Archive for the ‘night dive’ Category.

Dive #152: Cove 2, West Seattle, WA

Place:Cove 2 Buddy:Archis and Josh
Weather:Fine Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):14.9 Visibility (m):5
Time down:21:16 Dive time (mins):49
Average depth (m):7.3 Water temp. (C):10.0

Notes: This was my second dive with the new dry suit and it was much better this time. I went with Archis and Josh, two local Seattle GUE divers. I paid a lot of attention to buoyancy and definitely got the hang of dumping air from the drysuit. While I’ve not perfected it by any means, it seems like the best strategy is to use both the suit and the wing to maintain buoyancy. Keep just enough in the suit to keep warm and stop squeeze, and do the rest mostly with the wing. For one thing, you can dump much faster from the wing, so you can adjust quickly. In contrast, it comes relatively slowly out of the suit. I dived with the suit valve entirely open. This time I paid close attention and could hear and feel the air leaving the suit when I got my shoulder in the correct position. My weighting was much better too, this time (see below).

The dive was really nice. Very slow and relaxed. There’s lots of colour and life at Cove 2 at night. I saw a pipefish of some kind and lots of nice purple and green flora. Crabs are in abundance, big and small. Some were moving around, often accompanied by a prawn. Others were to be found in very melodramatic poses. I saw one big fellow clinging to an upright pole with his back legs and looking away from the pole holding his claws outstretched in defiance of anything that might approach.

At the end of the dive I hung around playing with my buoyancy while Archis and Josh did some GUE drills. We finished with a very controlled ascent from 5 or 6 metres, easing up while dumping air from the suit, and surfacing to a wonderful view of the Seattle city skyline.

Equipment: I borrowed a tank and weights from Archis. Steel backplate with 6-lb integrated STA weight, and 16 lb of lead on a weight belt. This was pretty perfect weighting. Could also do 16-lb by putting 5 lb in each of the side pockets and 3 lb in each of two trim pockets, but the weight belt was actually fine. It also makes the scuba unit much easier to lift and adjust so maybe it’s a better way to go in general. I need to work on getting the harness more nicely fitted and I should trim the excess length. I also need a slightly longer dry suit inflator hose. My thick woolly socks were good, and also I used the optional in-soles that came with the dry suit so my feet felt pretty snug. I made sure to do the ankle straps fairly tight to avoid excess air down there. I think another ring could be cut off the neck seal of the suit. To hold my light, I used a cheap goodman handle that I got ages ago from Dive Gear Express. It’s pretty flimsy though (cable ties to hold light head in place) so I’d like to replace it. I’d also like a better way of fixing the canister to my harness, though it does fit nice and snugly behind the weight pouch. I dived with the spool in one pocket and SMB in the other, instead of tucking the SMB up behind the backplate pad. I think this is better. Archis suggested putting the spool and SMB assembled into one pocket, which is a nice idea. I’m really looking forward to moving to long/short hose, and to get rid of the AAS being attached to the harness, but I’m going to have to wait until I do the fundies to do that.

Accumulated time underwater: 4 days, 5 hours and 57 minutes.

Dive #92: Camp Cove, Sydney

Place:Camp Cove Buddy:Simon, Ciara
Weather:Mild Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):7.3 Visibility (m):10
Time down:20:19 Dive time (mins):55
Average depth (m):4.5 Water temp. (C):16.0

Notes: Guided Tuesday night dive with Pro Dive Coogee. Went with Simon, Ciara, Maria and Johnny. Lead by Tony from the shop.

Price: $19 for the tank.

Diving: Nice, good vis. A cool decorator crab, baby cuttlefish, a seahorse, leatherjackets.

Equipment: Usual own stuff. 24 lb weight (probably more than necessary) for the hood and shallow depth.

Accumulated time underwater: 2 days, 11 hours and 36 minutes

Dive #75: A night dive on the S.S. President Coolidge, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Place:SS President Coolidge Buddy:Eithne
Weather:Beautiful Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):38.7 Visibility (m):20
Time down:18:00 Dive time (mins):32
Average depth (m):18.9 Water temp. (C):26.0

Notes: A night dive on the Coolidge. We four and another were led by a guide, David, to hang about a metre or two inside the entrance to the number 2 cargo hold. On this visit it was pitch black but for swirling patterns of flashing green lights emitted by the bioluminescent organs of hundreds of flashlight fish. All the time we watched, someone in the group- I think the guy who wasn’t one of us, or maybe the guide- was manically yodelling through his regulator. The combination of this yodelling, the swirling lights, some slight nitrogen narcosis and the general craziness of the whole thing made it a surreal experience and a complete delight.

Equipment: As previous dive.

Accumulated time underwater: 2 days, 0 hours and 23 minutes

Dive #66: Camp Cove, Sydney

Place:Camp Cove Buddy:Eithne
Weather:Fine Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):5.5 Visibility (m):10
Time down:19:54 Dive time (mins):59
Average depth (m):3.5 Water temp. (C):21.0

Notes: Nice pleasant, very shallow night dive with Pro Dive Coogee. Led by Tony from the shop. Very pleasant and relaxed all round. Lots of great fish: a big long thin pipe-like one, an octopus, an athletic Brittle Star and an invasion of Sea Urchins. Lovely surfacing to the city skyline. Bonus bbq to finish. $27 all up.

Equipment: All own gear except a Pro Dive tank.

Accumulated time underwater: 1 day, 17 hours and 56 minutes

Dive #63: Chowder bay at night

Place:Chowder Bay Buddy:Eithne
Weather:Showers Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):16.7 Visibility (m):3
Time down:19:27 Dive time (mins):49
Average depth (m):11.9 Water temp. (C):21.0

Notes: We went for a night dive to Chowder bay. After no night diving in ages, I thought it would be a good re-introduction since I know the site fairly well. We turned up at Plunge around 6pm, hung around for a while talking about gear and then got in the water at 7.30pm or so. The navigation went well, despite the general darkness and 3 m vis.- we descended close to the jetty and surfaced right beside it at the end. We saw some really nice wildlife, including decorator crabs, a moray eel in one of the sunken yachts, a baby port jackson shark, a pufferfish and plenty of cuttlefish. Most excitingly, we saw a ghost pipefish, beautiful and very rare in these parts, apparently. Back on shore for a friendly cup of tea and easter egg. Peter from Plunge knows something about the value of repeat business.

Equipment: All own gear. Rented steel tank, with the generous air-fill we’re used to from Plunge. Gave the new Barbolight U-04D torch a proper try. Not having made any measurements or meaningful comparisons, I can only make subjective statements about its performance. It was like the bat sign, shining it up into the rain. It was way brighter than the small Princeton Tec thing that Eithne rented. It was so bright that I had to shine it past my instruments to see them, rather than directly at them. The fish were signing up to be Ray-bans test subjects. On a more objective note, I can say that the torch came with a pouch to hold it and its other accessories. It also came with a belt pouch and a charger for the lithium ion battery that can run from a mains outlet or from a 12 V supply (with cigarette lighter connector included). Subjectively, I might add that these are all the accessories you’d want and they are beautiful. It might come across that this is my first good torch.

In other equipment-related news, we attached glow-sticks to the first-stages with cable ties, though this might be more useful if you had to identify your buddy in a group of divers. Anyway, it worked nicely and they glowed happily well into the night.

Accumulated time underwater: 1 day, 15 hours and 37 minutes

Dive #39: TSS Currajong, Sydney Harbour, Australia

Place:TSS Currajong Buddy:Herman (Pro Dive Guide)
Weather:Fine Type:Boat (Sea Life V)
Max. depth (m):23.1 Visibility (m):1
Time down:01:50 Dive time (mins):28
Average depth (m):0.0 Water temp. (C):0.0

Equipment: All my own gear except tank.

Notes: The TSS Currajong is a wreck in Sydney harbour which lies in the main incoming shipping channel for Sydney harbour. Pro Dive in Sydney seem to dive it regularly at night time, after the ferry services have stopped. Myself and Eithne booked ourselves on for the very early hours of January 4th, 2009. We were picked up at Rose bay, then the boat (Pro Dive’s Sea Live V) went to manly to pick up some more divers there, and then to the dive site.

Unfortunately, the bad visibility and a guide unprepared for bad visibility (nothing to distinguish him underwater, no contingency plans for regrouping, etc.) meant I saw very little of the TSS Currajong. I did enjoy the dive though- it was very nice underwater. Some clear jellyfish which reflected some beautiful colours in torchlight.

I also learnt a few things. (1) I need a backup torch, even in a group (mine was a bit dodgy, and turned itself off once or twice on the way down). In fact I need a primary torch now as well, as I lost mine (an Aqualung Lumen 6 – very cheap) sometime between surfacing and getting into the boat. It was held only on a crap lanyard, so I’ll blame that. Anyway, better and more numerous torches! (2) For night dives- some of those glow-sticks for easier identification of me and buddy. (3) A tank knocky thing to get people’s attention if necessary. (4) A whistle for my BCD- if I had needed to surface far from the boat, it would have been very useful in the dark.

Accumulated time under water: 22 hrs 54 mins

Dive #32: Beer Garden, GBR

Place:Beer Garden Buddy:Eithne
Weather: Type:Boat (Taka II)
Max. depth (m):15.7 Visibility (m):0
Time down: Dive time (mins):44
Average depth (m):0.0 Water temp. (C):0.0

Equipment: See previous.

Notes: Another lovely night dive. We woke a sleeping turtle.

Accumulated time under water: 17 hrs 39 mins

Dive #28: Clam Garden, GBR

Place:Clam Garden Buddy:Eithne
Weather: Type:Boat (Taka II)
Max. depth (m):16.7 Visibility (m):0
Time down: Dive time (mins):38
Average depth (m):0.0 Water temp. (C):0.0

Equipment: Same.

Notes: A garden of giant clams. At night.

Accumulated time under water: 14 hrs 41 mins

Dive #24: Challenger Bay, GBR

Place:Challenger Bay Buddy:Eithne
Weather: Type:Boat (Taka II)
Max. depth (m):15.8 Visibility (m):0
Time down: Dive time (mins):42
Average depth (m):0.0 Water temp. (C):0.0

Equipment: Same as all the other dives on this trip with an Aqualung Lumen 6 torch.

Notes: Back to the first dive site of the day to see it at night time. This was my first night dive from a boat and it was absolutely exhilarating. I found my number of hands insufficient to happily manage the camera and the torch in addition to their usual diving responsibilities, so I left the camera behind for the remaining night dives of this trip. See Dive #23 for photos.

Accumulated time under water: 11 hrs 53 mins

Dive #18: Shelly Beach, Manly, Australia

Place:Shelly Beach Buddy:Bud (from Pro Dive)
Weather:Dry, nice Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):7.3 Visibility (m):7
Time down:14:40 Dive time (mins):39
Average depth (m):0.0 Water temp. (C):0.0

Equipment: As #17, but with Technisub Lumen 6 torch.

Notes: Advanced PADI course, dive 3/5- “Night Dive”. Cuttlefish, cat fish, small fast blue fish. V. cool dive [!].

Shelly beach is at (33° 48′ 2.22″ S 151° 17′ 44.93″ E) and is shown here:


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Accumulated time under water: 4 hrs 21 mins