Monday, 17 September 2012

Dive 16 – Sha’ab Marsa Alam Night Dive

This dive should really be called Night Dive Navigation 101 (Failed) in that we totally failed to achieve our dive objective despite a dive plan, agreement on the plan and underwater navigation led by an ex-airline pilot using a compass. Never-the-less, it was an example of how training and obeying the rules minimises risk, it was enjoyable and provided a good reason for others to have a laugh at our expense. There are no photographs since all of our time was spent in navigation.

Sha'ab Marsa Alam

We were moored in the same place we had moored when we dived the site in daylight on the way down to St John’s. The plan was to get to the wreck and explore it at night.

There were two ropes off the Grand Sea Serpent going left to the reef to the north of which was the wreck.

The Plan was to go off the stern, follow the rope to the reef, go slightly North East with the reef on the left, under the bow rope, follow the reef (on left shoulder) until we got to the wreck, tour the wreck and return.

Without going into too much detail, having finned for some time and gone under the bow rope, the pilot went to the surface for a look around, came down and drew a map on the slate which indicated

Dive Slate_0001

that we were to the north of the boat and heading (almost) in the correct direction but needed to go north west a bit. So we followed the Pilot and his compass (after all he had a flying qualification which allowed him to navigate in cloud at night)

After discovering a rock which was surprisingly wreck shaped but not the wreck, I went up to the surface and discovered that we were now behind the Grand Sea Serpent and going in the wrong direction and so a new dive plan was agreed underwater “suggest give up looking for wreck

Dive Slate_0002 

and we headed back to the GSS (indicated quite clearly by its dive deck lights shining down into the water) and explored underneath its stern – a shoal of large Bat Fish being evident.

My underwater navigation skills need some improvement I think!

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