Me and Mark went diving this Sunday with Underwater Explorers at a site I have not dived before named Whittle Rock. The boat ride was a bit longer than normal due to it being about 8 km from Millers point. Jumping in the water looked a little bit green, but as we dropped below 10m or so it cleared up to about 10m viz. It was a bit chilly at 11 degrees. I must start using my Drysuit more often!! The site was a very nice dive with the reef over a very big area. Nice big fans and lots of other life on the reef. We unfortunately ran out a bit quickly of No Deco Time and had to surface as we were at a average depth of 26m. At this time we were far away from the pinnacle and could not explore it. All and all a very nice dive, might have also been due to me being out of the water for almost a month prior to this.
I stayed with Alistair for a second dive on the PMB, to take some photos of it with my new Camera. The viz was a bit less at +-5m, but it was still a nice dive. Did a nice swim thru with Alistair. I did manage to take some Marco photos of some sea life, but my wide angle shots did not turn up as nice with the water being a bit dirty on top and not much sun coming thru.
Alistair had to cancel the second time he wanted to have their Birthday launches. Wynand was already in Simons Town and we dragged Carel, on his day off into the water. Long Beach was full of little babies: gurnards & brittle stars and a huge blue jellyfish. We did not see the stingray’s yet, but they are back. Next time. I think this has also been my longest dive 74min in 15.3 degree water.
On Sat the 12th of May @ 08h00 I met with Johan (my IANTD instructor) and 8 students at Millers point to do my DM cross-over. Our first dive was to the sharks, once again never fails to disappoint saw loads of sharks and even a large sleeping pajama shark. I did notice the absence of abalone even at Millers where we always encounter that delicacy in huge numbers. We finished our dive and headed for shore a couple of meters from the shore I surfaced and bumped into Rob and Erich doing their surface swim out to the sharks (good to see other OMSACers at the same dive sites).
Then we were off to Long Beach to meet Grant from Blue Flash to take us to photographers reef. I then remembered why I enjoyed Grant’s boat so much – all that space makes kitting up a pleasure. We arrived at the dive site after a 20min boat ride,kitted up and rolled over backwards to find top to bottom vis. Our depth was around 16m and a toasty 14 degree water. Students did all their skills and we swam around the reef ,the reef is still teaming with life.
Then the long awaited day arrived the General Botha a 54m dive on trimix (this is a lot more serious than a 50m Durban dive) had finally arrived and since she was scuttled 65 years to the day it was bound to be something special (Shot Alistair from Underwater Explorers). We met at Millers @ 06h30 and set off at 07h30 in our quest to one of the deepest dives in False bay, after 14Km out to sea we arrived at our destination. We descended down the shot line into darkness a erie feeling came over me as we went deeper and deeper (f**k it is deep) then you remember your training and you start to relax. The wreck is broken up quiet a bit but still very awesome we had 6-8m vis, 9 degree water, all in all good conditions.
Holy cow my bottom time is over in a flash there is only 25mins of it. The rest of the 78mins is all deco time this becomes a mind f**k hang around for 50 mins is no joke but if you wanna do the depth you gotta do the time. The 11h00 launch was to the PMB and since the other DM could not dive I had to do it and with 2 hours surface interval we did the qualifying dive for the OW students. I must admit it was bit of a anti-climax after such a awesome dive to the General Botha but I still enjoyed it as the PMB is one of my favorite dive sites.
Early Saturday morning we left the house in Langebaan in convoy on our way to Jacobs Bay, the launch site. When we got there Alistair from Underwater Explorers was waiting for us and we did a quick briefing on the plan for the 2 dives, kitted up, got the boat in the water and, on the dot 8am, we slowly found our way out of the shallow Jacobs bay.
Fog was all around us but no wind and a gentle swell all the way to Soldiers Reef where there is supposed to be some wreckage. Well, we did not find it in the dark 2-4 meter viz en 9.5 degree water. It was a bit surgy at 20 meters but myself and Evert, who buddied up, had a good dive. I saw 1 fish, a small Klipfish, and 4 nudibranchs and got nice shot of a hermit crab.
Once back on the boat, some of the other divers were up already, with Anand and Zelda who was picked up just before us. On our way to the 2nd dive site we saw loads of seals popping out of the water and the mist started to clear.
Hadden Hall or some wreck like that was our 2nd dive. As we went overboard some divers were praying or doing something on their knees and I was wondering what the dive will be like 😉
This dive the viz was much better, water 1 degree warmer but as it was so shallow very, very surgy. We did see the wreckage and lots of growth on it. Crayfish, like with the other dive, in abundance but after 25 minutes Evert disappeared and the dive was ended. On the safety stop I saw a jelly with small shrimp on top of it and tried to take a pic of it in the surge got one but not very clear.
So our west coast dives were not the best but still memorable. The other launches later in the day and the next day were even worse. With some divers doing the Sunday launch 6 of us decided to go paddle on the lagoon around the island which was really great. Loads of birds and even white rabbits were seen on the island. But the social and potjie and breakfast were well worth it.
Thank you to Rochelle who did all the organising and all the divers who helped and joined in the fun.