Where’s all the good vis at?

Sorry in advance – No pics in this one

This weekend I was lucky enough to get out diving not once, but twice, on both Saturday and Sunday… That is, if you could call Saturdays dip in the water a dive.

Clocking in at a full 2:00 minutes and reaching 8m I’m not sure it would meet even PADIs minimum spec. for a dive. To give some background, we would have been diving the Kimya; a great wreck off the coast of Anglesey which just about breaks the water at low tide. Loads of life and still fairly intact, it’s a great dive when the vis. is good.

Saturday was to be the first sea/boat dive for many of the newly qualified Ocean Divers, so a fairly shallow yet interesting dive (NOT THE MISSOURI AGAIN!!) like the Kimya would be perfect for them to gain some experience.

Me and Luke would be the first buddy pair into the water and after having a chat with him about the dive plan I was excited to be showing him around the wreck and pointing out all the life on his first sea dive. Unfortunately I didn’t get to do any of that.

Once in the water, I made sure Luke was comfortable and we started our descent. Within moments it became apparent that this was not going to be a good dive. The vis. at the surface was bad but after getting down a few minutes all the light had been completely soaked up and the water turned to a thick brown soup. Until this day, the dive in Liverpool bay (which I did a few weeks ago) had the worst vis. I’d seen so far, but this was something else. Often we hear people say they can’t see their own hands (and I’m sure I’ve said it myself before) – it is often an exaggeration, but I promise you that this was not the case with the dive on the Kimya.

I quickly lost view of the shotline that I was running my hand down and all I could see of Luke was a glimmer of his torch through the water. Suddenly I hit the bottom! I couldn’t see anything, not sand nor wreck. Just brown water like milky coffee. I wish I’d got a picture but messing around with the camera was the last thing on my mind. I reach out and made sure Luke was within reach and gestured the thumbs up (signalling that we needed to ascend and end the dive) but I couldn’t see my own signal and I had no idea if Luke had seen it either.

At this point the shot line had gone slack and I became all the more aware that trying to solve an entanglement with out being able to see it and with a new diver would be almost impossible. Thankfully Luke hadn’t let go of the shotline either and so I was able to tap his hand upwards and hope that he’d understand. While slowly creeping back up the line I made sure I could still see Luke’s torch (the only sign that he was there) until we got to about 2m and the water got slightly clearer. There was just enough visibility for me to give Luke the OK signal and make sure he was okay. Impressively, he’d remained extremely calm throughout and didn’t seem too deterred by the experience – It can only get better from there.

Once on the surface, we floated off the shot towards one of the boats which picked us up and let everyone know what they already thought – that the vis was shocking. The other boat had divers already kitted up, who were probably thinking something along the lines of “how bad can it be”. Of course within a couple of minutes after going down they popped back up again.

I felt most sorry for the new divers who didn’t even get in the water, as they probably wanted to see for them selves why they weren’t diving. The truth is it would be both stupid and dangerous to try and continue diving in those conditions. Hopefully we can get them out diving soon, even if we don’t get the boats out again before the end of the year.

At least Sundays dive was a little more interesting – Coming soon…

~Cal

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