Friday, October 10, 2008

Satteel (two dives)

After breakfast and some rest, we decided to go for another dive. The plan was to join with Inbal and Spoky and Matan. Once again Avi O joined us, and took the equipment with his van to the sateel (5 min walk, but still...)

Unlike usual days when the place is crawling with divers, most of them in courses learning how to dive, in this dive we had the place to ourselves.

Two minutes into the dive Matan showed up behind me and crowned me with a Zer that he made for me on occassion of my b-day. Here is a not-so-great picture of what it looks like.

The thing actually hurt my scratches from the day before, and so after few minutes I moved it to a clips over my shoulder.

We got to the ship wreck and started exploring its insides. Avi and I got into the forward chamber where there is a large school of cave fish that live there. I tried to capture them with partial success.

From there we moved to explore other parts of the wreck, and got to see some of the usual residents.

From the insides of the wreck we moved to the deck and then to the upper control tower. I spotted a frogfish but his face was turned away and it was impossible to take a proper picture of it.

When Avi and I noticed our air was down to low levels (50-70 bar) we decided to stop shooting pictures and move on. We found Inbal and Spoky playing games in the water (turns out later they lost a knife) and Matan meditating in a lotus position. He tried to swim back in this position which looked awkward. After few minutes he managed to strain his shoulder muscles and so I had to watch out for him.

We got back to land safe and happy.

We spent the late afternoon talking with people next to the poole. Once the hag was over we all wanted to eat, and the young kids were starting to demand attantion. It took a while but eventually we managed to reserve a place in a resturant and Efrat, Matan, Maya, Inbal, Spoky and me had a nice dinner, although Maya tired out in the middle, and so Efrat took her back to the hotel.

The plan was to do a night dive after the dinner. Matan didn't feel up to it, and neither did Spoky and and Inbal. Since we also coordinated with Avi and Michael (Manta Ray), I said that I will go with them. I called Avi, and found out that Michael also bailed out. And so Avi and me went alone for a night dive.

We decided to try the Sateel again at night. We got there and the plan was to get in without lights and see if we can spot the small fish that use bioiluminscensce.

As usual it is amazing how much you can see underwater once you get your night vision. We found the wreck without a problem (a huge dark shadow in the water). Once there we turned on the light and got inside to the forward nose chamber. This chamber is totally closed except for the door, and so once we turned off the light it was pitch dark. The idea was to wait for few minutes to see if the shy fish will come out from hiding. Waiting these few minutes in a totally dark room while floating in the water (knowning that various beams of metal are around me, was actually quite hard. I had to concentrate to calm down my breathing and pay attention to my surrounding. To our disappointment we didn't see anything.

After few minutes we turned on the lights and moved into a small room off the engine room (passing two doors to get there). Being smarter now, I choose a place where I can hang on to a metal rail, and so I had a point of reference when I turned off the light. After a minute or so of wait I started seeing small glowing objects moving in the inside of the room. At this stage it wasn't clear whether I was imagining or not, but as they moved closer it was clear it was a fish. These fish have two sacks that light up at night (I guess symbiosis with bacteria). These sacks are on either side of the fish, below the eyes, and resemble a bit the shape of an eye of an evil cartoon cat (glowing yellow eyes).

When we got tired of staying there we moved up to the deck and then to the back cargo bay. This bay is open from above, so we slowly descended into it. Once below the deck level we could see the glowing fish in different corners of the bay. There wasn't a large school, but rather individual fishes going back and forth. In the second cargo bay we also saw them, and then we looked up we saw points of lights moving in and out of the command structure (like ghosts). Turns out that the whole ship (except the front room where we started) is full of these glowing fish.

After half an hour of dive, we started heading back. Again we did this in the dark using campass to show the direction of the shore. In the end I didn't use the camera at all in this dive (except for one picture that didn't come out well) and barely used our lights. Nonetheless it was a very special and magical dive.

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