November 19, 2003

Bundaberg Liveaboard - Day 1: Hoskyn and Fairfax Island

We have been quite lucky with the weather conditions as the sea was pretty calm providing us with a quite relaxing night. Venus II proved to be extremely comfortable assuming you are in the back cabins, but earplugs are still a must-have to decrease the engine noise. Rooms are spacious and so are the bathrooms. Being 8 people on board instead of a maximum of 14 gives us enough space. The dive briefing is once again a shock for me: we are diving using tables and maximum dive time is 40 minutes. Holy crap, you must be joking ?!

For the non-aware, diving using tables means that you compute your decompression time using the total diving time at the maximum depth rather than use incremental steps capabilities of your computer. If you spend 40 minutes at 16m it is far from being the same as diving 2 minutes at 16m,
4 minutes at 14m, 10 minutes at 12m, 10 minutes at 10m, 10 minutes at 8m, 3 minutes at 5m and 1 minute to surface.

The passengers on board are also pretty inexperienced (6 out of 8 with less than 30 dives, 4 of them with less than 6 dives) so for increased safety (or common sense) we'll be diving easy site. No 'deep' or drift diving. Based on the average air consumption it is wise as more than often 50 bars were reached in about 30 minutes in shallow depth ( < 14m ) and no current.

The dives proved to be amazing due to the incredible coral formations. There is hardly any comparison between these dives and the one in Holmes Reef (Cairns) where the coral was bleached. I can say it is one of the most amazing coral formation I have seen with Dahab (Egypt) and in New Caledonia. The marine life is very diverse, turtles are everywhere and you amazingly see
more of them at the surface rather than when diving.

I'm however extremely frustrated. As diving time is limited I spend more time looking at my dive computer than really looking around and focusing on the photography. This leads to very few pictures and relatively average to bad quality. I also spend more time looking around for my buddy to make sure he was ok. I was fortunate however, as my buddy Richard despite his 16 dives proved to be comfortable underwater with good buoyancy skills. It was his 2nd trip in a row with this boat, so his 10 previous dives were certainly useful in that aspect. He was also very keen to learn new tips to improve his diving which is certainly a positive aspect.

After lunch, I decide to go snorkelling around to figure out the dive site and take the camera just in case I manage to bump into big things. There are plenty of turtles around as well so I might get shots if I can get close enough. After snorkelling for a while, and having seen no turtle, I come back to the boat and thinking 'mm ! must be fake turtles floating around' and just at this time I look down and there is an absolutely huge massive turtle passing just about 1m under me, swimming effortlessly while I'm somewhat struggling against the current. Despite my best efforts to swim fast in order to have a front angle to take pictures, there was no way I could do it. I managed to take a shot however as turtles are usually swimming in circle around you if you get close to them, they obviouslly do that as it looks like the best way to keep an eye on you.

#01: Location: Hoskyn, SI: , Max. Depth: 10.8m, Time: 42min
#02: Location: Hoskyn, SI: 2h04min, Max. Depth: 13.3m, Time: 43min
#03: Location: Fairfax, SI: 2h43min, Max. Depth: 13.0m, Time: 43min
#04: Location: Fairfax, SI: 1h40min, Max. Depth: 9.4m, Time: 34min

Anemonefish Jellyfish 'Huge' Green Turtle overtaking me while snorkelling Trumpetfish Sunset at Fairfax Island Christmas tree worms

 
Posted by stephane at November 19, 2003 12:41 AM
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