Many people agree that it was a tough year, 2016. As it is coming to an end, looking back to this years dives is the best way to soothe myself and motivate me for the upcoming year.
Apart from all the politics and deaths going on, it was also disappointing year for me because I just felt I couldn’t get enough diving (not sure if it is ever enough). Over the summer, due to illness, conference, moving, bad weather I missed many weekends. I see September/October as the best time for diving around here but I always go for a vacation, which takes away a few weekends of diving in New England. Overall, in New England, Florida and Costa Rica I did total of 50 dives this year, pathetic, huh? But, you know, quality over quantity, right? I had few but awesome dives!
This year I upgraded my camera set up to Canon G16 with a better housing (Fantasea) which allowed me to access all the settings in the camera. Canon brand housing, which I had in my previous setup, does not let you go all manual. Later in the season, when I was in Florida, I couldn’t resist to get a macro filter for my set up to get even closer to the tiny stuff. It just feels like I just can’t get a close enough look at the marine life :). I also got a fish eyes lens, but could not fully utilize that, yet. But in terms of taking photos it was fun and adventurous year.
Here are some highlights with Best of 2016 photos. The “Best”ness is basically due to how much adrenaline it makes me secrete when I see them. It maybe because it was a very exciting moment when I took the photo, or I was just impressed by the photo I took (Most of the time I am impressed when I have a good focus :P). It is completely subjective to my view of aesthetics and my experiences.
I really feel I couldn’t get enough of New England diving this year. I had to waste too many weekends! But the amount I got to see was amazing. I have been diving here for 4 years and this year was the most variety I saw around here. This year I saw many creatures which were first sighting for me. To start with, in our winter dives I added five new nudis to my “repertoire” : A. papillosa, F. bostoniensis, C. gymnota, E. exigus, O. ascidicola. As the summer warmed up the land and finally the water, more fish started to join our dives. For the first time I saw a big ass lump fish and a goose fish. These and searobin were in much higher numbers compared to earlier years, that many divers reported seeing multiple in one dive. This year I also saw many striped sea bass, almost in every dive at shallow ends. This was surprising to me because last year I have seen none!
We also did very few night dives. My favorite night dives are in Fort Wetherill, due to abundance of life and possibility of seeing cute colorful visitors from south. While we had a few great night dives with attacks of bazillion squid left and right, general diving in Fort Wetherill was a little lame this year. In contrast to Cape Ann area, I happened to see much less variety and amount of fish; even the tropicals were very limited. Also the visibility of the cove seemed to be a little worse than last year. But we had at least one unforgettable dive with all the squid. There were hundreds! no thousands!
It was definitely quality over quantity kind of year for me in New England. I hope next year it will be both quality AND quantity. Because it is scientifically proven that as one spends time under water the happiness index increases exponentially.
Florida on my birthday is a tradition now. Every year since I got certified I spent my birthday in Florida. A week of diving, what more a person can ask for? This year we continued the tradition. Actually it was a common celebration, as Bert’s birthday is only a week apart from mine. Last year we did a few dives in Blue Heron Bridge (BHB), and it was not enough. And we said we have to have a week of diving at BHB. And this year that was the plan. The weather and water conditions were perfect. We did total of 10 dives there, including early morning dives and night dives, hours adding up to more than a day :). I also had a record time underwater, 3 hours and 15 mins! We saw so much. Every single dive is full of surprises there! I can’t even put into words how much I love that dive site. Tiny little area, full of all kinds of creatures, from sharks to tiny nudibranchs.
There diving is a feast and later going over your photos is another feast. Whenever I feel bored or down or feel like diving but I can’t, I just go over those photos. I hope one day I move to Florida and get to dive there after work. That’s the dream.
That was my trip in September. My family was visiting and they have been around in the area, not really interested in history of Boston so why not go somewhere else? I got my sister and friend motivated into diving just in time, they both got certified, got advanced and had some experience before coming here so that we could get some diving in Costa Rica. We planned 3 days of diving in Playa del Coco. I don’t think Costa Rica is a place you would go for diving but good place to include diving in your travel. Playa del Coco is on the pacific side of the country, totally new waters to dive for me, with possibility of seeing different creatures! And we did! My most wanted creature was harlequin shrimp, and our dive master could show us a pair! That was awesome! And we saw seahorse and many bull sharks along with bazillion other fish, many of which are new to me.
The waters were not crystal clear as you would see in Caribbean waters, but that means a lot of nutrients, and LOTS OF fish. Especially during our last dive in Bat Islands we were sure that we were about to loose our minds, it was crazy amount of fish. Shoals, no, walls of fish left, right, bottom, up. Did I say crazy amount of fish? Just amazing! Again, I am short of words to describe the life underwater. Maybe the photos will help?
I am actually grateful that I could dive the amount I could this year, never take anything for granted! I just hope I get to dive more often, in variety of places and see variety of creatures! Happy 2017!