Dive Master in Training – Day #12
Today is a “Back in the Water Day” and I’m excited. Jon and I had signed up for the afternoon dive, so we slept in this morning. For lunch, we went to AC’s for their fish Phad Thai and sat watching the surf.
On the boat for the afternoon dive, Jon and I were given to Australians to lead for the dives. Helen and Adam both had their Advanced Certification so we could go to a little more depth on the first date.
Dive #1: Fun Dive at Southwest Pinnacle
Depth: 25 meters
Bottom Time: 36 minutes
Visibility: 20 meters
The site was a 45 minute ride from the island, and the swells were huge. A number of people got a bit sick, but Jon and I hung in there. Jon led the first dive, so he did the boat briefing as well. This included hand symbols, depth and time maximums, and points of interest. The funny thing is that neither Jon nor I had been to this site more than once. Sort of like the blind leading the blind. But it’s never that difficult – just look at the map, take a compass, and go!
As soon as we got in the water we all felt better. The currents were very strong beneath the water, but the sites were still good. There were schools and schools of fish hanging out, some of them very large fish! Jon pointed out a HUGE fish hanging out between two rocks which we think was a grouper but never got confirmation about it. I was all turned around, so I was glad that it was Jon doing the leading.
After 35 minutes, we went to 5 meters to do a safety stop. Because we weren’t at the buoy line, this meant that we had to do an open water safety stop, which means we had to hover at five meters above the pinnacle. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the pinnacle because the visibility at five meters was pretty bad. If it wasn’t for a random pinnacle that suddenly passed us by, we would never have known how strong the current was and how quickly we were being carried away. So we used the pinnacle as a place marker and spent the three minute safety stop kicking full force to stay aligned with it. The current was so strong that we used about 30 bar of air just to stay near the pinnacle.
Dive #2: Fun Dive at White Rock
Depth: 16 meters
Bottom Time: 36 minutes
Visibility: 15 meters
I led the second dive, which was a much easier dive at White Rock – a site I know pretty well. Except that we moored off a buoy on the south side of the reef which was a pinnacle I’d never been to. But no worries because it’s still an easy site to navigate around. We had a nice dive. The current was very light and visibility was pretty good. We saw a couple of stingrays hiding under the ledges. They’re not hard to find if you can spot their tails.
After the dives, we took showers and then quickly headed into town for dinner because we were starving. Jon was craving falafels again so we went to Babylon and hung out on the terrace. I had the Chicken Schwarma, which I thought was very good.
We’d brought our flashlights with us, which was smart because the walk back to Ban’s was very, very dark. Two guys ended up walking with us because they couldn’t see the road and so the four of us used the light from our flashlights. It rained most of the rain back, and we were soaked by the time we got to the room.
We checked out the scene at Ban’s before turning in, but no one was hanging out at the bar. So we went to the room, read, and slept.