Dive 283: Sail Rock, Koh Samui (Thailand)

Standard

Dive time: 00:47:00
Max depth: 26.5 metres
Temperature: 28 C
Visibility: 8 metres
Buddy: Mark
Surface interval: 01:01:00

This was a very similar dive to the first, because the rock is pretty small.  Olivia and Lynn had a much easier time this dive.

I had the GoPro for this dive, so I just wrapped the strap around my left hand for the duration of the dive.  It wasn’t too bad diving with it, although I did find that my buoyancy suffered a little as I was concentrating on looking around for things to film!

We saw a big giant grouper surrounded by lots of tiny fish, more bull sharks, a stone fish and lots of anemone fish.

Dive 282: Sail Rock, Koh Tao (Thailand)

Standard

Dive time: 00:48:00
Max depth: 22.9 metres
Temperature: 28 C
Visibility: 8 metres
Buddy: Mark

This was a dive organised at the last minute with 7 others from the group for Christine and Anthony’s wedding.  We had our own private bow rider speedboat to head out to Sail Rock, which is just off Koh Tao.  Awesome!

We jumped into the water and free descended next to the rock.  Olivia had some issues getting down, as did Lynn, so Mark and I were fluffing around the bottom for a while.

This was my first dive with Mark, and our first dive with the GoPro!  Mark had the camera on his forehead at first, despite being warned by the dive master that he’d had a few divers lose them from the top of their heads but we thought we’d try it anyway and I’d keep an eye on it.  Lo and behold, about 5 minutes into the dive I looked over to Mark and the camera had disappeared from his forehead and I found it dangling off to the side of his head!  Phew!  I ended up putting it in my BCD pocket for most of the dive but towards the end, Mark dug it out and dived with it in his hand.

Down deep in the murky haze, we managed to make out the silhouettes of a few beefy looking bull sharks.  Rather scary considering their reputation in Australia!  Despite the average visibility, there was still quite a lot to see – lots of fusiliers, angel fish, sweet lips, butterfly fish, big eyes, barracuda, snapper, parrot fish, a blue grouper looking fish, and lots of other reef fish.  Went up through a little chimney type swimthrough too.

There was a little bit of current now and then, but mostly an easy dive.

Dive 254: Daedalus Reef, Red Sea (Egypt)

Standard

Dive time: 00:52:00
Max depth: 32.0 metres
Temperature: 28 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: John North
Surface interval 03:00:00
Mix: EAN 28

Our last dive at Daedalus was amazing – A SCHOOL OF HAMMERHEADS!!! I counted 12 of them!

We started swimming along the western wall stopping to admire Anemone City, a massive patch of anemones and various types of anemone fish at around 8 metres. We swam along a little further and then I saw Fiona pointing downward. I peered down into the murky depths and after a little while, a dozen hammerheads came into view swimming towards our group!!

We sank down to around 30 metres and they circled around us a couple of times then swam off into the blue. After a couple of minutes they circled back, did a few laps around us and past us, and then occasional one would break off and swim towards someone. At one point, one of them was about 5 metres away from me! They are just such beautiful and graceful creatures.

Our whole group was just mesmerised as they swam with us for about 10 minutes. Thanks to my 32% mix I still had plenty of NDL left! The rest of the dive we were just on a high and we couldn’t stop gushing about the experience back on the zodiac and then back on the Sea Serpent.

AMAZING! One of my top 3 dives ever!

Dive 251: Little Brother, Red Sea (Egypt)

Standard

Dive time: 00:53:00
Max depth: 35.1 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 25 metres
Buddy: John North
Surface interval 02:59:00
Mix: EAN 25

HAMMERHEADS!!! All that staring out into the blue finally paid off!

I was down at around 30 metres on the northern plateau, a bit away from the group and the reef. I thought I saw a grey reef shark beyond the visibility but couldn’t quite make it out. As I swam back towards the reef, Fiona the DM pointed down and there were 3 hammerheads swimming beneath us! I could barely contain my excitement, especially when one (a juvenile) swam away from the other 2 and circled back towards me before turning away.

AMAZING! I couldn’t help but do a little dance at John I was that excited!

Also saw a barracuda, black snapper and a cute little network pipefish.

Such an awesome dive – my first hammerheads!!!

Dive 250: Little Brother, Red Sea (Egypt)

Standard

Dive time: 00:59:00
Max depth: 25.9 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 25 metres
Buddy: John North
Surface interval 02:15:00
Mix: EAN 30

We jumped off the back of the boat with the plan to just spot sharks. The vis wasn’t as great though, so it was difficult to see anything out in the blue. We basically finned all the way to the northern tip before we reached the 30 minute mark so turned around.

The reef was the same as the morning so it was all about shark spotting. Didn’t see anything bar a barracuda so we surfaced and as we were getting back into the zodiac, John yells “SHARK!” and we looked down to see a small oceanic white tip with some accompanying pilot fish. It circled around our little group as we were bobbing on the surface, and came quite close to us on a few occasions. Every time I saw it swimming towards me I would pull up my legs because I was paranoid it was going to take a nibble!!

Dive 237: Rocky Point, Utila (Honduras)

Standard

Dive time: 00:40:00
Max depth: 19 metres
Temperature: 26 C
Visibility: 15 metres
Buddy: Peter
Surface interval: 01:00:00

We had an AMAZING surface interval – I swam with a baby whale shark!!! It was probably about 5m and it was only after two unsuccessful sightings (jumping in the water, madly finning, then nothing and having to fin back to the boat) that on the third try, we pretty much jumped on top of it! It was so graceful, a spotted dusky grey colour. Magnificent!!

The dive was a nice chilled out “drift dive” with no current. The site was a gently sloping reef, which was a garden of soft corals. Saw a green moray swimming about and a big cowfish floating about in midwater.

Dive 224: Blue Hole, Lighthouse Reef (Belize)

Standard

Dive time: 00:29:00
Max depth: 42.1 metres
Temperature: 25 C
Visibility: 30 metres
Buddy: Steve

It was a long & rough motor out from Caye Caulker to the Blue Hole and there were quite a few seasickness casualties. Luckily I had taken a tablet and felt fine!

The Blue Hole is an enormous, deep blue envelopes you as you parachute down. At around 35m, we saw an overhang with ENORMOUS stalactites hanging down, some with girths like oak trees! It just made my mind boggle thinking about how old they were.

I saw two large Caribbean reef sharks swimming ahead of the group, about 6-8 feet long before they disappeared into the shadows.

A slow, angled ascent up although I still had 2/3 tank of air left.

Amazing dive!

Dive 209: Little Brother, Red Sea (Egypt)

Standard

Dive time: 01:02:00
Max depth: 39.3 metres
Temperature: 27 C
Visibility: 25 metres
Buddy: Leena
Surface interval 02:46:00
Mix: EAN 28 (MOD 38.6 metres – 1.4ppO2)

After struggling the last two days with donning my semi-wet 5mm suit, I decided to try a lighter outfit that wouldn’t take all the skin off my knuckles. I put on my long sleeved thermo layer over my bikini and donned my hood, and was set to go.

The Zodiacs dropped us off again on top of the cleaning station plateau and I felt a little chilly on my naked legs as soon as I hit the water but soon got used to the water temperature. I dropped down to the cleaning station, although mindful that my MOD was 38 metres. We saw a grey reef shark at about 30 metres swimming around to the northern side of Little Brother, and then I saw a thresher shark down on the plateau, beautiful with a big black eye and magnificent tail.

I could feel myself sinking a little deeper and was a bit worried when I suddenly looked down on my computer I was at 39 metres, over my MOD at 1.4 ppO2. Eek! I turned back to the reef and ascended a little, and then started finning back along the southern side of the Little Brother back towards the boat.

I ended up doing most of the dive solo, since Leena was hella slow taking photos, and even when I would wait for her, a few minutes later I would turn around and she was way behind me again. Really frustrating. I spent most of the dive at around 10 metres, after chewing through my air at depth earlier in the dive. The reef was beautiful – so colourful and so full of life – and I even saw a large green moray eel swimming out and hunting.

Dive 208: Little Brother, Red Sea (Egypt)

Standard

Dive time: 01:03:00
Max depth: 38.4 metres
Temperature: 27 C
Visibility: 25 metres
Buddy: Leena
Surface interval 02:32:00
Mix: EAN 28 (MOD 38.6 metres – 1.4ppO2)

Out on the Zodiacs again, and this time they dropped us on the north eastern side of Little Brother where there is the highest concentration of gorgonian fans in the Red Sea. The fans are down around 30-40 metres and they were just everywhere, some of them just enormous sizes. I spent a fair bit of time around 35 metres just admiring the beauty of the fans.

We swam back along the eastern wall of the island back towards the boat, admiring the corals, and colourful reef fish. There were two Titan trigger fish courting or dancing or something, which looked very cool. At one point, I had a grey reef shark swim right below me, and we also saw a grey reef shark swimming below the boat as we were doing our safety stop. Very cool!

Dive 207: Little Brother, Red Sea (Egypt)

Standard

Dive time: 00:58:00
Max depth: 39.6 metres
Temperature: 27 C
Visibility: 25 metres
Buddy: Leena
Surface interval 14:36:00
Mix: EAN 26 (MOD 42.2 metres – 1.4ppO2)

The Zodiacs dropped us at the south western tip of the island where there is a cleaning station plateau at around 35-40 metres. Apparently this is a good site to see big things, and as soon as we descended we spotted a broad grey reef shark (when we got back, another group apparently saw a massive manta ray and a couple of hammerheads – damn!).

The rest of the dive was pretty easy, cruising along the wall on the northern side of Little Brother back up to around 10 metres and checking out all the beautiful corals and fans, lots of colourful reef fish, predatory cornet fish, schools of large black and white snapper, a few lone barracuda, and then back onto the boat.