Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dive Number 2, North Reef

We’ve come back as we promised ourselves we would. Unfortunately, we are about as prepared as we were last week in terms of preselecting a dive location. In fact, we have discovered it is not that easy to get your hands on a map of the reserve and all of the dive locations. We have been advised by our good friend and marine biologist, Dr Roger Grace, that there are fabulous sponge gardens to the west of North Reef. “Didn’t you get there?” he shook his head when we told him about our fabulous dive, “you went the wrong way – it’s better if you head west.” Well, that was our interpretation anyway!

Finding North Reef was easy – the water looked nearly as clear as the first dive – so far, so good. We anchored and took a GPS reading – we’ll need that as it appears that North Reef is fast becoming our favourite GIB dive spot (100% so far this year!). We confidently descend. It looks familiar – the kelp covered reef is below us. The water is not as clear, but we hadn’t anticipated it would be, so we’re not disappointed. Surge is tossing the kelp from side to side in a slow-motion dance, not dissimilar to a ballet movement. I’m watching the gentle bend of the thick stalks, the swish and final flick of the frond tips as they turn to repeat the motion in the other direction. The fact that we’ve noticed the kelp’s motion may alert you to the very definite, unmistakable absence of sea life. Or more specifically, fish. They seem nonexistent. Where have they gone? Never mind, we are off in search of sponges....we look...we swim....we look....we swim....get the picture?

Eventually we turn and decide the best option is a second dive on North Reef. It is nothing at all like the first dive - the visibility is poor, and although we find a few leatherjackets, red moki and snapper, we are not even excited by the crayfish waving their antennae enticingly from their cracks. We photographed a drab-looking grey finger sponge, more out of duty than passion and didn’t discover till the next day that is was a lovely pink colour in the photograph. Communication was difficult – we were both trying to decide whether to abort the dive, or jolly the other along. We were cold.

What one of us didn’t know was that the other had no idea where the boat was. A quick pop to the surface didn’t help. “This way!” He confidently pointed once submerged. After swimming a 100 metres in that direction, we found...nothing. No boat. Another quick trip to the surface resulted in a new direction to follow. Another 100 meters and there it wasn’t! We resorted to surfacing anyway. About 100 metres away from our little inflatable boat, which was only visible by the dive flag we had sensibly rigged up before heading underwater.

We never get lost underwater. We have a very successful partnership and working relationship, which works because neither of us tries to do the other’s job. We both know our limitations. The same is true for our approach to navigational duties. Land-based navigation is strictly a female domain, and especially in the case of shopping malls. Underwater is a completely different story it’s a purely a male domain. One of us may have had a very short diving career (i.e. 1 dive) had it not been for navigationally-gifted dive buddies.

We’re still scratching our heads. Even on the surface, we can’t figure out where we went, or where we went wrong for that matter. But as it wasn’t a particularly good dive, we don’t really need to know. We‘re unlikely to be repeating it in a hurry and won’t suggest it to other people. But still, we remain troubled by our complete lack of navigational skill. And the concrete evidence of ineptness is worrying. Where is that GPS when you need it? Oh yes, it was on the boat!

No comments:

Post a Comment