The weather has calmed down and we can plan normal again. But for the last ten day we had no current on Protea Banks. This makes the life of a divemaster rather difficult. Hardly any hammerheads and zams to be seen. And if we have cloud cover, we don’t even have the reference of the sun to tell us where to go. Not that this matters much in a no current situation anyway, but one can’t shake off the feeling that one just swims round and round in circles….
Lucky, we still have lots and lots of raggies on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. Everyone loves the caves full of sandtiger sharks and the passages and tunnels along the path. We do stay a bit deeper for a bit longer but we do so fully aware and planned. Once we leave the bottom we get into the murky water zone with not much to see.
Got some tough German Kommando Divers with me at the moment. Love diving with Big Boys and really want to show them Protea at her best….only she is being a typical female again….damn !!
Ja, so this rebreather weekend was a bit of a disaster for me and my machine. The following days were absolutely perfect though. It really looked like it had something to do with stress. These machines do not like stress !!!
The next four dives were excellent until yesterday it showed me a malfunction again. It looks like i simply have to replace my oxygen sensors to solve this problem. This will now be done next week and by all accounts i should be back on my Mark 6 in no time.
Protea was windy everyday. The waves were high and it was impossible to predict the day before if we would get out the following day. Even between dives we could never tell for sure that we would be able to do a second one.
But we were lucky and lost only two dives in the whole week. Our visibility is between 10-20m . Murky at the top and cleaner on the bottom. We have no current at all which makes the life of a divemaster very difficult. Whichever direction we take we end up towing the buoyline. We see hardly any hammerheads in these conditions. A couple of zams and black tips.
On the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks however we have more sandtigers/raggies than ever this late in the season. It is absolutely amazing. 35+ raggies are sharing the First Cave, Swimthrough and the Second Cave of Protea Banks.
On the baited dive today old Holger had a lonely black tip and two zams on the bottom. I know how this feels as a divemaster…
Today was a perfect day. Sunshine all the way and not a breath of wind. It almost feels as if something was missing.. too good to be true.
It was a good dive….they said…
Last night i prepared everything so i don’t look like a ‘poepol’ today with all the pros on their rebreathers. All test passed and everything is looking sharp. This morning last tests done and the machine is ready to dive.
We meet everyone as usual at 7am at our shop. From there we move to the harbour. Dive briefing , loading the gear onto the boat and off we go.
We are seven rebreathers. The boat is full of gear. The value is three times the price of the entire vessel !!! What a sight !!
As we get to the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks we realise that we have a reverse current. This does not happen often. South to North. No problem. We decide to start the dive at the Second Cave and drift to the First Cave. Thereafter we would just keep drifting north with the current.
We get down to the Second Cave when i feel some tugging on my gear. I look around and get told by one of the guys that my rebreather is loosing air and i need to abort the dive.
What ??? Abort ??? My computer shows no malfunction at all. Maybe they are overrating this ?
BUT : The guys i am diving with are professionals. They know what they are talking about and they are in no way squeamish. So i do as i am told because when it comes to rebreathers one takes no chances !!!
Back to the surface i go but not before i take short video clip of my “Buddies- without- Bubbles”.
Steve loads me back on the boat and upon inspection i see that one of the o-rings on my electronic unit was squashed. How can this happen when i was so careful !!!
I certainly learnt a new lesson…..
So i am thinking, maybe i should just reset the unit and jump back in. I hate to give up on a good dive !!!
But maybe, where air escapes, water could enter. And if i have water in my CO2 filter i could end up burning my airways. Risk is simply too high.
Lucky i made the right decision as in the meantime the rainy but flat sea condition turned into an unexpected stormy, rough sea with 3m swells and white water everywhere.
Steve and i had all hands full watching the buoy and making sure large waves passed us safely. Then the divers split into two groups. The second group deployed their own buoy. Within less than 30mins the groups drifted over 400m apart.
Between the two of us we stressed but managed well in a chaotic sea by now. More than relieved when after 88 mins the first group surfaced and after 100mins the rest.
This is what we do…
Needless to say, the guys had an awesome dive. Excellent vis, especially on the bottom half.
They saw a tiger shark, several bull sharks, black tips, countless raggies and a school of stingrays adding up to 25 animals following the silent adventurers…..
Right now i am going to get my machine set up for tomorrow. This time definitely NO squashed o rings ….. !!!!!
We had a couple of days dive break. The weather was lovely and we got maintenance and all kinds of things done. The day usually started with no plan and looking as if it could turn out a holiday. By 9am it was chaos and ended up being a crazy 10 hour rush. Same same all the time…
The diving before was glorious. We had good vis, mostly 20m, lots of hammers. They even came to look at us on the safety stop !!!
The Caves are still busy with Raggies. I counted 28. For this late time in the season it is a large number.
Tomorrow , old Brett from Agulhas House brings 9 rebreather divers and 4 bubble makers to Protea Banks.
This is the first time to do serious rebreathing. Before it was always just Supp and your’s truly…
Now i have a horde of heavy professionals.
And I hope i don’t forget half again like last time. I would look pretty damn stupid…
The other day i forgot my bail out cylinder in the shop. So we went to fetch it only for me to forget it on the boat…..
On the second dive i did not forget it. But when the damn nuisance was strapped to my side i felt so uncomfortable that i decided to rather go without. Could have left it in the shop in the first place, couldn’t i
So i look out to sea and the water is looking great. Nice colour line which indicates good visibility. I hope, it will be good for tomorrow with lots of hammers everywhere
Now it is time to take the poor dogs for a walk in the rain before they tear the house down….
Today we got blown out. Was actually hoping so. We are tired but the diving has been so amazing lately that we just kept going without moan.
Excellent vis, brilliant shark sightings, lots of business.
Wherever we look there are sharks. On the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks we still have a healthy 20+ Raggies, we have Bulls, Black Tips and Hammerheads.
But on the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks the Hammerheads are thick. Thousands, serious !!!!! And Guitarsharks – lots of them as wellBullsharks have been in a good mood lately on the Baited Dives. Came up to the bait and played nicely with the divers.