Bluff and Jin
First a warm welcome to the new divers on the boat, our new old divers, our regular divers and our old divers. A Saturday dive and a trial with DA on a new boat. The boat was good, lots of room, cooler box - sorted. So far so good, ADM and DM conferred and chose Bluff Island on account of some wind. Bluff has a fabled drop off to 6 metres, if you swim north for ages, oh and some coral corralled behind yellow pyramid shaped buoys. The average depth was around 4 metres making for long dives all round. It proved to be a popular spot and several regular boats had chosen the same site, along with the bicycle diver club and windmill scuba. Which reduced some dubious viz down in patches from 3metres to less than 1. The flat coral was much the same, with skittish fish disappearing into the murk. Sights included a cuttlefish, a black nudibranc, the usual suspect fish and a Niven. This is a species seldom seen twice in the same location, dive or equipment; but it was seen twice apparently free from flooding, technical issues, zorb moisture and still breathing on return to the boat. He won biggest fin competition also with his low volume slip on paddles. There were some technical issues with Mr Smiths infamous white mask. Excessive water ingress apparently. There were some uncharitable comments made on the cause of the flooding, chief among which was a suggestion water was pouring in along one of many wrinkles. Divers with many years of experience provided their knowledge on the problem. However these were treated with distain by our ADM.
A discussion was held on the choice of site and Bluff was rejected in favour of Jin Island for dive two. Jin is more of a boulder strewn site with large rocks and outcrops sloping to a sandy/silt bottom at 6+ metres. Average depth was nearer 6-8 metres, unless you wanted to head into the deep and a long swim to 15 metres and sand as far as you can see. The viz improved to 3-5 metres with this more interesting site. There were shoals of yellow butterfly fish, an odd spotted grouper, an octopus was seen, crabs and clown fish… We found an artillery shell with brass detonator and numbering still in place and left it. Lets get it over with. Clown fish, aggressive attention seeking fish that are willing to attack “predators” many times their own size. One of which savaged the tip of my finger, causing a sudden instinctive reaction of alarm and withdrawal of said digit. The offended hand thus struck an animal of the genus Echinoidea, embedding several spines during the collision. Clown fish are not funny, contrary to popular myth, nether do they taste funny. They are delicious and I now endorse the killing of these fish at any opportunity for snacks or generally. The reaction to the spines over the next several hours was interesting. Take a rubber glove, inflate and you have the state of my hand. Add a purple rash and blisters and make if feel like your have broken fingers and they wont bend and you have the classic symptoms of Urchinus embedidermus.
Enough of my problems, back to James. Hampered by further mask flooding the white mask was replaced after a degree of surface flapping mid-way through the dive. It had been suggested that chewing gum, blu-tak, glue, and other pliable substances could be used to stem the water flow into the mask. Plastic surgery, although a future option seemed to be expensive and was not immediately available. The mask clearing skills were practiced in anger and we were witness to a fine example of mask squeeze and rouge-ness, post dive. All to no avail apparently, the flood continued unabated even with a different mask. The new mask was promptly dropped and recovered, along with several other saves by his buddy. More of him later. It would not be a proper dive with Mr S dropping something for comedy value, thankfully recovered on this occasion. It was a good day out, sunny weather and reasonable visibility and things to see. Mr Pang enjoyed his trip, falling for comic effect as we unloaded the boat. For a try out the boat got full marks. Hopefully we can come to an arrangement for more trips next year.