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South side intrigue and mystery in Davy Jones locker.

Winter diving in Hong Kong – The art of looking at very little, at great expense while being cold, wet and miserable. However we were not that miserable and we did see a few things. The rest is largely true however.

A great deal of preparation and discussion took place to plan and execute a survey of the sea-floor and determine if we had really seen any chain anchors and other metal work last year. Foregoing the suntan, on a given signal wave one took to the water and straight away began line laying, for a bit on a bearing, taking a 90 degree turn , continue for a bit and then returning to that original bearing. Buoys were deployed at intervals to mark the start position. One of which was rescued before wave one returned to the boat, another buoy was saved in wave two. Too many expensive cave courses and not paying attention on knotty night. Needs work… Clearly.

Wave two had a false start and some swimming practice, but eventually managed to do some surveying. The start of the line had some chain and a windlass with some pipework. There looks to be bunch of iron work in a cluster where the baseline started. Along the line was a nudibranc, but apparently not a great deal else in the mid section. However there was an anchor and some pig iron found mid-way by the other team sweeping wider down the survey channel. After the international signal for race you to the surface and safety stops are for wussies. We got back to the top to more subtropical weather. The drifters made an appearance and were towed back using some nautical string. The current was sweeping past, so getting a bit to far away from the land and you were starting to struggle.

Second dive and we went to the far end of the line and had a look at the chain and anchors. There is again some pipework and plumbing, all of which was measured off. There is a large cluster of iron in this area, which needs a bit of time spent on it. At the extreme end of the site we again found another anchor. This was without the arms and flukes missing from the shank. Kate Winslet was seen near the “bow” of the ship, although it did look like a big rock. On the day we had 3 extremely brave wet-suit divers who endured 16 degrees twice to carry on surveying. Keying the varnish along the side of the boat with their nipples, getting back onboard. It took a while for them to be able to speak. GONADS for the project name may not be appropriate, they were probably lost for several hours on Sunday.

A good day, good viz and a successful overview of the site. More to follow, with detailed surveys of the different areas. The water was down to 16 degrees, making it tough to keep warm. Dry-suits rule at the minute, even if moving about is restrictive. Next week we are in Sai Kung looking at cold fish. Chris

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