I‘m usually on the receiving end of cheeky remarks from other dive reporters, and unfortunately I don’t have a chance to respond back because this week just so happens to be a small boat with the main offenders not to joining it. At least I can confirm the lucky 6 that did join the boat had a great day, and tough luck to all you that missed out.
It was an early start, 7.10am to be precise at Pier 3, Central. John the Van Man was spot on with his timing, no hassle whatsoever, and in 30 mins we arrived at Sam Mun Tsai Village Pier, with the tanks and boat ready to transport us to the floating fish farm.
Choice of equipment today was side mount for convenience. Once the tanks are set up before departing, no faffing around later on such as trying to swap out single tanks, balancing on one foot stepping over gear and bodies. The 200HP engine on the back of a small boat going 25 knots (46km/h) made sure we didn’t waste time reaching the dive sites.
The first dive site was a revisit to a site we checked out last time, see map. Visibility proved to be a decent 3-5m in the top 8m but below this depth, it started to close in to 1m, and so did the water temperature, dropping to 24 degrees. A Danny Kwok / Wah Shing dive shop 5mm dive suit with vest proved to be a good choice and well recommended for these conditions. The trouble with this dive site is that it’s a series of mounds / pinnacles that are 6m below the surface, so although there’s loads to see, unless you can jump to each mound / pinnacle in the gloom, it was challenge to stay in the good visibility. Also noted the freshwater haloclines indicating a lot of rainwater mixed in with the saltwater.
We saw lots, loads of damsel fish, lionfish, stone fish, juvenile sweet lips, hawk fish and varieties of nudis. Rob’s team found a big ray, meanwhile I had my dive buddy do a variety of poses for the camera. On the safety stop, the current was starting to run but the speed boat meant it stayed in touch with the DSMB.
Back onboard, our dive leader Rob, showing the aftereffects of another adventurous food intake the day before immediately opted out of the 2nddive. Noting the decent visibility in the top layers, a call was made to dive shallow and the ideal spot being Crescent Island. It only took 10 mins to reach the site, compared to a junk which would take 3 times as long.
Stu decided he would bring out his newly modified, bells and whistles dive helmet for us all to stir at and ask ‘why?’. So much for all the lights illuminating on top of his head, we lost him in 2 mins after starting the dive, never to be seen again!. This dive was a good contrast to the first being shallow and full of soft and hard corals. Again loads to see and plenty of photo opportunities.