What to do when your hang time turns out to be a hang on time? Two Fish Divers’ technical diving instructor shares an experience with in-current decompression.
Our guests Emma and Anthony from Australia got to experience some quite different conditions whilst tech diving with us at Bunaken. During our preparations and briefings Emma asked me when I normally send up my DSMB. The quick answer to that is when I know I can or when I have to, I would normally wait until towards the end of the last stop to signal the boat; as long as I was ascending where I had planned. This surprised Emma as she had been diving in the Gilis and they had always used their DSMB as an ascent platform from depth.
Due to the tides rushing over the fringing reef at Bunaken it is often not advisable to set up a DSMB early as this can drag you over the reef, or less seriously pull you away from the reef. Of course after briefings all full of caution; the first dive at Fukui was like doing deco in an aquarium; all stops up to 3m in a light to negligible current. Again the second dive that day, not a breath of current and deco followed the wall all the way up to 3m; a breeze! I am sure Emma was now wondering why she couldn’t use her DSMB as a platform; but all was to become clear on day 2.
On Mandolin we encountered a few underwater waterfalls and a bit of rock climbing was involved but we negotiated these and completed our shallow stops in fairly calm water. Dive 2 we were ready for anything!
Or so we thought, we hit a thermocline at 40m down to 20C, beautiful viz and loads of life. As we started our ascent all was going according to plan until we reached our 9m stop, here the ocean just started to pour down. Luckily we were at a bare out cropping where we could hold on, check everyone was managing and sit out our stop. We then proceeded up to 6 and then 4.5m where the reef was going crazy. A very enjoyable stop but a white knuckle ride. Once everyone’s tables were cleared and a bit of padding we signalled that we were going to release and complete the ascent blue water. Rollercoaster! We pretty much spun head over heels for a few minutes, even with a DSMB up there was no maintaining depth. As we slowly ascended you could see the water was boiling around us. Best dive in ages!