Dive 289: Sabang wrecks, Puerto Galera (Philippines)

Standard

Dive time: 00:46:00
Max depth: 19.8 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Steve
Surface interval: 02:10:00

This dive was pretty much right out in front of the dive shop in Sabang Bay. There were three small wrecks, including a pretty intact yacht. The wrecks had a fair bit of coral and sponge growth, and lots of fish calling them home. We saw a lion fish, a very cool mantis shrimp, 4 razor fish pretending that they were some sort of sea grass, a school of bat fish, and a moray eel with many cleaner shrimp as company in the engine block of one of the wrecks.

Dive 287: Alma Jane, Puerto Galera (Philippines)

Standard

Dive time: 00:28:00
Max depth: 29.9 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Steve
Surface interval: 02:03:00

The Alma Jane was a small cargo ship, which was scuttled right in front of Small La Laguna beach, where we are staying. The wreck sits in 30 metres of water with a line going straight from the surface to the stern.

The visibility was not as good as the previous dives but still decent. We swam around the wreck at first and saw lots of growth on the hull, and a few groupers sitting under the bow. I could see the rudder was still intact but didn’t see the propellor. There was a big school of batfish at the bow, all facing into the mild current, and quite a few batfish on the deck amongst the steel beams.

Our dive guide Huw pointed out three different coloured frog fishes, which was good because I’m never able to spot them. Steve and I also swam through the cargo hold.

The dive was relatively short since Huw and I had already done two dives already today and I came within 5 minutes of deco. Shared my air with Steve just before we came up the line since he had 60 bar and I had 100 bar while we were still at 25 metres depth.

Dive 264: Ex-HMAS Adelaide, Terrigal

Standard

Dive time: 00:33:00
Max depth: 32.9 metres
Temperature: 20 C
Visibility: 4 metres
Buddy: Ben

Al and Ange decided to sit out on this dive after not feeling so good following the previous dive, so I was buddied with the dive guide Ben and another dude.

This was a much more fun dive, after we penetrated different parts of the wreck. We swam into the wreck on the middle decks and kept heading down and along the wreck. We saw a some toilets, filing cabinets, what looked like bunk bed frames, and massive holds. We came back up and swam right along the forward deck to the bow, then up to the bridge again where this time I felt up the swivel chair (still leathery and spongey) and picked up the phone and pretended to make a phone call!

Really fun dive. Must do some more exploring soon and see all the other bits of the wreck.

Dive 263: Ex-HMAS Adelaide, Terrigal

Standard

Dive time: 00:29:00
Max depth: 28.0 metres
Temperature: 20 C
Visibility: 4 metres
Buddy: Alan and Ange

This was my first time diving with my brother and I was interested to see how he would enjoy his first experience in non-tropical waters with less than 20 metres visibility! Still, I was looking forward to diving on the wreck since it’s a new thing for the Central Coast and it would be interesting to dive it while it was sunk relatively recently so that I could see the changes on it over time.

The boat ride out to the wreck was short and surface conditions were pretty good with only a slight swell. The visibility was pretty poor though, and as we went down the line we could only see completely green water and didn’t actually see the wreck until we were literally on it.

The dive was pretty short – we went into the bridge and swam through to the other side, then going forward and down, then swimming back around to the port side and back up to the bridge. Soon after this, the dive guide signalled that Al had only 80 bar and paired him back up with Ange for them to head back to the surface. I was to stay down with another group of three but they soon headed back up.

At this stage I still had around 120 bar of air, but didn’t know whether I should potter around on my own, so headed back up as well. Surfaced to see Al hanging over the side of the RIB and looking a bit green.

Not a very adventurous dive!

Dive 261: Curtin Artificial Reef, Brisbane

Standard

Dive time: 00:38:00
Max depth: 24.4 metres
Temperature: 26 C
Visibility: 5 metres
Surface interval: 1:24:00
Buddy: Nathan Carey

This was a much better dive after the shocking first one. I ditched my computer and just dived with the bottom timer and my reg was slightly adjusted by Nath during the surface interval so it no longer leaked. Much more comfortable dive!

We swam into a bit of current at the beginning to try to find the first wreck. We saw the concrete pipes, then swam over to Barge 25 and the Melbourne. Nath signalled to Ness and Trevor that we were going to head off in one direction so we split up from them. I think Nath was planning to head to the Estrella del Mar but we ended up off towards Lady Norman and slightly lost.

In the end Nath signalled for us to ascend from 22 metres, so I thought I’d give it a go shooting up a bag while Nathan shot up his. All went well actually, except that there wasn’t really much air in the bag when I got to the surface. I was pretty proud of myself – even Nathan gave me an underwater clap!

Dive 248: Numidia, Big Brother, Red Sea (Egypt)

Standard

Dive time: 01:00:00
Max depth: 38.1 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 30+ metres
Buddy: John North
Surface interval: 03:33:00
Mix: EAN 26

A better negative entry this time although my ears were slow to equalise on this dive for some strange reason.

We descended at the bow of the Numidia, a former cargo ship, which is still remarkably intact having been sunk in 1901. Amazing growth and lots of fish life including some clown anemone fish in anemone that looked like it was out of the Apple desktop picture!

John swam into the cargo hold but I didn’t bother. Swam back along the western wall, past the Aida, and there was amazing fish life on the reef. A nice relaxing dive. We saw a massive tuna that John thought was a shark!! Haha.

Another oceanic circling the boat after the dive too. Woo!

Dive 238: Haliburton, Utila (Honduras)

Standard

Dive time: 00:31:00
Max depth: 30 metres
Temperature: 26 C
Visibility: 15 metres
Buddy: Ed
Surface interval: 03:25:00

Ed had somehow signed me up to these dives to be his buddy so another two dives this afternoon on top of the two I did this morning. Felt a bit lost without my dive computer to calculate my NDL on these repetitive dives but I figured that I would try to dive a lot more conservatively than the others.

The wreck of the Haliburton is just outside the Utila harbour on sand at about 30m. The wreck had a bit of growth on it but hardly any fish at all. The only thing of note was a massive green moray in the cargo hold. Swam through the bridge, and laughed a lot at our DM Alan on the safety stop, who was demonstrating his poledancing moves on the buoy line. Hilarious!

Dive 219: The Tanks/Matthew Lawrence, Miami (USA)

Standard

Dive time: 00:44:00
Max depth: 14.9 metres
Temperature: 27 C
Visibility: 8 metres
Buddy: Tom
Surface interval: 00:39:00

We descended on the first tank, onto which the boat had tied off on the gun. We followed the markers a short swim to the wreck of the Matthew Lawrence. A small but nice intact wreck with lots of growth and fish. Saw a couple of beautiful grey angelfish.

We swam back to the first tank, which was covered in hard coral growth and tube sponges. Swimming over the rock pile we found the other tank.

A pretty easy dive. Viz not that great and Tom was an OK buddy, although a bit of a flailing diver!

Dive 218: The Patricia/Karline, Miami (USA)

Standard

Dive time: 00:46:00
Max depth: 17.4 metres
Temperature: 27 C
Visibility: 8 metres
Buddy: Tom

After a fairly useless dive brief, we dropped down the anchor line that was tied to the bow of the Patricia. The Patricia is a sunken tug with a bit of growth and fairly intact. We saw a school of small yellow snapper, a vivid blue parrotfish, butterflyfish, and cute little trunkfish.

We swam along the markers to the Karline and broken radio antennae. A decent dive but disappointing after the Red Sea last week!

It was also the first time using hire gear in a while. Horrible!

Dive 206: Numidia, Big Brother, Red Sea (Egypt)

Standard

Dive time: 00:51:00
Max depth: 22.3 metres
Temperature: 27 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Nick
Surface interval 03:15:00
Mix: EAN 26 (MOD 42.2 metres – 1.4ppO2)

The Zodiacs dropped us back on the Numidia, although our planned max depth was 20 metres so we didn’t swim down to the bulk of the wreck, which lay mostly below 18 metres. We swam back towards the boat along the southern side of the island to the east, another spectacular wall dive with loads of soft coral, gorgonian fans, and black coral.

I was buddying with Nick, whose regular buddy was sitting out this dive. He seemed to be having a problems with his mask, as he was constantly needing to clear it so his buoyancy was all over the place.

No real big fish this time, but I did see a lion fish hiding under a ledge, trevally off the wall, Napoleon wrasse, a little trigger fish, lots of cornet fish preying on the small reef fish. As we swam along the wall, we glanced down to see the mangled wreck of the Aida starting at over 30 metres.

The plan was to swim back to the boat but if we ran low on air then we could surface and the Zodiac would pick us up. Nick was already running low on air and told me to shoot up the SMB, but since he still had 70 bar left, I thought we could keep swimming for a bit longer at a shallower depth for our safety stop and then surface. Before I knew it, he had shot to the surface and I last saw him swimming back onto the reef.

I ascended to 5 metres to do my safety stop whilst shooting up the SMB, which involved having to unwind all the line from it first and slightly worrying me that I’d have an entanglement situation on my hands! A very limp SMB and 3 minutes later, I surfaced to find a Zodiac waiting for me in the calm water, and the skipper informed me that Nick had been picked up by the other Zodiac. Phew. I’m sure that Nick was not impressed with me ditching him, even though I think he slightly panicked a bit. Hey ho.