Credit: Mark Kelly
We had a great day of diving which was superbly organised by Dive Manager Cathryn. Some special days like this, it all comes together and you have a great dive. The weather was great, sunny and calm. Walking down to the ferry pier in the morning I was greeted by flat calm water! Plan A on Thursday night was to dive the ARs in Hoi Ha Wan, but there are three top dives in HK and when conditions are right you have to go for it! Whenever possible dive Breakers Reef, One Foot Rock or Victor Rock. So we were on for Breakers.
Vans loaded and coffees quaffed we headed off. Gearing up on Mr Tsui's fish farm we were glad to see that all tanks were 'very full' and we enjoyed a fantastic ride down To Lo Harbour, having 12 divers we had two speedboats, with Mr Tsui and his mate, or right-hand man. We really need to do more speedboat dives when conditions are good. It was a hot day and gearing up on a rolling small boat we were all looking forward to getting below the thermocline. We jumped in about 30m south of the main pinnacle, but the reef was clear below us under the boat, so the vis looked great from the surface. Judging by the photo that he shared I think that Mike is very keen to advertise that we had TWO boats!
Breakers was gin-clear above 8m with big schools of small fish on show, but it was milky below 10m and very cold, round about 23oC I think but I didn’t stay down long enough for the computer to adjust. So just like the recent weather it was quite a polarised dive. Bigger stuff spotted was a couple of Painted Sweetlips and a few wrasse and an octopus, but to the honest although it was a great dive and a very picturesque dive I would have hoped to see a few more bigger fish on this dive site.
For the second dive we headed into Hoi Ha Wan and the first couple of pairs descended onto the pair on ARs on the East side of Hoi Ha Wan, but before long they were back at the surface. Lord Belshaw declared that it was too cold, too dark, too murky and too scary, so debating between a plan C of the WWF Oil Rig or the coral fringe, we went for the shallow fringing coral reef. This was a regular and popular dive in the past when we dived on Hong's junk, with large coral bommies and lots of nudibranches. It was a very different reef now, large areas of Pavona dominates the other corals. However, the pavonas are hosting lots of juvenile garoupas and crabs. The old bommies have struggled in recent years and most are dead and covered in algae, but some are recovering. SWIMS from HKU have started a coral restoration programme trying to grow communities of different corals to repopulate the reef and have set up a couple of coral farms around 4m. It is a bit strange to see corals zip tied on, but if it works it works and there is definitely places where the coral is re-growing.
Having used about 50bar on a one-hour dive mainly at 3m, these was a bit of chat about a cheeky third dive, but we decided to stick with the plan and head back for the lunch we had booked with Mr Tsui. Lunch was prepared as we washed our dive gear and so we sat down for a late lunch at 3pm having done two dives, washed gear and with a cold beer in hand – now that’s what I call diving! Lunch was of course fantastic and Eppie could not contain a little squeal of delight as the crab arrived!
So all in a fabulous day of sun, fun, diving, great viz, some bad viz, lots of coral and a great lunch! Thank you Catheryn!