Not one but two dives to report this week. To begin with we had a mid-week break – the Eid falling on Monday and Tuesday – so we took grateful advantage with a dive on Tuesday to the Victoria Star. For the trip we were able to welcome back a couple of familiar faces not much seen these days. Denis Rooney’s last dive with us was on the Anchor Barge in January 2010. Since then he’s been in Saudi Arabia by way of Qatar and was over here for the holiday weekend. Soren Kjaer has no such excuse – he’s been here all along – but family commitments limit his diving which is not so unreasonable if you think about it.
It would be nice to report flat seas and spectacular viz but these things would only be true in a negative sense. We’ve been out in much worse sea conditions it’s true but the viz was spectacularly awful. We did manage to grope our way around and inside the wreck – Brian Lugg claimed the conditions were better in the engine room but Denis was not so sure. I think someone spotted a turtle through the murk but in truth this wasn’t one to remember. Still it beats working any day!
There was always going to be something planned for Friday but after a couple of weeks of dodgy conditions on this side, we decided an east coast trip might not be out of order. There were seven of us including Volker on his last dive before his summer break and Sergey who came with us to the Victoria Star in May but again doesn’t come out as often as he used to.
Being a late booking our choices were a bit limited but we got a place on the Sandy Beach boat which was going to Inchcape 2 and Martini Rock. On arrival we found the Inchcape 2 boat full up and we were not qualified to do Inchcape 1 which at 30m exceeded the depth limit for PADI Open Water which was the qualification that some of us had. Shortly afterwards we found ourselves on a boat heading for… Inchcape 1. What caused the change of heart I don’t know for sure but had they read the disclaimer forms and done some simple arithmetic they would have realised our combined diving experience was something approaching 3,000 dives. Enough, I guess, to do Inchcape 1 without damaging ourselves too badly.
Arriving at the dive site we found we’d been beaten to it by a boat called “Sanaf” from some outfit in Dubai whose name escapes me right now. The Inchcape 1 is a small vessel, deliberately sunk as a dive site and stripped of anything interesting. It is nevertheless a good dive. To begin with the viz was markedly better than the west coast has been recently, which after all was the whole point in going. It is also a different dive from the west coast wreck – covered in soft corals and with fishes that for the most part seem unconcerned with the presence of divers. Going down the line the first thing we saw was a mating pair of puffer fish that swam along with us for a while. There a short swim-through along the centre of the ship coming out of a forward hatch. Inside is an aquarium of small fish that have to be pushed out of the way. Being a popular dive site, there were four boats in total meaning there were a lot of divers in the water in a small space. If you hanker for a solitary diving experience, the Inchcapes are not it but after the last couple of weeks it was nice to able to see the wreck we were diving on.
The second dive was the Pinnacles. The surface interval was minimal but the site is so shallow as to make the dive an extended safety stop. The viz was not as good as the Inchcape but there was some good things to be seen including a couple of seahorses some pipefish and the usual reef fishes, some in very dense shoals. After a relaxing hour or so underwater, we headed back to shore for a bite to eat and a couple of glasses of decompression fluid.
There are a few of away over the next couple of weeks including myself however I will be checking emails and will try and get a message out as normal. I’m confident that any crimes or misdemeanours against good diving practice will be reported to me so that the good news can be passed on.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.