Dive #10 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:


Dive Info:

Dive Start:

Bottom Time:
45 minutes

Maximum Depth:
76 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
2700 psi

Ending Air:
1000 psi

Weather Conditions:
Sunny 85F

Surface Conditions:

Surface Water Temperature:

Bottom Water Temperature:

60 feet
* * *
July 3,
Linda, Mercedes, and Myron (buddies)
Captain Don's Habitat
Linda, Myron, Captain Don Stewart, and Mercedes
Photo by Rich Torkington in Bonaire 1998 
Dive Journal: At 10:40AM or so, we exit the water and prepare our gear for our first boat dive. The boat arrives and moors onto the main dock, and about 10 or so divers board her with their gear. A boat captain, divemaster, and mate load all the tanks and aid each diver with gear, and the divemaster logs each diver's attendance on a clipboard. Linda and I follow everyone's lead in selecting a tank (80 cu ft 3000 psi aluminum) and immediately start assembling our regulators and BCs to it.

In just a few minutes, the boat pulls slowly away from the dock. We are diving aboard the Ocean Freedom, a brand new quarter-million dollar boat recently purchased by the Habitat. It is a very likeable diving boat, maybe 45' in length, and is fitted with comfortable tank and equipment racks along its gunwales and twin inboards of considerable power. The entire stern of the boat is designed for simplicity of diver entry and exit. The conventional transom is largely cut away for easy access to an expansive platform that is just about even with water level. This allows divers to make last minute equipment adjustments before entering the water with minimal effort or impact. When deployed, the boat's exit ladder extends deeply into the water, maybe 6' or so below the surface. Unlike many boat ladders, this ladder's steps and rails are anatomically comfortable to use, an important feature for an exiting diver carrying 35-50 lb of scuba gear.

The boat arrives at our first dive site, Andrea I, in less than 5 minutes. The site is less than a mile north of the Habitat, and it is probably named after one of Captain Don's many former girlfriends. Following the strict Bonaire Marine Park regulations, the boat moors to a buoy marking the dive site (no anchors allowed) and cuts her engines. We are given a briefing by the divemaster, which includes a general description of the site features, and we are also given a non-mandatory limit of about 100 feet depth and 1 hour duration for the dive.

Although every dive has its own characteristics, a very typical Bonaire dive plan is to:

  • descend beneath the boat, usually in 20-30 feet of water (or, if shore diving, swim out from the beach and submerge)
  • fin to the reef edge
  • check the current flow, if any
  • descend gradually over the reef to near-maximum depth
  • start by swimming against the current, parallel to reef
  • explore the reef slope
  • refrain from touching anything - no gloves or knee pads permitted
  • turn around at half-air remaining
  • explore reef slope in opposite direction, usually at slightly less depth
  • explore shallows underneath boat
  • safety stop if necessary
  • surface and return to boat

The pool is open and the four of us suit up for the dive. The now weighted-down divers methodically inch to the stern as each one binds on fins as a final operation and does a giant stride entry into the water. The four of us enter the water without incident and descend over the reef.

The reef is literally bursting with life! Large meandering aggregations of blue chromis and Spanish hogfish cloud the mid-water above the reef. There are gorgeous sponges, soft corals, and hard corals. At depth, we all spy a fabulous adult spotted drum hiding in an overhanging recess of the reef - wow! Linda and I use this first dive as yet another chance to familiarize with the new gear, this time in a real dive setting. We stay submerged for 45 minutes and reach 76' depth, and the time passes all too quickly. Nearing the end of the dive, our divemaster locates us and motions us over to a spot in the shallows. A 5" seahorse has its tailed coiled onto a gorgonian - very cool!

We have around 1000 psi air left, but Linda and I are ready to get out since we are both chilly. The water temperature at the bottom is around 78F, just barely too cold for our Lycras over time. Additionally, we find that the 8 lb of lead weight Linda's carried and the 6 lb I've carried are a bit shy - we will need to increase it next dive. Water visibility is excellent, we estimate around 60-70 feet.

Mares Avanti Quattro
U S Divers Matrix
80 ft3 Al
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
BOAT (Ocean Freedom)
Body of Water:
U S Divers
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
6 lb
Water Type:
Video Equipment: