Wang Chau – Hiding North West in southerlies and Lots of Rain
Rain Did not dampen the full boat on Sunday, unless you stood in it or were diving. We had 19 divers and one irritating passenger. There is nothing worse than a frustrated diver, turned paparazzi, DM without portfolio and buzzing drone driver. Many people have asked, why Wang Chau. I say it is very interesting, fascinating and not at all boring. Wang Chau is part of the Early Cretaceous Kau Sai Chau Volcanic Group and the smallest amongst the Ung Kong Islands. The highest point is merely 80 metres above sea level . I say interesting and fascinating etc. in the same way Mike is.
We set off from the public pier in Sai Kung and looked at the brown Windsor waters, which didn’t improve until past shelter island. There was then blue mixed water and brown until we got on the west side of Wang Chau (WC). On the seaward side, the viz look good. This was confirmed, you could see the bottom at 7 metres, although it was patchy. Vis was averaging 2-3 metres, but opened up to 7-8 metres at times or went to one metre dropping below the thermocline at 8/10 metres, where it was milky and colder.
The boat was full of trainees, newbies and gnarlies. Seven trainees including the DM, three new divers and nine gnarlies. Not to be confused with wrinklies, although Mr Smith was having a bit of trouble making sure his mask was fitting over all the “experience” lines. Jimmy Hendrix coined the album, “are you experienced” after speaking with James, fifty years ago. It’s only got worse. He’s like the secret love child of Keith Richards and Mother Teresa.
We worked on two waves. One largely training and the other chaperones. Training was compass, DSMB, Deco in the main with a lot of fish spotting. The North/West side of the island drops from 5 metres close to the cliff down a rocky slope on towards 20 metres, although no-one bothered swimming too deep as the visibility and scenery dropped off pretty rapidly. Rocky out crops and channels run down the side of the island with square rocks and cobles in places. There are some pieces of hard and soft coral. Because of all the nooks and crannies and passing water there were large shoals of fish and the odd crab and nudibranch.
There were shoals of bait fish, followed by flute fish. The odd lion fish , sweetlips and some reasonable sized grouper. Orange and blue/black striped nudi’s were seen, cushion star and large sun stars. It was a good site and one to remember. A large stingray was also seen.
Second dive we went a little further north west along the island, maybe 500 metres, close to the first gap between the islands, which is filled with cobble. We headed close in before swimming on a 150 bearing with right shoulder to the rock. There are gullies and out crops with broken boulder heading south. The fish shoals were bigger with lots of bait fish again and then wrasse, sweetlips, snapper and grouper, up above were chevron barracuda. There was quite a lot of bigger fish, which was unusual. Heading back on 330, we reached the gap through the islands which has large boulders, leading to cobles. There is the remains of a container on the bottom and lots of plastic bottles caught in gullies. The rubbish washed on the shore is similar underneath.
For an unpromising start, it turned out to be a good day and a good dive. The on-board Pap was taking pictures of anything that moved and complaining about his models constantly. No doubt there will be one printable picture among all the pictures with fingers in the way, blurred shots and heads cropped off. He clearly needs to get used to the functions, how many times did he say can you do that again. A big thanks to our trainers and minders. Trainer Cath was able to walk better with fins on than the heels she was wearing on Friday night. You had to be there, but imagine Tina Turner trying to make it to a toilet with a King Kong’s finger.
And thank you to our new divers. We hope to see you again. The last and biggest thank you to Nicola, who had a busy week sorting a busy boat. Until next time - 9th July is a small boat trip, book early.