is a vertical 5-10 feet.
Obviously, we got off the surface as fast as possible! I entered with no air in my BC, as I have learned to do nearly every dive in these islands. Went quickly to 30 feet, found a rock to hold onto, which promptly broke off and I went ass-over-teakettle with the current. Managed to grab another barnacle encrusted rock at 35 feet and looked down current for Mike. The force of the current pulled my mask from my face. I was forced to grab for my mask and lost my hold again. By the time I cleared my mask, I was being tossed around by surge and current again. Got Mike’s attention and signaled that I was aborting the dive. Only 3 minutes had passed.
The dinghy drivers, Homer and Rufino, are stupendous. They were there in a flash. They had me and my equipment in the boat and were assured of my well-being. Mike and I do not regret missing this one! Some of the very experienced divers were surfacing ¼ mile out. And it was 62 degrees down there at 30 feet!
Dive masters and divers opted to not repeat a dive here, with today’s conditions. We had lunch and napped while our captain transported us to Cabo Marshall on the east side of Isabella.
This was a nice drift dive with very little current and no surge. Saw every kind of fish imaginable, tons of turtles and a huge school of barracuda. Very pleasant. After the dive we made a quick visit to a colony of flightless cormorants.
During the trip to Isabella we sighted 3 whales breaching and as we left, a very large school of small mantalike rays called mobulas surfaced to feed and bid us goodbye.
Tomorrow we dive twice in the morning. At 0700 we dive at Gordon Rock, followed by breakfast, then a land walk on Plaza Island to see the land iguanas. A shallow dive with the sea lions (sea lion “soup” promised) follows to conclude our sea sojourn. We’ll tour the Darwin research center in the afternoon.