TWARS (This Week at Reef Seekers) - March 20-27

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Ken Kurtis

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Location
Beverly Hills, CA
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5000 - ∞
Socorro tidbits, and more
(please scroll down for details)
Long day for me today (finally got home at 7PM) so this will be short . . .

GREAT TRIP OVERALL - We had our ups and downs (but mostly ups) on our Socorro trip and have literally just gotten off the boat this morning (Sunday and returned back to LA tonight. The absolute highlight for everyone - and everyone except one person saw this - was an incredible interaction with a wild dolphin who first seemed to play dead and then, once we all went down to see what was going on, sprang to life and spent the next ten minutes zipping around the group, visiting every diver multiple times, and giving us an amazing 10-minute encounter. (Of course, it happened at the END of and otherwise forgettable dive when everyone was low on air.) Below is my pride-and-joy picture from the encounter and below that how I described it in a FaceBook post (for those not on FB):​
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SOCORRO DIVE DAY 3 - UPDATE

Dolphins can be assholes.

Perhaps a further explanation is warranted.

Our first dive today was so-so at best. I skipped the second dive due to my back acting up and it seems like it was time well-spent on the boat for a number of reasons, not only for my back to "rest," but because the second dive was apparently no better than the first.
So when we started the third dive (which I was able to do with no problem), we were disappointed to find a fair amount of surge and current which we had to kick into the entire time. Let's put it this way: When the highlight of your dive is shooting goatfish working the sand, you know it's nothing to write home (or FaceBook) about.

I was down to around 800psi, others were low, and it was almost time to do our safety stop, if we could stay awake long enough from this boring dive. On top of that, Group 1 was coming from one direction and Group 2 from the other, so all divers were coincidentally in one general location.

Then we saw the dead dolphin, lying on his back on the bottom, around 90 feet deep. Except I thought I saw him slide into that position. So I thought about it for a moment and said to myself, "It's a dolphin. I'm going down."

With a close eye on my air and bottom time, I descended to him, still unsure if he was alive or not. But as I was looking at him . . . he slyly opened his eye and glanced my way to see if I was watching. Then he closed his eye again and played "dead." I swear I saw him smirk.

Did I mention that dolphins can be assholes?

Pretty soon, everyone was on the bottom to see what was what. And with that, the dolphin opened his eyes, turned upright, seemed to start laughing, and now started making his way around the group.

The next 10 minutes were some of the most magical ones I've had underwater. I'm convinced this dolphin, roughly 9 feet long, was somehow acclimated to humans. He slowly and methodically made his way around our group while those of us with cameras snapped away. He nibbled on fins, he nuzzled against divers, he went up to take a breath, and then came down to do it all again. Here's another way to look at it: For the first 35 minutes of the dive, I took 27 pictures. In the last 10 minutes with the dolphin, I took 59 more.

But that wasn't all.

How can you top this? Of our 12 divers in the water, 9 came up in my area into Zodiac 1. The other 3 were maybe 100 yards away and just before they were going to surface and get into Zodiac 2 . . . that's when two adult Humpback Whales with a calf in tow silently swam on by them underwater. Holy crap!!!! Talk about a topper.

And all because a dolphin thought he was being clever and would trick the humans. What a magical dive and phenomenal way to end today.


BUT WAIT!!! THERE'S MORE!!! - Adding to our embarrassment of underwater riches, we also had a nice Whale Shark encounter. Not for as long as the dolphin, but not bad. I estimate the length around 30 feet. Here's one of the shots. More will be forthcoming once I do the trip report and post the pix. BTW, note the remoras. I counted roughly 20 on his underside and another 13 clinging to his sides.​
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CHAMBER DAY/EVE 2022 - I'll resume pitching you about this next week.

And that'll do it for now. Have a great week and let's go diving soon!!!

- Ken​
 

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