My Best Turtle Pic of all time!This dive was extra-special. I know, I know, we already did a trip report on Core Gut, but that was a completely different deep, wall dive. The shallow dive has become one of my favorite dives after the experience we had today. We had some really great sightings – and some of Joel’s favorite pictures in all of our dives so far! In fact, he’s been itching for me to write this entry so that he can do a “show and tell” of his fabulous pics.

Dive Crew
Dick, Vivi and Alex (Alex was our boat captain)

Dive Site Stats

  • Core Gut – Dive Site #27
  • Boat Ride: 25 minutes
  • Mooring: eyebolt/40 feet
  • Experience Level: all levels, except novice divers
  • Recommended Max. Depth: north (wall) 90 feet, south 50 feet
  • Current: usually none
  • Snorkeling: yes, when sea is calm

Dive Site Description
On the Core Gut shallow dive, you float among towering Elkhorn Coral, large coral heads and huge boulders. As we started the dive heading north, we entered what our dive masters call “Smurf Village.” In fact, Dick is convinced that if we look closely enough, we may see little blue people marching around (that would have been me, if Vivi hadn’t let me borrow her warm, 7mm wetsuit with hood!). You’d think so too if you saw these amazing, huge formations of coral – large, flattened colonies of Mountainous Star Coral, Mustard Hill Coral and Giant Brain Coral. In fact, entire boulders, with the exception of their base, are covered with coral. This is one of the most beautiful dive sites, in my opinion. The colors are outstanding and there is something to see on every coral-topped boulder.

Swimming With The Sea Turtles
As I was gazing at the coral, a tap on the shoulder got my attention tuned in on a beautiful, large sea turtle, swim-flying across the water. You’ve gotta love your fellow divers, who share the best sights under the water. I noticed that Joel and Vivi were hot on the trail of the turtle, so I swam over to see what was up.

Vivi was motioning to Joel to swim near the sea turtle, so that Joel could have his picture with this coveted, underwater celebrity. What resulted were some very good shots. See if you can tell which one is Joel.

Joel with the Turtle Heather with the Turtle Joel Racing with the Turtle

More Celebrity Sightings
On my way to watch the scuba paparazzi, I noticed a turtle of my own. This one was not in such a hurry to get to its destination. Hanging around in a coral cave, the turtle was contentedly munching on the reef buffet. So intent was he, that he had no cares for the large, 7mm neoprene-clad, hose & tank encased human-fish coming his way. He let me watch, with excitement in my eyes and he stayed to feast, while Joel, Travis and Vivi noticed my new celebrity sighting.

Like all good paparazzi, they rushed over and the flashes started popping. This turtle was a regular Paris Hilton, posing, letting us pose with him – I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out with, “That’s hot!” But he was speaking a language all his own as he chomped away at the reef. Take a look at the pictures and see who looks like the experienced divers. Pretty easy guess when Travis & Vivi look like they could be underwater models, while Joel and I look like we’re hamming for the camera!

Travis & Vivi with the TurtleVivi with the TurtleGreen Moray Eel

Green Giant
After we thought it couldn’t get any better, a new celebrity showed up. A huge green moray eel! Noisemakers churning, we all looked up and swam toward our new viewing conquest. Apparently, this moray eel has been in Core Gut for about two years. He’s a regular and we’re happy he came out to see us, since paparazzi Joel got another great pic for the day.

Towering Elkhorn & Blennies (No, Not An Exotic Menu Item)
At the end of the dive, as we reluctantly headed back to the boat, we passed the Towering Elkhorn Coral –the texture reminds me of sesame-encrusted flatbread crackers – probably just lunch time approaching. The Elkhorn structures were a stunning consolation prize for having to leave our ocean celebrities. If you looked carefully, you could see the tiny blennies, poking their heads out to say hello. These shy creatures abhor paparazzi, so be patient if you want a shot. The curious little creatures can’t resist a peek – if only just to see what we’re up to. I could watch these guys for hours, but Joel was giving me the signal. Low on air, time to head up.

I still say that I could go back to these dive sites again and again. The next day the winds are calm, I’m grabbing my gear and heading down to Sea Saba, just in case we get to visit Core Gut one more time!