Monday, April 12, 2004

ishtar weekend

my first 4 day weekend on the boat. and i'm stuffed. it was fun, but i'm glad to be able to sleep in my own bed tonight.

despite being a little unlucky with the weather, we managed to get out of the bay and up to the drum and drumsticks to drive on the wreck of the wandra. too cool.it's more of a wreck site than a wreck dive. bits and pieces of a wreck, rather than an actual wreck. in 1915 a wooden steamer sank, and we dive on the remains, wood doesn't last long and metal soon attracts growth.

the most distinguishable parts are the 2 steam engines, with propeller shafts, propellers (steel which is why they are still there) and a huge boiler with resident conga eel. my boss has been diving this site for 20 years, and "con" the conga eel has been here the whole time.

of course, the staff don't get to dive when the customers are diving (usually) so when they get their siesta, before afternoon dive, i am dropped off on the wreck. i signal the boss that all is fine, and he zoots off in the dinghy, then i descend to about 7 metres, to find a stream of bubbles emerging from my gauges, shit! ok, cure number one, give them a bit of a wiggle, and now i'm in a spa bath of bubbles. it isn't serious yet, but i'm getting the occasional loud sound from my gauges. drat. up we go.

and the boss, in the tender, is back at the boat. time for a long long surface swim. it's about 700 metres so i roll onto my back, and start slowly swimming. the boss, after about 15 minutes, sees me and, unable to work out where i am swimming to, ( don't get me started on this shit) chooses to ignore the situation. fortunately the other deckie, who is a very skilled coxswain, decides that i need to be picked up. only by now i am within easy reach of the boat. oh well. i'll accept a lift anyway.

the second attempt, i am dropped off over the wreck, woops, they missed, fortunately navigation is very easy here and i find it easily enough. the other deckie, (smart divemaster/coxswain/cool at finding shit) has previously found the ship's steering wheel; so i want to find it too.but despite knowing pretty well exactly where to dig; limiting bottom time, plus me being a fraidy cat being left by myself, and a frikken wobbegong shark with an attitude problem, make me decide to ignore it. (ok, i'm at 27 metres, on my own, and a stupid wobbygong has freaked me out. drat!) but in any case it was a fun dive (as long as i gave him a wide berth) and then i set off to the west, at about 15 metres, to see if i can find the boat. a little while later i'm thinking, what if they aren't over here. sure they told me to swim west, but they change their minds very often. fortunately when i surfaced i was only about 150 metres off and in the right direction.

sunday finds us heading south, back into the bay. it's about a 2 hour trip. and ishtar sunday finds us on the north side of the bay, sheltered from the north easterlies, and the divers have some interesting diving, while the customers take their afternoon siesta, the staff (who needs sleep anyway!) dive a little reef and we have a great time.

monday and half our complement want to leave early to drive home. i can't blame them. it's about 5 hour drive home. so we work out a transfer method for them and get on with another 2 dives for the remainder. back to our mooring for lunch, then drop them off at the wharf from the tender. i am one screwed unit. sleep will be soooo good.

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