Thursday, November 8, 2012

A mind opening day at Roca Partida!

It was an amazing day here at Roca Partida. We woke to stunning sunrise and calm seas. Which was a welcome change from the last two days of diving. Our first dive was quite a surprise. The visibility was good at 6o ft+. (20m) and the temperature was warm at 79 degrees (F). We spent the beginning of the dive taking it all in observing the white tips reef sharks, the silvertips, and galapagos sharks. After rounding the north point, we saw a whale shark. It was 30-35ft. and swimming with galapagos sharks and silvertips. We were ecstatic. Then we noticed that the shark was wrapped in a huge line 6 inches thick. The line was wrapped fully around the midsection of the humongous shark. We were saddened because the line seemed to dig in to the thick epidermis and had obviously been there a long time judging by the damage on the skin and the amount of growth on the line itself. We saw the shark again later in the dive and it seemed like it was going to be impossible to help.

In between dives we talked about cutting the poor shark free. All had an opinion about cutting the whale shark loose: some thought the shark would freak and swim away fast, some thought it not possible to cut through the thick line, either way it would be dangerous especially if the shark was deep. Just in case our head divemaster, Dani, borrowed a knife from a guest and thought if he saw an opportunity, he would try to cut the thick line.

Dive two started with many single hammerheads on the west side. The water column was filled with so many fish when you swam to the blue and looked back, you could hardly make out the rock. We observed many silvertip sharks and countless white tips. Within a few minutes the shark appeared to my group alone. We swam close and observed the line looked like it was possible to cut. I looked for Dani, but his group was just a bit further down current and they didn`t get a close look before the shark circled away. We waited in the same spot, knowing that our spotted friends are creatures of habit, but she didn`t least right away. It was towards the end of the dive and we were waiting at 60ft. I spotted the whale shark deep, more than 100ft, which would blow the  profile of my group so we slowly swam down to about 85ft. and it swam to us. Just as we met, Dani charged from above and grabbed the line on the shark with great tenacity. He sawed away and made quick work of this impossible line. It was amazing! He peeled the line from the flesh of the whale shark. The great fish brushed them off and shed them like chains of bondage... it was free. I swam back down to pick up the line for Dani and so we could prove to the rest of the group could see that the impossible was in fact possible! It was a feeling of relief knowing that we saved this amazing creature, from this negative impact that we humans impose on animals of the ocean.

We hoped to see our newly freed friend on the third dive. Instead, within seconds of dropping in the water we saw a different whale shark. This one was coming from the deep too and swam fast. Divers swam with it as long as they could keep up, but those guys can move. This whale shark was a little smaller at 25ft. This one had scars on it`s back obvioulsy from a propeller. What is up today with whale sharks and showing signs of human impact. It was amazing, but sad to know that we humans can negatively impact these beautiful animals. That`s what makes this place so special, to be able to observe and interact with these animals and have a first-person look at such impacts reserved for television. The remainder of the dive was spent rounding the rock and watching the plethora of life here. Sharks galore, fish everywhere of all kinds. It was mind-boggling. We even had a few close encounters with some scalloped hammerheads. It was a mind-opening day here at Roca Partida.

Until Next time,

Dave Valencia

No comments:

Post a Comment