We had an early start on Saturday. Everyone had turned up before the published departure time, except the DM and his friend. Divers were on the boat, with tanks and gear set up, already wondering about the quality of the DM and the promises for the day. He blamed the car, but it is likely to be some self inflicted reason or the maid tidying equipment in the wrong place. We had 8 divers and a VIP passenger, so we had to avoid any embarrassing comments about Maddy. I think we got away with it, most of the time. We had a new dry-suit diver Dan, trying out Toaboa’s finest technical suit. Along with an old semi-dry diver.
There was the obligatory briefing by the DM and several questions from the floor. It is debatable if there was any satisfactory answers but we were interrupted with a bag overboard drill by the DM’s friend. It may have been an omen, even the dive bags wanted to jump overboard or escape, or simply a well timed distraction to avoid the questions from the floor. After a handbrake turn the bag was retrieved. The dive site was chosen from the manifold permutations and we headed for See Chau Island and the promised 7 metre visibility and warm Sunshine. Immediately it began to drizzle. We split in two waves, with the task loaded contingent jumping in second. This at least allowed the canaries to test the water temperature – cold 16 degrees and the initial reports on the dive site and visibility – Rubbish.
See Chau is soft sand and mud deeper down and rock and coarse sand heading towards the island with larger boulders getting towards 10 metres and less. We had around 2-3 metres visibility, but there was little to see. An odd rabbit fish, some damsel fish and apparently a sweet lips. There were a few urchins, an odd starfish, clown fish and lots of rocks. Back on the boat, the chosen dive site was described as the only site that could be improved with poor visibility. The DM continued to defend the indefensible, but it was simply appalling and boring. Bowing to pressure and a near mutiny we were promised an even better site, seldom seen and rarely visited. Where the sights and visibility were a wonder in Hong Kong. The DM was promised a fair trial and the choice of the plank or keel hauling if it turned out to be pants. We headed back into Clearwater Bay and what was suspiciously looking like Jin Island, things were not looking good for the defendant.
We anchored again and enquired about the dive site, the depth, the sights anything. All of which were unknown. Not that it was a place new to science, but because the DM was clueless. It was Jin Island. You may be thinking that there is some sort of theme developing and you’d be right. The sun came out and so did the drone. God had clearly forsake us, we could only hope there would be an incident to cheer us up with said flying irritant, but there wasn’t. The second dive was near a Bay. Most opted for using the anchor which hit sand with a thin layer of silt. David set a high bar in navigating back to the anchor, so wave two had it all to play for. The sand was at around 14 metres and gradually sloped to smaller rocks and cobbles at around 10-11 metres, shallower still were larger rocks and boulders. It is obviously too cold for most fish to bother leaving the house. There wasn’t a great deal to see, similar to the fist dive perhaps. I should mention there were a lot of jelly fish that were determined to tangle themselves on anything. Two of the divers spent most of the day name dropping their holiday destination at Easter and the type of lenses they might need to use to capture some of the larger fauna. The theme of losing stuff continued for the DM and his friend, returning without a branded lens cover. There is a god after all.
Wave two managed to find the anchor again, so there was no further discussion on the high standards of navigation for the day. Alex lost his compass, so he had an excuse. After a distinctly average dive there were questions about the advertisement of the trip, the hype and possible mental issues in describing the dive in advance. As a northerner, the dull, grey, damp and dreary may seem interesting. But having seen the amount of heaters and thermal insulation used, the DM cannot possibly call himself northern. He’s clearly tapped. He suit barely fit him, which was either wearing too much underneath or some other factor taking up space. Multiple pies, his suit shrinkage, or it was always this snug because he sent in flattering measurements. He couldn’t move.
Thanks everyone for a great day in trying circumstances with the DM. We managed to get out, get wet and see a bit. It can only improve, the standard is clearly incredibly low at present. On the plus side we did get 2-3 metre viz (not 7), so we are seeing an average amount. It is also getting warmer and we all caught a bit of sun. The wind and swell were good on Saturday, so we should hopefully see a rise in temperature and the return of the blue water, with an increase in water temperatures. Check out the calendar for the next trip, they are coming thick and fast now.