I sound a bit like a broken record, but it’s true, another rough night at sea heading to our first dive site. We departed Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) Singapore, on Thursday night bound for Sara D Wreck, only to get half way through the night and the now predictable weather hit. No one slept all that well. I felt like I did not sleep at all. But according to Dave I was snoring at one point, so that’s good.
We arrived at Sara D Wreck around 7am, looked at the massive swell, took a vote and all went back to bed as The Ark headed for Pulau Aur.
During the previous evening, I told Manu and Mark that I was thinking our first dive would be at 11am. As it turned out I was right. We never discussed what site we would be diving.
We managed 4 dives around Aur in pretty bad weather at first, thankfully it improved during the day.
Matt was taking the TDI Advanced Nitrox and TDI Decompression Procedures courses with me this weekend.
Kelvin and his good friend Glenda joined us for night dive.
Yes, you heard me right, I did a night dive.
The night dive turned out to be ok with barracuda, loads of crabs and a baby cuttlefish.
I certified Glenda as a SDI Nitrox Diver the week prior and I told her I will tell everyone “I Certified a Celebrity”.
Glenda is a journalist at Channel News Asia and can be seen at 7pm most nights in front of the camera, as she puts it.
Suzanne abandoned me to dive with another Revo diver Mark.
Note to self, get ones CCR working so I can dive with Suzanne.
The first three dives at Aur were at Pinang, Rayners and Lang. I made Matt do all the skills for the courses, he was so keen, he even reminded me when I forgot to start buddy breathing during our deco stop on the third dive. Matt is a excellent diver with great skills. Like all new tech divers, just needs to sort out where all the gear goes that we carry so it is easy to access and deploy. After the first four dives, I was happy with his performance and could have certified him already, but the courses requires 6 dives.
I was so hoping to see the giant grouper at Rayners Rock again, but all I saw was a couple of nudis. I took a couple a photos and continued on with the deco dive. After the dive, Dave said he saw the grouper, who at first though it was a huge rock until it started to swim away. I said yep, that’s the guy we saw last week…it a strange green colour right, Dave replied yep green and huge.
Lucky for us we had plans to dive Seven Skies all day Saturday and I really looked forward to showing Matt around inside a bit, he did request large rooms. I knew just where to go. Let’s hope the weather holds out as we left Aur destined for Seven Skies.
We left Aur during the night and it was calm, but not for long. The waves got bigger and bigger and we slowed down. We arrived at Seven Skies around 7am and thankfully the seas calmed down for our first dive at around 830am. This dive was planned to 45 metres for 20 minutes, Matt’s first real deco dive. We pulled ourselves down the line all the way to the wreck, we dropped over the front of the wreck out of the mild current and swam out to where the bow section has broken away. Matt indicated he was a bit narced.
There was so many fish, a school of barracuda, school of trevally, school of tuna circling overhead. This school of pinjalo snapper were circling us for most of the dive. We looked in a few doorways and then had to ascend to the line to start our 30 minutes of decompression stops. Once out of the water safely, we dried off and watched a movie, waiting for the next dive.
The second dive at Seven Skies was planned for the same depth and time, but I was going try and swim along the port side.
We got there without any current pushing us, we continued to looked around, but we had to turn back after a while because the current was coming around the wreck not allowing us to swim further round.
We still had 8 minutes left, so I asked Matt if he wanted to go in a doorway which I knew lead to the gallery. He said yes and I did not need to be told again. In the first doorway, straight through the second and then another into the gallery. All the drawers have been opened for souvenirs by other divers. There is a big mixing machine, sinks and benches. I swam around and headed back out as my very troublesome canister light went off. No worries, I could still see the exit and kept swimming with Matt right behind.
Back to the line to complete 30 minutes of decompression stops. During our dive the weather went foul again and by the time we made it back to the 6 metres deco bar the waves were huge. We were swinging up and down like yo-yos. We switched to the 100% oxygen on the deco platform and finished deco. Getting out of the water was another challenge with the dive platform heaving up and down. I managed to get out without an issue, Matt did too. The other divers were watching from above and were applauding everytime someone got out of the massive seas. There is a real knack to getting out safely, including passing up the stage bottles and fins, whilst trying not to hit your head or lose any gear whilst passing equipment to the boat boys.
I was happy to be out of that “washing machine”.
We headed for Igara Wreck on Saturday night and thankfully it was calm and I got some sleep. I say some because I was sleeping next to a snoring diver called Kelvin, who kept waking me up. Rough seas or snorers, I can’t win.
Igara was fantastic. We did two excellent dives with loads of fish, including a big school of big eye trevally. We swam from the crack towards the stern on both dives. I never get bored of swimming through the Igara. On our way back to the line to start our ascent on the first dive Terresa, a friend of mine, who was diving on the MV White Manta, came and waved in front of me and gave me a big hug and underwater kiss. A lot of people asked what was going on with the hugs and kisses. I said girls just do that to me all the time, they can’t help themselves.
We also saw a massive sea snake at the Igara and a school of baby scribbly file fish followed us up the line. The most bizarre thing I saw was all the half and fully decayed fish inside the rope room at the Igara. I can’t explain how they got there, why they died and why some have not been eaten. There were fish skeletons everywhere, mostly fully intact. Which means the fish were already dead or died inside and just decayed away. Odd.
On both dives Matt and I switched to our 50% mix on the deck at 18m and continued looking around for 10-15 minutes. This is a great way to dive the Igara, you can clear most of the deco doing this. Well, if you have a real dive computer like mine – Liquivision Kaon. In Matt’s case he was using a Suunto Vytec that gave him 20 minutes extra deco at 6 metres. He switced to the 100% and it changed back to 10 minutes. My computer on its most conservative tech setting, cleared deco when we got to the 6 metre deco bar, even before I had switched to 100%. So I switched to 100% anyway and chilled out with Matt until more divers arrived. At this point I left him and I could see he was considering buying a real dive computer when I left.
I was creating this piece of journalist brilliance, when Glenda decided to take this photo of me and also have a read of my work.
She recommended that I add a “tip” at the end of each trip report. I asked her, ” What type of tip?” She said, “Maybe a tip for those divers that have never been on a Live-on-Board (LOB) before, maybe a tip for the ladies?” So here it is, thanks to Glenda.
Ladies when diving on a LOB it recommended you bring two bikinis. One dry bikini to wear during the day and the other to wear under your wetsuit when diving. There is not enough time to dry the wet bikini between dives, so best just to change to the other dry one. Glenda, also mentioned it is best to leave the heals at home too.
Cheers – Gary
The underwater photos in this trip report were taken by Gary
Additional photos may be viewed on our Facebook page here – 12 to 15 July, 2012 – The Ark – TDI Tech Courses