Category Archives: Travel

Egmont

Egmont 2013
Egmont 2013

UWE and Ocean Quest headed off to Porpoise Bay Charters in Egmont and spent the weekend doing some of the best dives in all of British Columbia.  This is the first opportunity I have had to spend the weekend with Kal and Ann, and I have to say it was an amazing weekend!!  The diving was great as always, but I was very impressed with the with the amazing way in which Kal and Ann took care of us.  Kal certainly knows the dive sites, and conditions and I like the fact that he is conservative and I have to say I received some of the best dive site briefings every.  Current direction and which shoulder to keep the topography on, the rest was my diving experience.

Diver with Giant Pacific Octopus
Diver with Giant Pacific Octopus

I have dived in this area many times, though it’s been some time.  The sites that Kal brought us to were abundant with life.  We were treated to a free swimming Giant Pacific Octopus, which is easily one of my favourite marine life we can find in our area.  This little guy was out swimming in about 70 feet of water.  I ran into him at about 90 feet and he was thinking of heading deeper though he put on a little show for us.  Great stuff!!

Thank you to everyone for a great weekend, Stuart, Jim, Lisa, Mike, Travis and Amy, and of course Kal and Ann…great time, and great friends!  When is it time for our next trip!!

Thailand & Cambodia

Dive Thailand

UWE were brought in as guest speakers and East Cape RV park to give a presentation about our time in Thailand and Cambodia.  Overall I think things went very well.  We made a movie of the pictures that we took while working in South East Asia.

We spent the last week going over all the the pictures we had from our time there, and tried to enter then in an order that would tell a story of our time spent there.  The one thing we realized while making this presentation up was exactly how much we miss being there.  We loved our time in Thailand and Cambodia so much, that is felt like our home.  The people we met and worked with were so wonderful,  the locals very friendly, understanding and welcoming…that we wonder why we left in the first place.

Thank you to East Cape RV for asking us to give the presentation!!

Hard Deep: Pattaya

MapMonday had me starting DM Mike’s Nitrox course, Aquanauts was great to let us use their classroom, and Multimedia. So, we had to do the dives on the Hard Deep. The one wreck I have wanted to dive since the first time I came to Pattaya back in September of 07.

Tuesday morning had us being picked up from Angels Guest house at 7:30 for the customary trip to the dive center where we needed to analyze the Nitrox loads for the days dive. The Hard Deep is in approximately 28metres of water so a 34% mix should work out just nicely.

So we all loaded on to the dive boat and waited the 20 – 40 minute boat ride to the dive site. As we approached it was obvious that the current though indicated to be at about .3, it was ripping through the wreck area. After a briefing and many questions, we Siggy, Mike and I were grouped as a buddy team…and since we were on NITROX, we did the dive without a guide, even though it was our first dive on the wreck. As we entered the water, it was even more obvious that current was ripping. It was nearly impossible to pull ourselves along the tag line. Once at the decent line, the current was still riping along, and now I know what a flag feels like in a strong wind, since this is what it was like for me to pull myself down the decent line.

Hard Deep

Our group met up on the bottom, the current was still to strong to swim against so we decided to let it push us to the stern of the boat, and we were able to make it around to the keel of the wreck where there was still some current, but it was manageable. As we swam from the bow to the stern along the keel, I had the plan to make it around and head back along the deck to the ascent line. However, as I reached the stern area, it was very obvious that it would be impossible to make it around the stern in order to reach the ascent line. We were, now in a bit of trouble as we were low on air, and had quite a distance to swim to get to the bow again, and hopefully around to the ascent line that way. Needless to say the tour was over, and swimming and air conservation was the order to the day. As the turn point at the bow approached, once again we could feel the strong current that was nearly impossible to swim against. I was able to make it to a large steel fitting resting in the sand, and reach back to pull Siggy and Mike along, then Siggy did the same for Mike and I as he reached another piece of the wreck near the ascent line.

As I started my ascent, I was down to 300psi and fully aware that I would most likely not be able to makeHard Deep my safety stop with out breathing my tank out. As I was making my ascent, I got caught in a very strong up draft, and with the ascent line being a nice smooth wrapped melt line, it was like trying to hold on to ice…and I was not able to stop the up welling which shot me from 18 meters up to 6 meters in a matter of seconds. Thankfully I was not alone ans the same thing happened to Mike. As I settled in for what should have been a 3 minute safety stop, my computer was making it a 6 minute stop. I certainly did not have the gas I needed for that. Mike being right there beside me, I was able to share air with him as required in order to clear my stop.

After that dive, I was very much aware why this wreck is called HARD DEEP!

Wreck Diving on the KHRAM: Pattaya

HTMS KHRAMNot even 24 hours had passed from the bus ride from hell, and we are in the dive shop at Aquanauts booking some dive trips, renting the classroom, and training DM Mike in Nitrox diving.  Siggy and I had to get into the water, so Sunday had a trip headed out to the KHRAM, sunk out off the outer islands here in Pattaya.

Once again, Aquanauts did an amazing job getting things all set up for our trip.  They picked us up on time from the guest house, and got us down to the center, where much to my surprise I met up with Cedric Verdier’s and if you are not sure who thatHTMS KHRAM is…be sure to check out the links on the right menu bar.

Two hour boat ride later and we were ready to jump in and get a diving.  The current was ripping, and due to  a small error in judging the tides, we found ourself in the marathon swim to the decent line…which for this fella, we a little much.  Once on the decent line we sorted our selves out and headed down.  Vis was relatively good…and there were plenty of fish to see.  Overall I would have to say the dive was ok…but certainly not our best.  We are headed out again tomorrow to finish Mike’s Nitrox course….and we are diving the Hard Deep….be sure to check back and see how that turns out.

Koh Phai (Far Islands)

November 20th marks my first dive since leaving Sibu Island.  Finally getting the chance to catch up with the lads at Real Divers, a dive center located here in Jomtien Beach.  Neil and Peter are the owners.  It is a small little hole in the wall type dive store…but what a great day of diving I had with them.

Chris was the instructor/Dive Leader for the day, and Nick was there as a Divemaster trainee.  I made my way to the center for around 08:00, and we headed out not to long after my arrival.  We went and picked up two other divers who had just completed their openwater course the week before.  We board the dive boat, which was well organized and very clean.  Our trip to the far islands took approximately two hours or so, it was long but it was well worth it.

Dive one was at the larger island and it turned out to be a drift dive.  The corals and marine life were very nice, and the the visibility has opened up to 10 – 12 meters.  Nick did an excellent job as the dive leader, though he had a slight weighting issue at the start of the dive.  Our dive lasted 60 minutes and was really very enjoyable. Dive two was on the small island about 10 minutes away from dive one.  The boat remained static so it was an out and back type dive.  We went out into a slight current at about 15 meters, and were treated to the ever present box fish and puffers.  Nemo was around in plenties which is always nice to see.  One the return portion of the dive we found a lovely little moray eel hiding in the coral heads.  Once again the dive lasted for approximately and hour, the visibility was the same as the morning dive.

 Well done to Real-Divers!!  

Mon Tinggi Malaysia

Cuttle FishAnother plane ride, and a days worth of driving has found us on the small island of Sibu, in the South China sea.  The water is a lovely emerald colour and a warm 86 degrees (30C) for a surface temperature.  Suprisingly there is a thermalclin so to speak where the temp drops by 2 degrees as you descend through the 5 foot mark.  Mon Tinggi is a little tropical island that is a wash at times about 30 minutes by boat from here.  The depth around this island is a mer 6 – 7 meters.  But the coral and marine life is simply amazing.  Our dive last an easy 60 minutes and we all ascended in the 100 bar region of our air supply so there was plenty of bottom time still available.  We saw two cuttle fish a couple of puffer fish and a large number of various groupers and angel fish.  Though not a very challenging dive it was a very good time!