An Outer Reef Morning

Today we hit clean water for a smooth ride all the way down south for dive in the blue. We were looking for clear blue water, depth and an opportunity to call in pelagics with Colin’s water bottle trick.

We set out on Eagle Ray as a 5-pack and all equally eager to ride the current. We started out at the southern most tip of the reef, Yap Caverns. We were strafing walls today and found ourselves in a corral head dodging pumping current up at Big Bend on our second tank.

When I roll in, I spend about 200 psi squaring away and setting up before I look around and see what I can shoot to tell this story. I dropped into the Cavern amphitheater and was immediately greeted by a curious white tip that came right up to my camera.

After dropping off the reef wall, Colin already had his bottle out and going. One thing that is different with this bottle trick is with the shark behavior.

You see sharks doing everything while diving Yap, getting cleaned, sleeping, chewing on tuna heads, pretty much everything sharks do, even hunting on night dives.

What’s different here is the sharks come darting out of the blue straight for the bottle, excited. Each dive started out with one or two sharks visible and after the bottle, 20+ of all ages/sizes. Grey reefs in schools with scattered white tips.

After the caverns wall, the reef slopes down and has a white sand bottom that’s at a couple hundred feet of depth.

On the way down the slope there are shark cleaning stations where you see 5 inch long cleaner wrasse wiggling in and out of shark gills and white tips or grey reefs orbiting a corral head with their mouths open in slow motion. This takes place at over 150 feet.

So far the bottle brought sharks out of the blue to the Cavern wall for us to watch.

The bottle trick doesn’t have stamina like 20 gallons of tuna heads frozen in a ball on a line.

After a brief shark behavior experiment, we rolled with the current from reef slope. A few things that passed our group were small dogtooth tuna, a hawksbill turtle, a proper barracuda and a lot of reef fish.

Our second dive we broke out the bottle after dropping down to about 80 feet and sure enough, a platoon of grey reefs came darting out of the bue and circled us up.

The second shark show today was sharks of all ages. Baby sharks accompanied this group. We had over 20 sharks flying up the reef slope investigating the action.

This dive started out with a driving current, we had reef flying by and once in a while I had to draw some air and tuck up to dodge some soft corrals.

Shooting pictures at 3-4 knotts is new to me, that takes a different stroke. We rode the current for a bit and it came to a stop, actually, it changed and went the other direction.

This diving offers two things; the big picture and pelagic life on one side, and reef creatures, little fish, soft corral and overhangs on the other.

Passing a carpet anemone with a pair of anemone fish, I spotted a striped cleaner shrimp poking out of his rock home. There’s something to see either direction you look on outer reef dives.

Still no silver tip or shark bigger than a diver to report, but we’re not done trying this bottle trick.

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