10 April 2010

First Dives in DR

I used my first full day in the DR to go on two dives. And now I'm really worn out. They were pretty shallow dives (compared to what I'm used to), so they lasted a really long time. The first one was to a site called the Airport Wall, right in front of the airport where I arrived. I'm glad it wasn't my only dive of the day because I wasn't all that impressed with it. There was really dense soft coral cover, but hardly any hard corals. The visibility was quite poor, and the "wall" is more like a ledge compared with what we have on South Caicos.

This fish here seem to be more skittish than back in the TCI. The divemaster warned that we shouldn't expect to see any big fish because there are so many "big fishermen." That's probably the reason none of the little ones let you get close. That is, all except the Lionfish. And ohhh, the Lionfish! We thought the TCI had a problem. The Dominican Republic has a Lionfish problem. On the two dives I counted 26, give or take a couple. And that was even after another group had taken 11 off the same reef that morning.

Goldentail Moray

Christmas Tree Worms

The second dive, to a place called 3 Rocks, was much nicer. Visibility was quite good and there was a lot to see. It was super crowded though. It's mostly the same species of fish here as in South Caicos, but there are a few new ones and the composition is different. Spotted Drums, for example, are abundant and there are almost no Barracudas. And I saw a Yellow Stingray for the first time.

A Fireworm

Some Barracuda-like fish I haven't identified yet. They're smaller than Barracuda and Barracuda don't school like this.

Most of the client divers are frighteningly unskilled. They are worse than most I've seen. They have very poor buoyancy control, kick up silt, and somewhat destructive to the reef. There's visible damage from years of this going on too, such as broken corals and torn sea fans. It was also apparent that people have been feeding the fishes at 3 Rocks. Yellowtail Snappers and Sergeant Majors swim right up to you looking for food. One even nipped me on my knuckle while I was taking a picture.

The dive shop is closed on Sundays, so I'll have to wait until Monday for the next dive. The plan, I believe, is to go to the Zingara, a boat that was intentionally sunk for diving.

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