There were warnings: We’re working not having fun. The site is a mud bath. The viz is non-existent. There’s a storm coming. Do not be late for lunch! Still, six determined (or foolish) divers were undeterred from their worthy mission of verifying the health of the Hong Kong reefs.
It was a promising day as the little team assembled on the pier, eagerly anticipating the day of diving ahead. Ok, ok… in the café seeking a last minute caffeine hit and strategizing how best to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. A tweak to the plan meant we were on our way to gear up sans tanks, saving precious minutes by stopping at the pier on the way to the dive site to pick up the all-important cans of air.
And after a whirlwind of activity gearing up and a quick stroll along the pier in wetsuits, we were off. The weather gods were playing nice for once with calms seas and the sun peeking through the clouds. Fish cards were studied, metres counted, skipped, recounted and survey notes duly consulted – with all but the DM looking on in well-meaning confusion. Before long we were at the dive site – Cow What Now?? – and the 100m line was laid. The air was ringing with exalted cries of divers seeing fins and bubbles at depths of more than 2m and, daring surface dwellers whispered, even 3m.
It was true. The viz reached a vast 4m so we were all able to see… nothing. The subject of the survey was suspiciously AWOL – no coral, no indicator fish species and no living mussel bed. At least the litter floating on the surface hadn’t made it to the sea floor either. After 40 mins or so of spotting small gobies, a few crabs and a 30m ghost net, the buddy pairs surfaced and we were on our way back in record time.
Clearly, the threat of retribution for a tardy lunch arrival quashed any innate urge to faff on the boat or at any other point in the day. We were back on dry land 45 minutes early with the litter categorised, forms duly completed and gear stowed away. Reef check – done!
Lunch was served at 2pm sharp and in the company of 2 of the land based support crew, the hungry team tucked into a delicious meal and donned t-shirts for a celebratory photo to commemorate the occasion. Proof of a reef check conducted with clinical precision – thanks to Alex and Rob for organising and to the willing volunteers for their help on the day. Until next time!