The car-park was full by 0730 but we all managed to get a spot. The boat was scheduled to come early and it did, but several of the divers were late. This was apparently due to the Saudi King Bin- Scoffin Belshaw, al saud packing twelve limousines, 9 camel, four sand dunes, two tents, 650 tonnes of personal luggage, an escalator, a dive kit and twelve spare “emergency” back up dive kits. We cast off at 0845 and headed south of Jin Island for the rocks at the back end. It was a bit lumpy with low swell, so emergency back up plan B was to head for Bay Islet away from the swell.
This is a small island off Tiu Chung Chau and new. We chose an interesting looking rock on the corner and went for a look. The site is a steep rock face with boulders and broken rock down to around 17 metres and a silty sea floor. There was a murky top layer to about 4 metres which largely cleared out until you get deeper. We dived a staggered wave with everyone opting to go deeper on the first dive. There was some soft coral, the usual suspects fish and we saw a white eyed moray, not to be confused with a snake or garden hose. We saw an octopuses garden with a large female guarding eggs secured to the roof of a crevice. There were several cowrie shells and shoals of fish heading away from the lights. The water is still a brisk 16 degrees so we were all out within 50 minutes.
For dive 2 we had an eye on lunch at Rocky harbour, so with an hour gone, the staggered wave began again so we could be back for lunch. There were reports of lots of nudibranc on the rock wall around 8 metres. We all went in for a shallow dive to around 10 metres maximum and there were several nudibrancs grazing on the rocks. There was also some coral hard and soft, with shoals of fish swimming about. I was starving and more interested in lunch to be frank and deliberately used a tank with 160 bar. Some orange ones and a Fabulous one and some other slugs. See the pictures and be amazed.
We have just crept past the two month stage of 2017 and it is probably time to report on the dive league table and number of dives performed. Some people have yet to get off the ground (where are you fair weather divers?), others have one dive. From the top Cath is jointly in the lead with me with 9 dives, Mark and Jo have 8, Mike is way behind on 7 and Rob has 6. Philip has 5, Patrick 4 along with “also ran” Alex with 2. It is moving into the warmer air temperatures, so getting into April it is your chance to catch up.
All back on-board we headed for Rocky Harbour to eat things we had been looking at earlier, all washed down with cooking lager and Italian pissecho. There was banter on the dive and the trip to look at birds next week. White bread and a fistful of butter is apparently excellent for Russian birds. Hopefully we can have a bit of roast duck and chicken after that. Lunch finished, Italian Vienetta Cornetto Ice cream (you can’t get more Italian than that)and back to the boat. The boat trip back was again interrupted by the drone. D-Day is a growing nearer by the day by statistical probability; Or in layman’s terms Drone Day, the day it hits a beach, something solid or the water. Get your camera’s ready, there will be a special photography section at the Christmas party…. A good day and the sun came out in the end.
More photos here...