After several key people were unable to dive, what started as the SCDC's annual reef check for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department became a dry (wet?) run for the club's upcoming trip to Christmas Island. On September 17, six divers braved scorching sun and "very unhealthy" air pollution for two dives near Tolo Harbor and the Mainland boundary.
Mr Tsui sped us from Sam Mun Tsai's fish farms to the marine park at Tung Ping Chau. Above the waterline, Tung Ping Chau's scenery was as impressive as you'd expect inside the Hong Kong Global Geopark. But other than a Chinese bowl captured on video by Rob, there wasn't much to see below the waves. Visibility was 1–3 meters, the bottom was sandy, seas were flat and the water was a balmy 29C.
Our fortunes soon improved. In search of better viz, the ever-cheerful Mr Tsui took us to Pak Sha Chau, where we were entertained by a lone dolphin. Despite his distance from Lan Kwai Fong, Maddy suggested Flipper was a young male in search of adventure.
Dive No. 2 was on Hoi Ha Wan's artificial reefs. Visibility was unchanged, but the truck tires and wrecks were teeming with fish, including barracuda. With Rob's help, DM Catheryn recovered a pair of rare 21st century–era lead Weights. Sotheby's could not be reached for comment.
The day ended with a fresh-from-the-water seafood lunch, where we belatedly toasted a pair of Leo birthdays and the magic chop that officially recognized Nicky as a Dive Leader.
And with that, the Christmas Island countdown continued...