Written By James Thornton-Allan (Instructor) and Hannah Lusby (Diver)
Woken by Hannah’s dreadful phone alarm at 7 am. It was time to have a wash and get top side and jump into our dive window. Things in the morning are always a bit slower then planned the night before. A lot of bushy eye’s and staring into coffee cups. Thankfully it was a dry night and the weather is a bit cloudy but still sunny and warm. After an hour or so on the boat it was our time. A dive briefing and some checking of gear and we were off making our way slowly down the line to the Pangan. Arriving on the wreck Hannah was able to identify which way to the bow right away. She pointed out the direction and area we were going to explore based on the briefing. We traveled to the bow looking at the forward gun, engine for the winch and the telegraph on the bow. We had a limited dive because of the standards with this being a training dive for her course. The point of this dive was to get used to the wreck, depth and exposure and a general awareness for navigation. We had finished exploring the bow area with 2 minutes to spare so we made our ascent, saying goodbye to Jez who was down there looking for portholes that had fallen out of the wreck and into the silt. Coming out of the thermo cline at 45m you could feel the increased warmth of the water instantly and with that you knew you were on your way back to the surface and in the clear, I could see other divers above on the deco station at 6m or mid line on deep stops. We completed our schedule in a comfortable 50 minutes runtime with an 18 minute bottom time at 50 meters. We had used a computer dive planner for our profile but both had double Suunto Vytec computers with gas switching so we had many sources of information and reference throughout the dive.
Back on board Mikey was furiously making breakfast for the 14 divers. A mix of bacon, hash browns, porridge, yogurt and fruit was waiting the watering mouths and bright eye’s of everyone sitting around. After breakfast is was back into the general activity of the Trident which is sleeping, reading or chatting away. We would have a 4 hour surface interval and skip the high noon current with a plan to dive in the mid afternoon breaking up the day.
Having had a lovely night’s sleep, we woke up at 7am for the first dive of the day. After a cup of strong tea and a jump in the ocean we where off, down to the wreck. With James leading the way, we made our decent down to the wreck. As this was my first dive on this wreck and at this depth the nerves where there, but as soon as we came through the thermo cline and could see the wreck beneath us all that went away. An amazing sight to be seen, no matter how many times in future I may dive different wrecks in the future, this is one feeling I’ll always have with me.
The second dive of the day proved to be shorter then planned. A 68 minute runtime after we had a 5 hour surface interval. Essentially diving with a clean slate. The visibility on this dive was worse, about 10m as opposed to the 15m from the morning dive. The plan was to explore the wheel house and stern section. However we got pre-occupied with the engine room and rear gun placement that we didn’t get to see the entire stern. Even with a 25 minute bottom time there’s still a lot of wreck to cover.
One nice thing about this dive was the chance to introduce Hannah to ever tech divers dream; penetration and every tech divers nightmare; silting. This showed Hannah that a penetration might look like a good idea on the way in but not the best idea on the way out. This gave Hannah who was completing her final training dive (12) a chance to decide if she wanted to spend more time on penetration training or more time exploring the exterior. She decided she wanted to get some depth experience and explore the sand while circling the wreck. So the plan for tomorrow is deeper and longer exposing her to more now that she’s a certified tec deep diver.
Back on board it was back to the normal routine of sleeping and eating. Lunch was served as a jacket potato with cheese and baked beans. I protested about the baked beans as many had enough gas as it was but my complaints were not taken into consideration.
As the sun set and a light rain spell the boat slowed into a quiet lull, a peaceful and relaxing trip. Many were showing the signs of serious diving by napping or dozing off while the smell of roasted chicken rose from the galley.
For me, dinner will be short as I’ll be heading to bed straight away to get some rest for an early morning. The early the day the better the “vizz” and that’s what we want.
Second dive and final training dive of the Deep Diver tec course! The second dive brought the wreck into a much clearer picture. The dove was a great introduction to penetration diving and seeing just how much the visability on a wreck disappears once you kick up some silt, it disappears, believe me!
Back on the boat the weather was starting to come in. Everyone settles into a corner of the boat and reads and watches TV. It’s going to be an early night!
Read Tomorrow for Day 3