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South to Waglan – The Daring tale of man/woman versus the deep

The lighthouse at Waglan was constructed in 1893 and is one of five lighthouses constructed before the war, yawn. The tower is constructed of a cylindrical cast iron and is 16 boring metres in height. Christ on a bike, it emits two white flashes every 20 seconds or two blasts every 60 seconds in fog. It has a white tower and a red band, no more I can’t take it, under the light balcony. Tediously dull, uninteresting, and boring as it is, you did not have to share a boat with Mike Belshaw.

The jetty was busy at the ABC, but we got away on time loaded with plenty of tanks, air and butties. We headed off with 7 divers on Kidusi - Plan A was to head out towards Ninepins, but see how lumpy it was outside. Once we got past the shelter of Lamma we were slowed down a fair bit by lumps and decided that we would head a bit closer. It turned out Waglan was a good choice, on the S.West side close to the jetty. It meant we could look around a small islet and the jetty from the anchor position. There were also several passengers who were beginning to go quiet, stare at the horizon, turn pale, contemplate checking the wheels on the boat and feeding the fishes with Shreddies.

It is that traditional time of year when Formula one divers argue whether they will go dry or wet, choosing the appropriate rubber based on temperature. It was 26 degrees in the water down to 10 metres, with a bit of shimmer where it was mixing with colder water. Below this it dropped to maybe 24 degrees. Those in wet-suits won the race, avoiding the silly amount of faff, weight and gear, plus the additional sweating. It’s wet suit season, you heard it here first.

We went in three staggered waves, so we had top cover all the time. The depth under the boat was around 10 metres with course sand and several large boulders scattered about. The island drops steeply into the sea and there are several large boulders closer in which give way to smaller broken rocks heading deeper with the odd whopper stone. The bottom drops slowly around the jetty before dropping deeper.. There are plenty of gaps and crevices for fish. Heading north the jetty is set on a concrete plinth that you hit at around 4 metres. There is a lot of old and new pieces of jetty, hand rails and scaffold that has been thrown in which acts as a marker. Past the jetty is more broken rocks and outcrops to the break in the island which has more course sand and large sand ripples and some surge. To the south is a small islet with a few rocks breaking the surface. Underneath there are several gullies and large rocks with hard and soft coral in places. The depth around the coast was a maximum of 12 metres, but does drop off quickly on the corner, but the visibility dropped and the current picked up straying out too far also.

What did we see. There were lots of small fish in shoals, several moray, including a big one. There were several sweetlips, larger angel fish, file fish, squat lobster, prawns, crabs and hermits. The rocks and sandy bottom had a lot of different nudibranchs, including a big one that was sort of sea hare style nudi. There was something that may have been a dragonet, frog fish or caravanette. It had legs and looked fishy. We all performed two dives and spent a good hour in the water, proving it was warm to the dry-suit fools. We all had two dives trundling up and down.

The sun came out and beer was opened, crisps were consumed and cake scoffed on the way back. Our oldest diver pretended he was asleep. There was a discussion on who would take down the dive flag and heave in the anchor- all in a days work for a competent DM. All back to the ABC, where interesting conversations were taking place on the jetty and steps, which I’m sure were as fascinating Mikes facts, but did get in the way when trying to carry gear to the carpark. Next week is DA, which should be a good day, warm with good viz.

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