Posted by & filed under Personal, Photography, Scuba-diving. 2,267 views

Very rough seas prevented us from diving yesterday but today, we buckled up and set out for an adventure. With 3 to 6 foot swell and the occasional 8, I was barfing by the first dive interval. It was a rough ride to the wrecks.

Rough seas

We dove two ships today, the Bibb and the Duane which have the US record of service time (except for the USS Constitution). The Bibb lays on its side while the Duane sits upright. On our first dive the Bibb was an amazing sight and a surprisingly relaxed (though deep) dive. We walked around, swam around, perched on its structures until it was time to come up.

Landing on the Bibb Walking on the Bibb

The Duane was waiting. The ship sits upright in a hundred feet of water, its crows nest can be seen from the boat on a clear and quiet day. But it’s not a clear and quiet day.

After being ‘hot-dropped’ (the boat doesn’t stop, just tries to stay near the line, above the ship), we begin our descent towards the wreck.

Hot drop

Descent towards the Duane

After four minutes hovering above the bow, looking at very large Barracudas, we start swimming towards the center of the boat. Suddenly and without warning a cold sand storm envelops us , our visibility reduced to a couple of feet. Sam and I decide to swim together, close.

After 4 mins on the wreck, a sudden silt cloud blows in and reduces visibility to 2ft. You can see it coming here.

The water is colder, a thermocline, though it’s hard to tell what caused the silt could. We seek refuge in the wheelhouse for a quick and eerie photo shoot.

Alien.

The water is still heavy with sediments and we don’t quite know where we’re going. We follow the main axis of the boat looking to get to the ascent line.

Nest   Sam goofs off, I hold the big camera

After a brief stop at the crows nest, I rely on Sam’s experience to lead us. As we swim between the mid-section of the boat and the stern, we’re enveloped by troubled water and can’t really see anything until our slow descent takes us to the lower bridge portion. We’re not really sure how long we have to swim but now we’ve got a point of reference a couple feet down from us. We eventually reach the stern and its ascent line which we follow up, dutifully and slowly.

We get to the surface as I deploy my safety sausage. We don’t really need it cause the boats is 30 yards away but I hadn’t used it since I bought it a couple years so what the hell !

Safety Sausage

After those two dives our captains take us closer to shore, for a nice, shallow, relaxing reef dive. We get to see (or rather Sam doesn’t seem to notice fish around us, most of the time, he likes big chunks of rusting metal, but a camera in hand he seems to enjoy being tossed around on the reef. We get to see lobsters, a small spotted moray eel, a couple of small stingrays, a mantis shrimp and many other things. More photos later. I’ll leave you with a very nice one, from Sam again (all wreck photos from Day 3 are his, he’s really getting the hang of it) as we wave goodbye to the Keys. For now.

Trunkfish

Posted by & filed under Personal, Scuba-diving. 2,111 views

Too windy !

Argh! Too windy! to dive. Blowing 35+ mph with 6 – 10ft seas outside the reef. We sat on the beach, read, went to a movie and from dive shop to dive shop looking for nothing special.

Posted by & filed under Personal, Photography, Scuba-diving. 1,757 views

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Cucumber

P.S. in response to the question in comments, it’s a sea cucumber. it was sitting on the upper deck of the Spiegel Grove. I had to get really close (inches) because of the very wide angle lens (14mm) on the 5D. Luckily, the Bêche-de-mer don’t move fast…

Posted by & filed under Personal, Photography, Scuba-diving. 1,709 views

Yesterday, Sam and I dove the Spiegel Grove, a massive intentionally sunk dock landing ship. We visited the superstructure and the area around the well and crane. It was a beautiful dive at a maximum depth of 83 ft. After four years, many inhabitants have settled on the artificial reef including the largest and most beautiful filefish I had ever seen. All in all, a great dive.

Inside

After those two dives, Divers City took us to a shallower easier dive, the Bentwood, a smaller transport vessel thank sunk during WW2 after it head bunted a larger ship.

Metal was scattered everywhere and the wreck had lots of nooks and crannies. Large and small critters populated the reef including a few Midnight parrot fish (rare !), a large yellow eel, a nurse shark and her remora as well as a majestic Southwestern Stingray.

Sam took this photo of the Stingray (his best so far, I think, with the EOS 5D in the Ikelite enclosure), mine are still in my camera since Aperture won’t import Canon S50 RAW files (but will for all the other Canon S*):

Stingray

[Full gallery here]

Posted by & filed under Personal, Photography, Scuba-diving. 1,763 views

Today I am leaving for a dive trip in Florida organized by PGDive. Weather permitting we will be diving on the wrecks of the Spiegel Grove (two dives), the USCG Bibb, the USCG Duane, the Eagle and the Benwood.

Except for a small wreck in the Maldives and the Dome in Turks and Caicos, these will be my first real wreck dives and no doubts my deepest dives. I flirted with 130 feet before but it seems we’ll be getting a lot more acquainted in the next few days.

My dive buddy Sam and I will be taking a lot of photos in the next few days and I’ll try to document my experience as best I can. Stay tuned.

Wreck

Posted by & filed under Personal. 4,327 views

You thought the last 7 years were bad ?

Wait until the next GOP ticket, with Jeb Bush & Mitt Romney. Should Heber Jentzsch be the attorney general ? What a great way for Romney to further the interests of the already very scary and powerful LDS church. Long gone is the Utah War.

What happened to the principle of separation between church and state ? Very scary indeed.

Fucking Scary

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Went to the Keene Pumpkin festival this week end. They fell short of the world record, but still had 24,000 or so pumpkins.

Eveel !

Posted by & filed under Mac OS X, Personal. 6,740 views

I moved to the USA from Paris in January of 2000. I was lucky then to settle in Boston, a very welcoming town for foreigners and especially Europeans. There, I met a few french people and had a solid group of friends to turn to when I wanted to speak or hear french. The .com bubble burst and pretty much all of them were sent back home even though they were in the middle of getting a green card (I had one by then and got to stay).

While they are many opportunities to immerse myself in french culture in Boston (french library, french movie festival, …), I simply found myself listening to a lot of french music. I go back to France to visit with my parents roughly every six months so I usually load up on new french CDs.

Since I got my iPod, I bought quite a few songs on the iTunes USA store. Since then, also, the french iTunes store opened with galore of french rock, reggae and rap (Hah !).

But it seems I can’t use both. If I try to buy something with my US based .mac account on the French iTunes stores, it sends me back to the US store (where that music is not available). Now of course, I could create a french based account with a french credit card (I still have one) but from what I understand I couldn’t have both sets of songs in my iPod, I’d have to choose one or the other. How is that ‘Play Fair’ ?

Dear Lazyweb, help ?

Posted by & filed under BzzAgent, Photography, Web Site. 1,977 views

We’re looking for a flash developer at BzzAgent to help us build a medium sized flash application for the upcoming new version of our web site. Note that we’re not looking for a flash designer but a real action script developer who’s familiar with geo-mapping, XML & vector graphics. Let me know.

On a side note, I also re-skinned my photo gallery and added a few photos: