We made it out with Dixie Divers to the United Caribbean and the Honeycomb Reef again. At first we were disappointed as we had dove this wreck before, but when we arrived at the planned dive site of the Sea Emperor, there was another boat tied up and we had a big group (28!) and needed our space. When we made our way down however, we realized that we were actually on the bow of the ship; our last dive was on the stern. Since the vessel had actually broken in half and separated with the storms, we had not explored this part of the wreck before and it was like a new site, and a new treat!
We had just gotten our equipment serviced (more on that later) so this was kind of a tryout dive at the same time, in order to ensure all was in good shape before our upcoming trip to the Cayman Islands where we plan to dive 5 days in a row, which will be a new experience for us. I guess we don’t HAVE to dive every day, but we are staying at a dive resort with the motto: “roll out of bed onto the dive boat” and the dive boat is basically going to be 100 ft from our door so it will be hard to resist.
The visibility was much better than the last time at the wreck and we estimated 40-50 ft. Even at a 70 ft depth, the colors were vivid on the coral encrusted hull of the United Caribbean on this clear day. We didn’t see our friend the Goliath Grouper, but did see a lot of small reef fish, some sand divers and a lionfish. We were using Nitrox again (also our plan when diving multiple days in a row) allowing for more bottom time to explore, We’re getting used to it and finding that we’re less tired after a couple of dives than we used to be using just air. Then again, we are also getting more into shape and getting more at ease with our diving.
Honeycomb Reef, our second site was also beautiful with great visibility and with an abundance of sea life. We got some good pictures of a squirrelfish, a scorpion fish that showed us his colorful fins in warning, and a really nice scrawled filefish that shone in our lights.
This time we took the dive flag with just the two of us and this allowed us to enjoy the dive at our own pace compared to last time where we joined up with a larger group.
Back to the maintenance
While we are firm believers in the importance of safety, and quite honestly love Aqualung’s ‘free parts for life’ policy as long as you maintain your gear, I didn’t expect that after only a year and maybe 40 dives our regs or BC would be much the worse for wear. That said, when we looked at the bag of old parts returned to us we were surprised at the discolored and rusty metals that were in there. We are rigorous and thorough with our cleaning, take good care of our gear and yet, wow!
No doubt we will keep up the maintenance no matter what. Safety first (free parts for life is a bonus)!