Dive #196 - 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:
59 minutes

Maximum Depth:
56 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
1200 psi

Weather Conditions:
Clear 80°F

Surface Conditions:

Surface Water Temperature:

Bottom Water Temperature:

100+ feet
* * * *½
July 29,
Linda, Janel, and Johnny
PADI Nitrox Certification Dive #2
Cuan Law Liveaboard
British Virgin islands
Abie fins along beneath the incredible mass of silversides
Videograph by Rich Torkington in BVI 2004 
Dive Journal: For our second nitrox certification dive, we’ll actually reuse the same tanks as our first, and my resulting mix is a hardly-worth-the-trouble 23.6% O2. Abie is laughing that the dive planning with this non-standard mix is actually a lot more number crunching work than using the default 32% or 36% PADI tables.

We take a long dinghy ride over to little Pelican Island to the site called Indians. I guess the three or more rocks sticking straight up in the water are supposed to look like an Indian headdress.

We start out in crystal clear visibility over a nice coral garden with little fish life, except for a few schools of blue chromis and Creole wrasses. Heading around a big point, we soon find ourselves in a canyon. Looking up, we see surf colliding with rocky walls and thin clouds of silversides hugging the shoreline, a pretty sight in silhouette.

Abie leads us into a shallow grotto of sorts, and we duck into several shallow cave entrances. Above us is a swarming ceiling of silversides, so thick they’re blocking the sunlight. Janel starts examining them and eventually floats midwater on her back, gazing up as the underside pulses in waves. Abie slowly leads the divers into a tube swim-thru, but Andrew and I hang back in the grotto almost mesmerized by the scene.

We eventually enter the tube. At its end, we see a seething highway of silversides flashing past the opening. Suddenly, a few hundred silversides vector into the tube head-on to us, swimming like mad, then deftly skirt around our masks. A few of them actually impact my mask. I lift the video camera and start it rolling, and another burst zooms into the tube, running into the glass front of the camera housing.

Reaching the end of the tube, we pause and check the scene. The entire view is consumed with a superhighway of silversides swimming in a furious manner past us. It’s like several million of them are all mortally frightened at the same time. We slowly emerge into the amazing flurry, but we’re swimming blind – we have no idea which way the other divers went and the visibility is nil.

At first we head left, trying to squint through the frenzy of fish. We soon run squarely into a dead end rock wall, turn, and Andrew and I shrug to each other. We then head in the opposite direction, and I can feel hundreds of fish colliding with me as we make our way through the turmoil. Finally, the bottom drops away a few feet and we descend into it, gazing finally into clearer water just below the careening fish. Some fifty or sixty feet away I spy the flash of another diver’s fin. Whew!

We continue on into deeper water while the silversides continue their rage above us. They eventually thin out as we leave the shoreline and head back to the dinghy.

Mares Avanti Quattro
Oceanic Véo 200
80 ft3 Al
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
BOAT, Cuan Law
Body of Water:
Caribbean Sea
U S Divers
3mm full wetsuit
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
8 lb
Water Type:
Video Equipment:
Sony DCR-TRV11 digital handycam in Top Dawg housing