FH-13 - Wicomico - Linda Susan - Southern Star - MO992 - September 17, 2011© Photos Posted by Mark Miller © Hi-Res Source
This was another Trip to do some reef monitoring for MGFB. The crew consisted of my Oldest & Youngest sons, Ben (17), and Luke (14), along with their Friends, Lauren Mitchell, Dalton McQueen, Seth Barzelay, and Jean Taylor Martin. We started in FH-2, but there were no fish marking and we could only pickup shark pups. We decided to check the Wicomoco Pogey Boat in FH-13 and were happy we did. Visibility was quite acceptable and it had a really good population of fish. The top surface water was clear for a change so we decided to checkout nearby Rig MO992A. I was hoping to get some fish pictures and silohute shots through the Rig Legs. What I got was much better - a pair of Manta Rays to pose for me. When I first entered the water, I was greeted by a pretty large pod of Cobia. Knowing Ben was wanting to spearfish, I went up to briefly tell him the good news and then I descended back down and resumed picture taking. After about 10 minutes my eye caught a Manta on the other side of the Rig Leg about to emerge. I frantically got my camera switched to Video Mode and began shooting as I grabbed him with my left hand on his left shoulder. He seemed a little confused about this new resistance and he bolted ahead some but then made a gradual turn back to check me out. About this time I could see Ben's bubbles and soon enough there was Ben, but he was looking the wrong direction and he was fighting a Cobia. I made noises to get him to turn around and he was also pleasantly surprised. After some petting, I realized I only had 100 pounds of air left so up I went to brag to the rest of the crew. Luke was so envious. I told him that he should go look for him an so he and Jean Taylor did. We noticed them off to the side of the Rig and lots of bubbles coming up. Sure enough, they surfaced soon and reported that there were "3" Mantas! I got a fresh Tank and went down and got some Video of Luke and Jean along with a pair of Manta Rays. It was a great encounter. As we reflected on our adventure, someone spotted one of the Rays just under the boat. Most of us got in with Masks to check him out. Luke got down to him without fins and gave him a stroke. Afterward some of the crew did some Rig Jumps and then we bounced on the Linda Susan Tug and the Southern Star Shrimp Boat. It was a Grand Day that encompassed 62.3 nautical miles, 38.7 gallons of fuel, and 10 hours.