Diving Rocks - Victor and One Foot
There are two big rocks off Hong Kong that require the right conditions to get near them. Last Sunday we managed just that. Sailing from Aberdeen Boat Club the weather and sea conditions were Goldilocks right and we headed past Nine Pins to Victor rock. The rock is just past a permanent beacon and surrounded by fishing boats. Using the echo sounder we managed to drop the shot right on the top of the rock. The anchor was dropped deeper and into the current and we paid out line to rest adjacent to the shot buoy, much to the disgust of the fishermen.
We plopped in in two waves. The faff free single tankers in A wave and the re-breather/Others in B. The top of the rock has a flat top about 5 metres below the surface with a second lower plateau around 13 metres below that. The rock drops down to the seabed around 25+ metres. On the day we had blue water down to 15-17 metres, with silty cold water below the warmer blue. Visibility was 10-15 metres.
The rock has lots of gullies, cracks and overhangs supporting soft coral, fans and some hard coral. In the shallows were barracuda, some big jellies and shoals of fusilier fish. We also saw 6 jack patrolling around. Lower down a large black ray was seen, lion fish, lobster, large angel yellow fish, emperor angel fish, box fish and lots of the usual suspects. The brave and foolish navigated around the rock at about 15 metres, fighting the current and keeping close in. Others stayed on the plateau near the anchor line. It wasn’t a day to get lost. More of that later.
The wind and tide had picked up, so we started getting a few white horses and it was starting to run a bit after low water. We decided to move to One foot Rock. The water was still blue and slightly less challenging. Wave one went in first. The viz was slightly less, a horrid 10+ metres of blue. Navigation to the top of the rock was a bit awf, so we were down at 17 metres among boulders. Never trust a first class diver, if they say head west, check. One foot was definitely not west. 4 lobsters in one dive, hawk fish, flute fish and some other stuff. If you miss one foot rock, the bottom is still interesting, lots of boulders and life all over. The trick on dive two, with being in the open sea in a bit of current was not to lose the anchor line. It is a skill mastered over many years.
The A wave managed in two separate navigational feet’s to swim a full 30 minutes away from the line and still find it. Unfortunately in wave B, it was a different story. The bubbles came close, but they continued west, before we watched the drifting dsmb head off for the horizon. When they all finally surfaced, we luckily had another spare first class diver who sat out with “wet lungs”. He was able to swim out a line to the wayward party in order that we could begin opening beer and mocking.
A great day, two rocks in one day and some of the best visibility in a long while. For those jealous of missing the dive, sign yourself up in future or write to Mike “I’m happy with my navigation” Belshaw @ unplanned deco dot com. For any remedial shot line work, see Paul “I’m sure I tied that properly” Bayne @ lost with Belshaw dot com.