By Ian Le Clair
Undergrad and Scienfic Diver, University of Connecticut
Today’s afternoon dive went very well even though we did not see much predation occurring. We did however see some after effects of predation on spade fish which was apparent on their bodies as pieces were missing. The dive lasted approximately 62 minutes with a maximum depth of 66ft.
Cobia and ramora. (Photo: Ian Le Clair)
We spent at least half of the time in the mid-water observing spade fish and blue runner being driven to the bottom by some unseen predator. During my time at the bottom I also heard squeaks from some dolphins that were nearby which was very neat. The diversity at the bottom of the reef was quite astounding as well, seeing different types of sea bass, grouper, and snapper among many other species of fish.
School of Atlantic spadefish swimming. (Photo: Ian Le Clair)
The ascent was incredible with a large school of spade fish and blue runner. The spade fish were some of the largest I had seen on this cruise so far. As we were following them they would turn to face us and start swimming toward us. At one point we were surrounded by an impenetrable wall of spade fish swimming circles around us.
Beautiful sunset. (Photo: Ian Le Clair)
As we finished our safety stop and surfaced we were told by the coxswain that he seen a large shark while we were down at the bottom which led us to believe the shark might have been the one sending all the schools down toward us. We hoisted our gear and ourselves onto the dive boat and headed back to the Nancy Foster. Another great diving day at Grays Reef behind us.