Oct 11: Giant Clam

I survived the middle of the night advanced yoga class with out killing either myself or Susanne. Let’s put that in the serious plus category.

All in all we slept pretty well in our cozy little cabin. It was pretty comfy, dark and cool. All good things. We got up at 6:30 am to get ready for our first dive at 7:15 am. There is no doubt this is a dive trip. You spend all of your time getting ready for a dive, diving or recovering from a dive. I guess there is some eating in there too.

We were still at the Three Sisters site and were going to swim a different route that covered sisters 1, 2 and 3. Jason and Cynthia didn’t want to do the first dive so I buddied up with two other guys and the woman who is working on her PhD in marine biology and was clearly close with Flo, the supervisor of the trip. She is studying the reproductive biology of sea slugs. Now that’s got to be some exciting video to watch. [Side note from Susanne: I heard directly from Lovis, the supposed marine biology student, that this is all a big hoax and she is neither studying marine biology nor an expert in sea slug reproduction. Sounds like Roger fell for the joke.]

Flo gave us the morning briefing. Flo is a dutch dude from Curacao that has been in Australia for 4 years doing diving and looks very Dutch: tall, blond, and handsome. He is quite funny actually and does a great job of keeping everybody smiling and following the rules.

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Shark taking a snooze

The four of us headed out on the dive and swam over to the first sister. We saw a reef shark sleeping in the sand. This was the deepest dive of the day and I ended up hitting 21.5 m.  A tad over my 20 m limit, but there you have it. It came on a cool swim-through. We swam around the huge bommie that went from about 50 meters all the way to the surface. The fish life was amazing and there were some really big fish milling about. We dove for about 45 minutes and then got back on the boat and had some breakfast.

The plan was to do do 4 dives like the day before, but they were far more spread out than the first day. Nonetheless, it still gets pretty tiring doing 4 dives in one day.

The boat moved to a new location for the next two dives. I decided to go for a snorkel with Susanne so skipped the second dive. The snorkeling is quite amazing. With the water calmness and clarity, you can see a tremendous amount just floating around on the surface.

I dove with Cynthia and Jason on the third dive. I really enjoy diving with them as they make me feel very safe and I relax a lot more when I get to be with them. We dive well together. I also use a lot less air diving with them too. The fish and coral were quite good, although the water clarity was degrading a bit. Still really good though.

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My favorite diving buddies

I had decided to go ahead a rent one of their cameras and Flo gave it to me for 1/2 price if I rented it for the rest of the trip. It turned out to take some pretty good pictures, so I am glad I dropped the dough on it.

One of my favorite things to see were the giant clams. They were huge and had this really iridescent color on the flesh. The valves in which they filtered water were huge. They must move a huge amount of water. I did not find the answer on google.

Another one of my favorites was this guy. He was huge (maybe 3 feet) and super friendly and curious. I swam toward him and he swam toward me and we met in the middle staring at each other wondering what the other was doing there. The are called Dotted Sweetlips.

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A big and friendly encounter with a Dotted Sweetlips

Here are a few more pics from the dive:

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We finished up the dive and got cleaned up, drank some water and chilled on the upper deck waiting for dinner. We had one more dive for the day. A night dive.

Dinner was “meh” as it was a meat lasagne and didn’t really suit us that well. So much for trying to cut out gluten. It is hard to get enough food and not eat gluten on this trip. We had a beautiful sunset with a sliver of the moon just peeking out about the red glow of the last rays of the day.

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Setting sun and a partial moon

We had the dive briefing for the night dive. Because there were so many fist time divers, there was not going to be an instructor for those of us that are already certified. Steffan was the only instructor that some of us could follow. That was fine with me, but then it turned out that Luke didn’t have a buddy, so I had to buddy up with them and so we would be going unguided.

We set out and the visibility wasn’t very good and not just because it was dark. Things were fine, but then everyone blew past were we needed to turn. I had swim fast to catch up and tell them to turn around.

I had brought the camera with me and I was super sorry. It was just a lot of gear to manage and try to navigate with the compass. I got one good shot of a spotted sting ray. Other than that, it was a total pain in the buttinski.

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Blue Spotted Sting Ray

We swam around for a while and then came across a big group of the newbies. My dive computer wasn’t working properly so it freaked me out a bit. I motioned to Luke that I wanted to go back to the boat because of it. It was probably fine, but I didn’t feel like taking any chances. We headed back and found the rope up to the boat only it wasn’t the boat, it was a buoy close to the boat.

We surfaced and the stars were amazing. It was a bit of swim back to the boat. I felt bad for making Luke cut his dive short, but there you have it. It wasn’t that great anyway.

We cleaned up, hung out with Jason and Cynthia and then headed to bed. I was quite tired and ready to brave the yoga moves again.

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