With clear skies, calm seas and a gentle South-easterly breeze the conditions were perfect for a day out on the RIB. We set up out equipment and loaded the boat. With fuel in the tank and all the equipment firmly lashed we motored gently out of the anchorage of Sairee bay and opened the throttles. 17 minutes later the GPS told us we were in the vicinity of Southwest Pinnacle. We located the mooring buoys, moored up and got kitted up. With a dive team made up of experienced Divemaster trainees, we knew we could experience everything this more advanced dive site had to offer. After a backwards roll entry from the gunwales of the RIB we descended directly onto the western pinnacle. With thermocline sitting at around 18mtrs the visibility dropped back to around 6 metres as we passed through it. As soon as we did we were surrounded by the biggest shoal of chevron barracuda I have ever seen. The shoal was so big it covered almost the entire dive site. It was like swimming through a wall of barracuda, at the deepest point of the dive, around 28 metres, we were joined by 4 large cobia, at times the shoal of chevron barracuda parted, only to be replaced by dense sholas of juvenile yellowtail barracuda, fusiliers and smooth tailed trevally. After touring the deeper outer pinnacles of the site, and with no decompression getting low, we came in close to the main pinnacle and ascended up through the thermocline to find crystal clear water, perfectly showcasing the colours of the magnificent anemones that carpet the shallower reaches of the main pinnacle, circling the pinnacle, gradually working our way shallower, to ensure the most conservative dive profile possible we arrived at the top of the pinnacle at around seven metres. Nearing the reserve of our air supply I deployed my surface marker buoy, and we ascended to five metres for our safety stop, able to hover within site of the reef. As the three minute timer on our dive computers cleared, a few fin kicks brought us back to the RIB. We handed our weight and BCD’s back into the boat and finned our way back up the tubes back into the boat. After sharing our experience of the dive, with high fives all around we changed onto our second tanks, stowed our equipment and headed to dive site number two, Shark Island. Guiding the boat onto the buoy on the Southern side of the island, we were soon moored up, geared up, buddy checked and in the water. Dropping onto the large boulders that lie South of the outcrop, we followed our compass bearing towards Shark Island, passing through a tricky swim through on the way. With a gentle current running from East to West we followed our training and took a right turn, into the current, to work our way around the island in an anticlockwise arc. As our second dive of the day we knew our no decompression time was limited, working our way up the sloping coast of the island the shelving coral reef allowed to pick our depth to maximise our dive time, working steadily up from 19 metres through to five over the course of the dive. Reading my compass I could see that we had nearly completed our circuit of the dive site, and with 40 minutes of dive time elapsed, I deployed my surface marker, as agreed with the surface cover. I could feel the familiar tug of the surface current on the marker buoy. We still had ample air for another tem minutes at our current depth, swimming gently back towards the boat. Back onto the RIB we found ourselves back on Sairee beach within a few minute, experiencing the adrenaline pumping rush of the wind and skipping of the high speed vessel across the waves you only experience when diving from this platform. A great days diving was had by all.
DJL’s High Speed Rhib