The end of the year came about quickly. I returned to New Providence on the 30th December. Just in time for for New Year’s Eve. I quickly got in touch with some friends and organised a morning dive at Stuart Cove’s. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me; so no pictures from those dives.
The first of the dives was at the Playground. I had never been to this site before and I buddied up with Sharleen (my AOW student). I really enjoy diving with her. This was the first dive with my new toys that I had gotten for Christmas. I got an XTX50 octopus and I bought my self a Suunto D9tx – it came with a transmitter, which I dutifully attached to my first stage. I spent most of the dive trying out the different features of the D9tx. So I didn’t really see much except for my occasional glances to check that Sharleen was OK.
The second dive was at Southwest Reef. This is one of my favourite dive spots. I like it because it is shallow and bright. It makes it easy to see all the wildlife that is there. As soon as we got in the water there were two reef sharks resting on the sea floor. I cursed for not having my camera as it would have made a great photo. Sharleen and I explored the reef. We found a huge trumpet fish and a barracuda that allowed us to follow it. We managed a 62 minutes at this dive site.
I just had time to go home, shower, and change clothes before heading out to the airport to pick up my girlfriend. New Year’s Eve came and went and we celebrated with some new friends. The fireworks display from G2’s house was phenomenal. 2014 had arrived. We took the 1st January easy and recovered from the night before. We planned to make our first dives of 2014 on the 2nd January. A quick call to Stuart Cove’s and those dives were booked.
The wind was coming from the South-East this morning so that made the sea state quite rough. This meant that we were going to the West side of the island as it would be sheltered from the wind. Our first dive site was to be the Tunnel Wall. I had never dived this site before so I was a little apprehensive about leading my girlfriend on our first dive together in 4 months on a site I didn’t know. However, it was a wall and as long as you swim one way along it all you have to do is swim the other way back. There were lots of swim-throughs and I was having a whale-of-a-time. I really enjoyed the dive. My girlfriend is also a OWSI so I didn’t feel like I had to watch over her, just merely check in on her. We spent most of the dive at 2o metres. As we came to finishing the dive my D9tx signalled that I should do a deepstop, something that my Vyper didn’t do, so we spent 1 minute at 12 metres. We got back on the boat, in fact we were the first on, swapped over our kit and waited for the other divers to return. They were back quickly and soon we were off to our next dive site.
The second dive site was the Anthony Bell (see picture above). If you remember from my previous post about wreck-tacular diving, I had visited this site before. However, we had moored at the Will Laurie. Andrea, our dive leader didn’t mention the Will Laurie in our briefing, so knowing that it was there I lead my girlfriend to that wreck which we explored by ourselves as there were no other divers on it. We stayed there until we had used about third of our air before we headed back to explore the Anthony Bell. Once we had been around the Bell and seen pretty much everything it had to offer we headed across to the Royal James and had a quick look at that but because we had spent all of the previous dive at 20m and had a short surface interval (only 28 minutes) we were quickly approaching our No-Decompression Limits. So we returned to the Bell and circled the top until we had had enough. We did our safety stop away from the line as it was crowed and they divers that were using it were overly buoyant to remain at 6m for any length of time.
Due to the surface conditions becoming rough we waited under water until it was our turn to exit. The swell was close to 1.5m and it made exit difficult for a lot of the other divers. I helped pull aboard a few of the divers, many don’t realise that you should keep the mask and regulator in when exiting, or to keep back from the ladder when someone is climbing up it. I dread to think about the accidents that could have happened. One diver’s cylinder had even come out from it’s camband and if we hadn’t caught it it would have hit the diver behind him. Everybody made it safely back on board but not every body stayed on board for the whole trip back. Our dive leader, Andrea, was walking around the side of the boat to the bow when a large wave hit and Andrea was left treading water. We quickly stopped and recovered him, he begged us to not let this story get out but by the time we had moored the boat up the captain had quickly told the rest of the other diver leaders and the mocking started.
I really enjoyed the dives today. It has been the first time in a while that I have felt that I could truly relax on a dive and enjoy it. I am looking forward to diving more often with my girlfriend now that she is here.