Star date Saturday 14th January 2017, a magnificent 7 braved the chills of a miserable looking January day for the first trip of the year and were rewarded with good visibility and twerking.
It was a bit dull and drizzly even before Mike turned up, but the sun started to shine when he got his drone out. It was impressive, right up to the point he mentioned it would “take a few minutes for configuration” and the audience walked off bored. It made a noise like a broken fridge and didn’t crash. So it scored quite low for entertainment. The boat was loaded in record time and we set off before 9am. Tanks all ready, it was just a matter of spreading out and kitting up at leisure.
We headed for bluff, but not as you know it, round the other side. The boat was in about 20 metres of water, most of us opted to swim in towards the shore, before heading under. Some didn’t. Down at 20 metres there was some big boulders, some fish squirting about and some soft coral. We saw some cleaner prawn, a starfish eating a dead fish, cleaner wrasse and several usual suspects. The boulders were interesting and hiding small stuff, and the viz was around 5-6 metres. Most of the green plankton life has disappeared, making the water clear. There are several pieces of discarded net to keep an eye out for.
Phil and Haley had opted for the tropical wet suit approach to survive the 19/20 degrees in the water. Whilst the rest were in dry-suits. Anyone with a dry-suit will know, the description is misleading. Usually on any given dive, there is someone experiencing the wonders of a wetsuit, in a dry-suit. My shoulder dump introduced a steady trickle of water for a full 40 minutes, rendering the warming effects of an under-suit near useless. However in order to warm up, once on the surface, some excessive inflation and a bit of provocative dancing did the trick. It was only a 4 pint leak, which ended up in my socks.
Dive two and we went to the usual spot at bluff and the protected coral. This is several hundred metres of stag horn and a bit of other flat coral at 3-5 metres. The ADM vigil is a lonely one, watching rising rings of bubbles in soggy clothes. There was a lot of small fish about and because of the extreme depth, dives approaching an hour, even for the wet- suitists. All safely back onboard for pot noodles and tea.
A combination of small numbers, single tanks and short travel distance meant we were finished by 3pm. An early return and a good days diving. The visability is pretty good in Clearwater Bay and there are plenty of shivering fish to see. The new boat works well, the car-park had spaces till nearer 9am, but maybe an issue as the temperatures warm up.