Sunday, April 27, 2008

GUE Dive Extravaganza, April 24-27, 2008

I just got back from another GUE trip on the Black Manta, organized by Living Seas. The whole Living Seas crew (Gideon, Leon, Matilda, Andrew, Thomas) was on board and as usual, they planned a good trip. We departed Singapore on Thursday night and got back on Sunday evening. Thursday night was spent traveling and we arrived at Pulau Aur in the morning.

Leon and I are going to be buddies on our Tech 2 class that starts in a weeks' time, so we spent the first day doing drills in preparation for the class. We spent most of the first day doing ascent and descent drills, including lots of gas switches and bottle movement. We did drills solely during the first two dives and got pretty fed up after more than 2 hours in the water. For the third dive, we did a relaxing dive at Raynor's Rock, with 3 bottles just for the ride. The fourth dive of the day was again spent doing drills. Somehow, we managed to squeeze a fifth dive in, a night dive a Turtle House. We had slight current on all the drills dives, meaning that we had to face into the current and maintain our position relative to the line.

Day 2 was at the Seven Skies. Recreational divers did 3 dives and the technical divers did 2. To conserve backgas and minimize gas filling, we dove stages for the day's dives. Backgas was 18/45 and we used 50% for deco. There was a mild current and vis was quite poor (maybe 10m) due to lots of white particles in the water. A 2-3m white manta was circling the wreck for most of our dive, and all the divers saw it at some point or other. It was even around when some people did their second dives. We did a tour of the wreck and found a big hole in the front area, where the wreck was cut off. We made a mental note to return there on the second dive. The dive ended up being shallower than planned, but we stuck to our original deco plan of about 25 minutes.

On the second dive, we made a beeline for the hole. I tied in a reel and went in to explore. The area was huge and full of pipes. It did not go very far horizontally, but went quite deep. We stopped around 53m and it looked like the bottom was close to 60m. By the time we turned around, the silt and rust dislodged by our bubbles had reduced visibility markedly. Yet, I found the darkness and stillness peaceful and relaxing. I miss cave diving. The profile below is that of our second dive on the Seven Skies. We spent slightly longer at depth and completed 30 min of deco.

Leon checking out a crack

Day 3 was at the Maritime Fidelity. It was my first trip to this wreck. We arrived early in the morning but it took a while to tie in to the wreck. The Quest was also present and they had the same issues tying in. Eventually we tied 2 lines into the middle of the wreck. Vis was quite poor (max 10m) and there was a decent current on the wreck. On our first dive, we went into current towards the bow. There wasn't a whole lot there, but we spotted a big hole on the way back, which we went in to explore. I am not sure what was in there, perhaps a boiler room, but there were lots of pipes and machinery. The dive was a lot shallower than planned so we cut the deco short and spent about 10 min breathing 50%.

On the second dive, we pulled the lines and went towards the stern. We entered a huge cargo hold and poked around for a while. The rest of the dive was spent looking around and staying out of the current. We shot a bag and drifted for the 10 min deco. On the way up, there were tons of schooling batfish and we had a close encounter with a school of barracuda. They circled us several times, getting closer with each pass and giving us the eye.

With that, the trip was over and we motored back to Singapore. It was a fun trip and great preparation for Tech 2.

1 comment:

Felix said...

Good stuff! I miss Singapore. It seems that GUE community is growing there which is really good thing.