Saturday, 5 June 2010

Red Sea - Get Wrecked Diving Day Five

Onwards ever onwards

Final dive on the Thistlegorm this morning and what a dive it was. There was a slight current which apparently explained all the larger fish around today but we had Tuna, big Batfish, Jacks and Tevallys. It was just jammed packed and even the Morays were in good form. Barry found a couple of Crocodile fish sleeping under a coal wagon and there was a very large black and red Lionfish as well.
I now feel like I have at least visited the Thistlegorm.

Came up and had breakfast and now we’re off to the Kingston on our way back.

The Kingston was a nice wreck, very battered and covered in coral but with just a bit too much swell which was tiring everyone out. We spent about 15 mins on the wreck then headed out along the reef towards the mothership. This was quite a nice drift with plenty of sealife and some enormous table corals. We stayed at about 10-12 metres for almost the entire time and ended up almost halfway back to the boat.

Only 3 dives today and the third was a choice between the Liveaboard Emperor Fraser and the Dunraven. Joe and I decided to do the Dunraven because after seeing the pictures of the Fraser it was pretty stripped and battered so more of a novelty dive than anything else.

When we first dropped in the current was headed away from the boat rather than back towards it and this meant we got pushed towards a group that we followed for a bit before they explained that the wreck was the other way. We finned for a bit and then found it and had a good swim through the upturned hull and out the far end. We saw some big Napoleon Wrasse and then swam round the stern and the prop to be met with a lot more current so went over the wreck and back inside for a rest. I got a bit of a shock as a Giant Moray decided to free swim right past me and the first I knew was when I saw the tail pass me. I spun round to see what it was and this head just looked at me from about half a metre away but seemed a lot closer. Then we started to deploy the DSMB but as we did a couple of big Napoleon Wrasse turned up and then another Moray. I dropped down to take a picture and then ended up surfacing with only 20 bar. Note for next time.

Dinner this evening was a traditional Sunday Roast although with stuffed Aubergine, Courgettes and Peppers. Fantastic as always.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Red Sea - Get Wrecked Diving Day Four

Off to the Thistlegorm

Wasn’t as sunny this morning when we got up, very hazy across the horizon and even after the dive it was still a bit overcast.

First dive this morning was the Ulysses, Chris went down first to lay in his SMB reel and blob which he tied to the wreck before we all piled in. It was a bit lumpy today and when we went over the side the boat came down and cracked me on the head which was a little painful but did help me go down a bit faster.

There were so many Sergeant Majors swimming around that we had to swim through them and they mobbed us throughout the dive. We headed down to the stern as Chrissie had said this was the best place to see Flambalina Nudibranchs but we didn’t find any and had a look around the prop before being ambushed by a group of divers from the Carlton Queen on a follow-ma-leader dive. Once they had moved off we had a bit of a swim through and came back round to the deck and swam between the decks back towards the bow. We had a look around and then went out to the funnel still searching for Nudibranchs and finally found a black and white striped one with a yellow rim (Pyjama Slug).

We swam over the mast and onto the reef after this just looking at the life and then, just as I had drained my battery and put my camera away, a Napoleon Wrasse turned up and swam leisurely by.

When we surfaced it was still a bit lumpy and the trip back was interesting. After breakfast it’s off to the Thistle but because we’re going broadside to the channel it will be a bumpy crossing so quite a few people are heading to bed.

We arrived at the Thistle to find 6 other boats already moored but only one is a live aboard so the day boats will be clearing off soon. We did our first dive and Chris had set our line right on the bow so we went straight down and had a good look round. The first dive was for a quick recce and then we have 2 more dives today and an early one tomorrow before moving on. I was really surprised by the amount of things to be seen on here. It is a big wreck, the biggest we do on this trip and well worth the extra dives. Joe and I decided to do the holds at the bow, swim through to the debris field then drift back over the deck to the bow for the return trip. With so many day boats we knew it would mean a congested wreck but there were still a vast abundance of people on it and most of them being lead around like school children. We dropped into the hold and immediately found a jeep with a massive moray living between the wheels who was less than impressed with our intrusion and then we carried on through to hold 3 past trucks, bikes, rifles and boots. From 3 we headed out onto the remains of hold 2 and the ammunition pile and got a picture of some of the shells still in their boxes before heading up over the deck plating and swimming through some of the accommodation. We popped into the bathroom and then headed back out to the rail which we then followed all the way to the bow, past the coal and water wagons. Then it up and out for lunch.

Second dive on the Thistle. The plan was to head down and then swim straight to the stern. So that’s what we did, although there was just enough current to make it a little tiring after swimming the length of the wreck. We had a good look round the stern and the prop before coming up over the side and photographing the guns. Then we dropped into the debris field and took some photos of the shells and Joe found a covered part of the hold with large shells still in the boxes. Can’t wait for the night dive now!

Night was brilliant, although limited to 20 metres it made no difference at all. The wreck was absolutely crawling with life, although the turtle was absent. Saw some tiny coral crabs living inside a spotted coral and loads of cleaner shrimps. There were even a school of tuna hanging around over the side and all the clams were out in full force.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Red Sea - Get Wrecked Diving Day Three

Rosalie Möller Day

Today was the day of the Rosalie Möller. We came, we saw, we dived, we dived again and just for a giggle we dived once more.

Sitting in 50 odd metres and sitting upright this wreck is a great deep wreck and that explains why we only did 3 dives today. Each dive was relativity short due to the depth and only having single 12L cylinders, but it was still great fun!

The idea was first to go down the stern line from the MV Hurricane which was tied onto the the set of winches just behind the bridge, have a bimble around the stern and return. The second dive would be the the same but on the bow line from the MV Hurricane and then on the final dive to do all the bits we wanted to revisit.

A stage cylinder was set up at 5 metres for those a bit short on the way back but it hardly got used.

Joe and I decided that we wanted to have a look at the propeller which was supposed to be huge so we dropped over the side and worked our way backwards and down to have a look. I was really surprised that for a ship of this size the propeller did seem enormous. Then up over the stern rail and heading forward we dropped into the bomb crater and worked our way through the rear hold and then up to the bridge before rising up and then heading back to the stern line for the trip back up.

Second dive we swam round to the bow line and dropped down that all the way past the crow’s nest and then down to the fore winch. Our plan this time was to drop over the front, have a look around then come back and head towards the bridge. We found one anchor still in its hausepipe and got a couple of pictures of that before heading back towards the bridge.

This was great to see and we had a swim down a couple of companionways before having to head up with a couple of minutes of deco to do on the way. For some reason Kim, Dave and Stewart managed to end up with 14 minutes of deco for the same dive.

On the third dive we actually planned to do deco as there was no way we would get any real time to see anything without it. So the plan was to drop down the stern line and get into the guts of the wreck. Had a great potter through the kitchen with the pots on the stove and then through to the workshops and even had a look in the bathroom with the bath still in it.

On this dive Bill managed to get off the shot at the bottom with 1 minute of deco before even going anywhere!!

There is just so much to see on this wreck that you could easily spend a few days here doing 3-4 dives a day and still miss something.

After we all came up it was time to return to Gobal Island for the overnight stop in the lagoon and a few of the more adventurous (gullible) of us went for a walk around the sand dune, you can’t really call it an island. Saw a family of Ospreys that live there and the remains of an Egyptian punishment posting but the only other thing of note was the amount of rubbish everywhere, from coke and champagne bottles to light bulbs and plastic. After that it was back to the boat for cocktails and canapés!

Red Sea - Get Wrecked Diving Day Two

Well, second instalment of the Bermondsey Red Sea Trip.

Got a lie in this morning until 7.00 before heading out to Kimon M for an early morning dive. There was a really big puffer fish in situ which was great until I realised that my camera was in the case upside down so I couldn’t use it for the whole dive. Such is life.

After swimming through to the stern and finding the propeller we swam along the outside until we could penetrate into the holds and have a good rout about in there before coming back onto the deck plates and generally enjoying the wreck which was in quite a good state.

Back for breakfast and then to our last dive on Abu Na Has which was the Chrisoula K. This was a really beautiful wreck although when we arrived there were quite a few other boats around the area which made it a bit cramped but once we were on the wreck it was fine. Some great swim throughs and we made our way from above the prop along a companionway surrounded by granite tiles to the hold then up onto the deck and through the kitchen. Once we got to the kitchen we found a couple of hatchways down which we took and the followed the companionway along to the engine room. This was dark and tight for space but really atmospheric and we got some nice shots of the engine and equipment before coming back out and heading forward to the bow hold and found another swim through to the other side of the wreck. We had a look around the masts and I managed to squeeze through the funnel and then it was time to go home.

Once we were all back on board we were off to the next site and lunch was served. I don’t know how they do it but with a tiny kitchen the food is brilliant.

Afternoon dive was The Barge which is little more than a shell on bottom but absolutely thriving with life. More life on this one wreck than we had seen so far put together. We got to meet first Georgina and then George, two Giant Morays who lived up to their name. Georgina had taken up residence in the bow and George was further down the wreck but as we swam up he was so big and still it looked like one of the ribs of the barge. We also saw a couple of other morays and plenty of Scorpion and Crocodile fish. At an average of 10 metres we got to stay on the wreck for about an hour before we headed back but we still managed to miss things.

Our night dive today was also on the Barge and learning from last night we went in about an hour later so it was properly dark when we hit the wreck. Again it was amazing to see so much different life at night however it started to get a bit busy after about 15 minutes so we headed out over the reef for a bit of space. The only trouble we had was finding the strobe for the descent line as one of the groups from another boat all had strobes on and between those and the number of torches flashing everywhere it took a little while to find our boat.

Tomorrow we’re off to the Rosalie Moller for the day.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Red Sea - Get Wrecked Diving Day One

Today was the first diving day of our Red Sea Trip. After spending the night in port at Sharm we trundled out to The Alternatives to do our check dive.

Just a quick word about the boat – Hurricane – it’s brilliant! Really comfortable, all the staff are really helpful and everything is done to make your life and diving as enjoyable as possible.

After sorting out our weight we had a bit of a bimble around some rocks before heading off to skirt a couple of pinnacles and then into a gully to get a bit of depth before returning to the boat and getting everyone to deploy their DSMBs to try them out. Biggest shocker was first that the water was toasty and the visibility was 15+ metres.

After coming back we shipped out to cross the sea towards the Abu Na Has reef for our next 3 dives of the day.

Second dive was Carnatic which was really good and had some great swim throughs as we went down to the bow and then headed to the stern and swam between the decks all the way through to the stern and then went out the big square windows at the end. When we cam e back to the centre to look at the engine and boilers there were quite a few divers being lead around so we headed out along one of the masts and found a nesting Trigger fish which wasn’t too impressed with us being nearby so we left it alone and headed into the bow to swim through the decks again and found a really big Scorpion fish that was really black and Joe got a good photo. We also saw quite a few of the broken port bottles.

After lunch, which was fantastic, we got to do the most photographed wreck in the Red Sea (apparently) the Giannas D. I couldn’t believe that after rolling off the Rhib the wreck was right there as it starts at about 6 metres. We dropped down the sea bed and got some great photos of the wreck with some massive Bat fish around. We had a bit of a potter around then Chrissie lead us into the wreck through a companionway and down into the engine room. The engine room was obviously immense and there was so much to see. There were all the work shops and tools still in place like the lathe and milling machines and ladders and walkways all over the place. We went through this and then up through the skylight and out of the wreck. We went over to the bow and saw some great sea life, Parrotfish, Blue Spotted Stingrays, Batfish, Glassfish; it just doesn’t stop. Then we headed back up and got out. On the way back though we saw some dolphins and a few of us got in to snorkel with them. As soon as we got in they dived so we hung a round for a bit but then they came back up right amongst us and I got some nice close up photos of them. A real experience.

Our final dive of the day was a night dive but we didn’t really leave it late enough so it was still very light and it took about 30 minutes before it got dark enough to see anything different. We managed to see a couple of really big Slipper crabs, Lion Fish and a Crown of Thorns starfish. It was quite good but from tomorrow we’ll do the dives later so it will be darker and hopefully see some more different life.

All in all a fantastic first day and I can’t wait for the rest of the week.