Boat dive with Northland Dive,, out from Cape Brett on 20 an 21 Jan 07.  The trip was arranged with Dive HQ Whangaparoa through my good buddy Sharkbait.  The food and hospitality were great - my thanks to Julia and Shane for the weekend.  They are well on their way to getting Cow Shed Backpackers the way they want it.  Take a cheque book or cash, and be warned that cellphone coverage is perfect - if you want to get away from it all.  There is plenty to see (starting with the pet eels in the creek) and the place has heaps of potential.  If you ever get out that way, a clear night sky is something to behold.

Four dives over two days in the vicinity of Deep Water Cove (the eventual resting place of the frigate Canterbury) and Danger Rock.  Depth to 38 m in a 1 m swell.  Visibility ranged from 6 to 10 m.   Water temperature 17°C.  No appreciable current but a big surge, particularly on the last dive.

Some new species for the photo album and some reasonable photos of some old favorites, but the particulate matter in the water and the surge meant less-than-ideal conditions for photos.

The event of the weekend for me was a runaway accent from 28 m immediately after descending at Danger Rock.  After achieving neutral buoyancy my BCD went into overdrive.  Having never previously experienced the ‘ping, ping, ping’ as the BCD over-pressure relief operated I had no idea what was going on.  I pirouetted 360° looking for dolphins as the source of the noise - wrong, there were lots of little bubbles from behind my head and I had already lost 5 m.  My regulator was working fine and the SPG wasn’t dropping - another 10 m lost.  The BCD fill and release weren’t jammed (any more) another 15 m.  Hey, I was at the surface.  Regan, my dive buddy, ascended with me too quickly, forcing his computer into STOP.  My thanks for looking after me and my most sincere apologies for  screwing-up the dive. Unsure if we should abort the dive or re-descend we headed over to seek advice from Shane, a Technical Dive Instructor and acting boatman for the Northland Dive boat.  On his advice we descended to 15 m and worked the top of some pinnacles for about 45 minutes with a good 5 minute safety stop at 5 m.  I worked the BCD inflate/deflate frequently with no further problems.  I have no idea what the cause was but I suspect that the inflate button had stuck as I adjusted my buoyancy.  Darn! my gear had just recently been serviced.  On my next dive I will practice using my BCD dump valves which I have only used when testing my gear and emptying  the bladder following a post-dive rinse.

There were plenty of other minor calamities over the weekend.  Cody locked his keys in the car, the Dive HQ boat trailer got a flat and the wheel nuts were rusted solid causing Sharkbait to loose his sense of humor, the aircon on my car died... but as a conciliation I did get a spiny-crawly  thing for the table.

Click on the thumbs to view the full-sized images.