I had the pleasure of doing my Wreck and Night Diver specialities this week. Having not been on a night dive for over 5 years, I was reminded of why I loved it so much. Bunaken night diving is amazing; enormous crabs lurking in the reef, mandarin fish hiding in the corals, and beautiful Pleurobranch displaying their splendid purple colour in the torch light. On the final dive, when I was required to turn my torch off for 3 minutes, I was lucky enough to be diving on a near full moon, and found that my body movements activated the bioluminescence. This made the three minutes rather enjoyable, this also served as entertainment for a student taking her advanced course night dive who commented on the light show she witnessed whilst all was dark.
Back in day time, the Bunaken wreck is in remarkable condition. Other than being sunk in 1942, very little seems to be known about it. I always relish the excitement of descending onto a wreck for the first time and watching the haunting shadow emerge from the blue. I had my first experience of wreck penetration and using a reel as a tactile reference. I also had a rather unwelcome encounter with a silt-out, and though we were only partially in an overhead environment, it became evident how dangerous a real silt-out can be and how quickly visibility can be reduced to nothing from the displaced sediment. If there was no natural light from the cargo hold opening, the line would have been our only form of exit reinforcing how vital a reference line is.
I completed my skill circuit assessment this week, and other than a few minor errors, passed with a comfortable score. I finished my swim tests as well, which are rather exhausting to say the least. Only the equipment exchange is left, which I have been advised by previous divemasters, is somewhat interesting. Things are going well, and I am enjoying the course. I appreciate the skills of my instructors and it is amazing to see how they deal with students especially when it comes to buoyancy. It is easy to forget how difficult it was to attain neutral buoyancy in the early days of diving and quite how much is involved for the instructor to assist and advise students whilst under the water. I have learnt how essential it is to brief a student clearly on the surface so they understand what signals mean when later relied upon for communication in the water. Much like everything with scuba diving, the theory is relatively simple; however, the practice is a whole different level.