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Posted by scottfiji on July 23, 2006 at 23:12:37:

Penny and I attended the great fish count at Marineland today. Lots of divers showed up, and lots of fish were counted. We entered at the point, surf was low, and tide was high, so entry was not that bad. Sorry we missed you phil! It was nice seeing Merry.

I had penny put her fins on and enter the surf zone first, after she got in the water one of her fins came off and started floating away, I just dove in (holding my fins and camera), and retrieved the fin. Oh cr*p, I had dropped my camera! Luckily it was negative, I looked down in the clear water and saw it on the bottom. Within 15 seconds I put my fins on, let the air out of my bcd and retrieved my camera/strobe. I was so happy to get my camera back. Let the dive begin!

Vis was fairly good, over 25 feet in some places. we stayed deeper mostly, but saw a lot shallow too, including a large guitarfish swimming by close and a huge bat ray. This guitarfish swam faster than anything I've even seen in my life. 2 octos were found at depth, along with many nudis and fish. A strong current was blowing in the N/NW direction the entire dive. max depth 60ft.

Gopher Rockfish, he greeted us early in the dive

Rock Wrasse and 2 senoritas

A Huge ball of light bulb tunicates

Colorful sea fans at 55ft

Female sheephead

Tube Anemone

Cadlina limbaughorum next to a brittle star

Lots of black-eyed gobies out today, including lots of babies

Young Treefish

School of rubberlip-perch

Pile Perch

Treefish, still on the younger side

Before exiting the point, we surfaced to see where we were, then quickly descended. We almost landed on this large bat ray, who slowly took off into the distance.

We exited at the point without incident. The barbecue was fun, and many hot dogs were eaten. No one wanted my salmon burgers, oh well. I guess no one wanted to eat fish.

Bob and Lars

Steve, not-too-evil Jeff, the infamous John M., chris

Rev. Al and Rick

Don and Greg, quite cool in their sunglasses

To our surprise we were the only ones to do a second dive. We decided to try to 120 reef, but vis was poor and a strong current was blowing again, same direction (N/NW), making swimming back very difficult. What a workout! max depth 46ft.

This Heart Urchin was already dead, too bad

Sea Lemon Nudibranch

The two CO-Soles were in love. We followed them for a couple of minutes. They kept moving a few feet here, a few feet there, always together. They were so cute!

Wow, after those 2 dives we were tired. A few partyers were still having beers, we hung out for a little bit, and then said our goodbyes. A beautiful day at OML!

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