Date: 31 Dec 2007
Location: Fortune Island
Maximum depth: 70 feet
Dive time: 45 minutes
Air used: 2000 psi
Strong northeast winds caused significant chop en route from Tali, with a troublesome rolling swell persisting even in the lee of the island. This unfortunately made the best Fortune Island dive sites — Canyons and Blue Hole — inaccessible, so the only relatively calm alternative was a generic reef dive off the island’s west side, within sight of those incredibly campy fake Greek ruins the resort recently put up.
My gear was, as usual, cobbled together from family leftovers, but I was glad to at least have my own mask. The BC vest was a source of some grief, partly my fault: I forgot to attach the direct feed hose, an omission which I only discovered after jumping into the water. (My brother Francis was kind enough to fix that for me.) Another annoyance presented itself after swimming against the surface current to the anchor line at the front of the boat — I could not descend without first finding the BC’s vent valve pull-string or deflator button, both of which were proving hard to find on this borrowed BC while simultaneously trying to hang on to the anchor line against the current in a heavy rolling swell. Partly it was my own unfamiliarity with the unit, but partly it was that the vent valve pull handle was star-shaped rather than the standard ball I was used to, and the deflator button was also of a different shape from what I expected. I spent about 500 psi of air flailing about the vest trying to find either deflator before finally finding the star-shaped vent pull, deflating, and making my way down the anchor line.
I took a few photos and some video with my Canon Powershot SD 1000 (in a WP-DC13 underwater housing) but there was really not much to see. Most of the dive was unremarkable, a landscape of crushed coral populated by small fish with occasional glimpses of larger life occasionally passing by. Highlights included a medium-sized giant clam, a small fish with a long and thin dorsal fin, and a large jack which was unfortunately too distant to photograph. Some highlights: