Archive for April 2010

Dive #65: The Gap, Sydney

Place:The Gap Buddy:Eithne
Weather:Fine Type:Boat (Sea Life V)
Max. depth (m):20.1 Visibility (m):10
Time down:11:30 Dive time (mins):44
Average depth (m):11.3 Water temp. (C):19.0

Notes: This was the second of a Pro Dive double. Bit cold on this one. A hooded vest would have been nice. Some randomer lost his buddy and decided the best thing to do would be to latch on to us. Simon had a go at releasing his SMB from the bottom. I would have too only for my spool difficulties on the previous dive.

Equipment: All own gear except a Pro Dive tank. Airfill: 210 bar.

Accumulated time underwater: 1 day, 16 hours and 57 minutes

Dive #64: Dee Why Wide

Place:Dee Why Wide Buddy:Eithne
Weather:Fine Type:Boat (Sea Life V)
Max. depth (m):28.0 Visibility (m):10
Time down:09:26 Dive time (mins):36
Average depth (m):19.8 Water temp. (C):19.0

Notes: This was the first of a Pro Dive double dive, and the 3rd of 5 such trips that we bought in advance. The boat was pleasantly less packed than usual, though they still struggled to have enough weight for everyone. We four had never been to this site before so we dived as part of a sextet. The other two were the guide Nick and a remarkable man called Pete that dives despite not having the use of his legs.

Just off the boat, loitering by the mermaid line while the others got in, my spool became un-hooked so that the end of the cord was still attached to my BCD but the spool itself hovered about 2 metres below the water happily unwinding. I watched helplessly. After a few attempts to retrieve it I was inside a great knot with one fin tied to my head. Simon came to the help and it seemed like a week later when I was untangled and I sheepishly handing the giant bundle of cord to someone on the boat.

Down then at the bottom, Pete and Nick immediately began slapping each other. Nick was trying to hook a camera on to Pete who was having none of it. After a bit, Pete seemed to have won because Nick held on to it. A while later Eithne and I noticed the same camera floating up away from Nick, unnoticed by him. We motored over and conveyed the news. He looked alarmed, then indicated that Pete was now my buddy and swam off to try and recover the camera. He came back after a few minutes and we had a bit more of a look around before ascending by the anchor. The vis. was good but I was a bit too distracted to see much on this dive.

Overall then, not great. The spool management issue was something to be learned from; it needs to be really tightly wound and hooked properly. However, the rest of the dive was something to be avoided, not learnt from. I think safety was compromised. Firstly, Nick and Pete were a buddy pair. This seems a bit strange to me because it appeared that Pete would be unable to help if Nick got in trouble; he was to be very uncomfortable on the surface and needed assistance descending and ascending. There’s no way he could have performed a controlled ascent, for instance, if Nick was in trouble. Also, during the dive Nick headed off to get the camera and left Pete buddied with me when I had no idea what special attention Pete might need, not to mention the fact that I already had a buddy. He put equipment retrieval ahead of safety.

Equipment: All own gear except a Pro Dive tank. Ok airfill this time- 210 bar. Spool issues as mentioned above. Camera batteries were dead to begin with. Need new rechargeables.

Accumulated time underwater: 1 day, 16 hours and 13 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