Today Sirena headed out to do a couple of reef dives at 10:00am with divers from all over the country. Under clear skies, we slowly motored our way out the clear-blue inlet water and headed south. Seas were 2-3ft. with the occasional 4ft rolling through. With Sirena’s Christmas tree ladders, getting on the boat wasn’t going to be an issue with these seas. The water was an inviting dark, cobalt blue color. A sign that we could expect good visibility underwater.

Capt. Walker stopped the boat near Anchoring Spot, a part of Double Ledges reef. The group descended to the reef and slowly traveled north in a very minuscule north current. Visibility was in the 50-60ft. range.

Staying on the top of this double ledge reef system, we swam through huge schools of tropical fish. We explored the 10ft. tall ledge adorned in colorful sponges and corals. A large green moray seemed curious of the bubble-making creatures drifting over his home.

A couple of divers at the front of the group began to rattle their noise maker. Looking around the area, I had a good idea what was exciting them so much. A large goliath grouper, measuring in at around 3-4ft., has been roaming around this part of the reef for the last couple of days. This time around the grouper seemed a lot less skittish of the divers.

I had noticed a couple of days ago that the poor goliath grouper had a fishing lure caught on its second dorsal fin. With a couple of the divers distracting the grouper, I was able to swim above him without him noticing. Quickly and carefully, I pulled the hook from its fin. The grouper let out a loud bark, stirred the sand, and quickly turned around to look at me face-to-face. In my hand was the lure, hook and all. 

The whole act felt a little like removing a lose tooth on a child. It is more the unexpected action than startles the individual than any apparent pain. I was hoping the look on the grouper’s face was one of thankfulness as I’m sure the bright yellow sparkly lure on its rear fin was sure to make him the butt of all jokes when he hung out with his friends.

After our surface interval, we were giant striding back into the water at Midreef. This site is home to numerous resident hawksbill turtles. Sure enough, as we cruised down the reef one of the local hawksbill turtles swam by. A loggerhead also went racing by at mach 3! 

For me, one of the highlights for Midreef are the small areas of reef along the way that appear to congregate every type of tropical fish. At these sites I can stay put in one area and let the conveyor belt of tropical fish swim around my camera lens. Now if only I can get them all to look at the camera at the same time!

Overall, today’s dives were terrific. Swimming in the warm 76 degree water with 50+ ft. of visibility is a treat. Knowing that I helped the goliath grouper made me feel extra good. Best of all, we got the opportunity to share this wonderful adventure with our guest William Archer who was celebrating his birthday. Happy Birthday, Will! I hope all your birthday wishes come true… If your wish is to see a whale shark giving birth, I hope I am there to celebrate it with you!  :)

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