The first tech day ever launched by my dive club NAUTILUS. We headed for a deco dive on St Pauls wreck which sits about 43m on the sea floor in Moreton Bay. As I am not deep dive certified or deco dive certified (yet) I had to sit the first one out (boo) but wasn’t too upset about that once I saw the sweeping currents! 14 divers, some cave GUE divers other tech and re breather certified, it proved an interesting mix of people. Very different from the usual “Rec” divers, a somewhat more serious bunch, but friendly and intriguing nonetheless.
Had the Supercat sunk I’m pretty sure some hundreds of thousands of dollars may have sunk with it! Some of the divers had sweet looking scooters to help them battle the current, Ben B’s was my favourite, whilst I picked Jason’s brains on his rebreather as he sat waiting patiently for the skipper to get onto the St Paul’s mark. I enjoyed (terrible I know) watching all the boys sweat it out in their drysuits whilst waiting, but only because they are always the ones to poke fun at me getting back into a cold wet wetsuit!!
Dive one went well with everyone having a great dive even though the current was a rough one. Pete G even got 8 minutes down there on his deep dive cert…Dive two ended up being on the Aahrus which I’d never been to before so was quite excited about! I was diving on Nitrox 33% after having just passed my TDI Nitrox course and granted this site was a lot shallower (21m+) than the Cementco at 27m I knew I could stay down there forever if I wanted! But the max time was 70 minutes.
The current unfortunately was raging and following another diver’s lead we hauled ourselves with our steel twin tanks through the sandy floor to the wreck, where the anchor had already begun to drag. It was an amazing site and I’d love to go back there, I felt naked without my camera (which I managed to get water in for the third time the weekend prior and was it now seriously out of action). Helicopter turns and trim wasn’t exactly the easiest in the current, and I even went for my john line at one stage to secure myself to the wreck so I could have a break from finning. We saw an amazing gigantic nudibranch and Pete saw a heap of cleaner shrimps and a moray eel, and the other boys saw some bull rays. They definitely got me back for teasing them in their drysuits when they pulled up beside me in their scooters as I finned my little heart out! May have to put one of those on the wishlist!
The GUE boys showed me a wet note saying the anchor had dragged and the boat was gone and they were surfacing. Initially I thought this was a good idea but then realised we were only half an hour into the dive and hey sorry but I didn’t want to end my one and only dive for the day! That and I figured well WE were still on the wreck so technically they should’ve still known where we were, as it was the boat that had dragged position not us. I went back to get Pete to “discuss” (if there is such a thing under water what to do), Michael B deployed his SMB and wanted to go up but I wanted to stay down. Majority ruled for awhile until I started to feel guilty and hear ex instructors voices in my head saying that anyone can end the dive…my better buddy conscience got the better of me and I asked Michael if he was OK? He said yes but signaled up so we all went up together to our safety stop. Michael had some serious drag on his SMB so it was probably the right thing to do anyway. We waited on the surface with all of our SMB’s up for about 10 minutes and were some distance from the boat. But they spotted us and came and picked us up.
It was still a 60 minute dive and a great experience. Next time I hope to be deco certified so I can do a deco dive, I’m looking forward to that, and hoping that the sea gods will be kinder next time with the currents! Otherwise I’ll be investing in a reef hook!