November 18th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

Our last dive, just off Great Dog Island was very fun. The site consists of a large area of coral gardens and the wingless wreck of an airplane a short distance away. Pre-dive, we did reconnaissance via snorkel and dinghy to locate the wreck itself, and did our diving from the dinghy. The current was strong, particularly in the open, sandy area where the wreck is located. Luckily, the wreck itself provided shelter from the current once we arrived there.

For some reason, I find diving plane wrecks to be particularly enjoyable, and this was no exception. Approaching the wreck, we were greeted by some of the residents, several huge horse-eye jacks. The remains of the plane were covered in sponges and other growth, with a variety of tropical fish in and around the wreck. We spent most of the dive there, exploring and taking photographs, although we did make a quick excursion to the nearby reef. When it came time to go, we flew along with the current back to the dinghy’s anchor line.

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November 18th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

The dive site Black Forest, just off the western end of Peter Island, consists of a shallow reef leading to a wall about thirty-five feet tall. The site is named after the shallow water black coral that can be seen along the wall. At one end, we were able to see a field of garden eels, rising out of their burrows like a strange kind of grass that disappears when you approach it. There were also many beautiful clusters of blue bell tunicates, which look like very simple animals, but are in fact primitive chordates, that apparently have a tadpole-like appearance as larvae.

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November 16th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

The Indians are a series of rocks jutting out of the water near Norman Island. A long time ago, someone thought they looked like tee-pees, hence the name. For us, it was another opportunity to go diving, so we moored up the boat and Stephen, Olivia, Madam J and I jumped in to take a look.

The dive involved circumnavigating three of the four rocks, passing between the last two. The underwater landscape was lovely, rich with corals and sponges. After poking around a bit, we located a small cave that was full of glassy sweepers. Just outside the cave we saw an Atlantic spadefish, a little bit unusual to see, but even stranger to see alone. I also caught a glimpse of a very small reef shark.

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November 15th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

Located just off the shore of Great Dog Island, a dive site called The Chimney was our first dive of the trip. The site includes a series of canyons and an allegedly awesome arch that we didn’t actually see due to the current. I was having some strobe issues with my underwater camera rig, so a bunch of the photos from this site are presented in black and white rather than overwhelming blue. Highlights included lovely canyon walls, schools of creole wrasses and some interesting underwater topography. It was exciting to dive on our own on an unfamiliar site and a taste of great things to come. As chance would have it, dives at Great Dog Island bookended our trip. Due to the swell, we returned to the south side of the island on our last day to dive at Coral Gardens.

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July 22nd, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

We hadn’t been diving on St. Martin for a while, so when founding team members Zackeau and Dr. Maillot arrived on the island for a visit, we headed out for a couple dives together. The sea was a bit rough, but we were able to make it out to the wreck of the Carib Cargo, a container ship we had not visited for several years.

Recently, the wreck was damaged at least twice, possibly by an anchor or tow-line, and the cabin of the ship was torn off and deposited a good distance away from the wreck. This was really a shame, and seems totally avoidable since the wreck itself was marked by a mooring. As it turned out, though, the wreck was really a secondary attraction because a dolphin spent most of the dive following us around and showing off how much better it was at swimming than we are. With the fisheye lens on my camera, I wasn’t likely to get any good photos of it unless it got really close, so I opted to just enjoy the rare opportunity to watch it.

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December 13th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

The Porpoise is a shipwreck on the Dutch side of the island. It’s an artificial wreck that was sunk for diving and it sits on a sandy bottom at about 90 feet deep. There are often large southern stingrays there, although on this dive we only saw a few small ones. It used to sit upright, but after hurricane Omar it has been leaning to the side. As you can hopefully see, it’s one of the prettiest wrecks on Saint Martin.

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November 4th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Before we went to Saba, we did a couple last dives in St. Martin before the shop closed for vacation. (Last meaning last until the shop opens again, of course!) We dove a couple local sites and I brought along the camera with 85mm macro lens.

Visibility wasn’t superb, but I did get a few photos of fish, including various blennies and a jawfish.

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As for invertebrates, there were arthropods, mollusks, cnidarians and annelids.

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I also took a few close-ups of various things in a more abstract fashion.

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November 2nd, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

On our last day of diving, I did a couple things differently. Our first dive was a pinnacle we hadn’t done yet, and I’ll have to check Jenn’s dive log for the name. On this dive, I didn’t bring my camera, which was really nice after diving with a bulky camera for every dive of the trip so far.

On our next two dives, I had my macro lens, so finally there are a few portraits of fish and other invertebrates. The second dive was Man o’ War Shoals, which was the only exact repeat I did on the trip, but it’s a wonderful site. Highlights for me included a golden coney and a white and red nudibranch that Kelly spotted.

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On our last dive, we jumped in a the shallow mooring at Tent Reef and the long dive time gave us the chance to see many wonderful things. Highlights for me included large patches of garden eels, a half-dozen lettuce sea slugs and a basket star curled up on a soft coral.

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October 30th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Tent Reef is another gorgeous dive site near the harbor. There are actually three moorings at various depths. One thing that is surprising about Saba is how close the dive sites are to the shore, which is due to the steep slope of the island both above and below the water line. The site features lots of overhangs and swim-throughs, as well as sandy patches with loads of garden eels.

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October 29th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Man o’ War Shoals is a dive site right beside Diamond Rock, which is sort of a mini-pinnacle. From a sandy bottom at about 25 meters, a pair of peaks rise to about five meters below the surface. It’s another gorgeous dive site, and since it’s relatively shallow, we had plenty of time to explore its sponge and coral encrusted slopes. Once again, my photos mostly showcase the beautiful landscape, but you can also seen that there are tons of fish, including lots of brown chromis.

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