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Just got back an hour ago, totally knackered after spending the night in Gatwick airport waiting for my connection back to "The Toon".

What can I say except, "You had to be there..."
This is from Daedalus reef and is only as much of the shoal as I could fit into the viewfinder, count these puppies  




 

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Street Cleansing Operative
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<font color='#000080'>Oh my god!

Can't wait to hear about the rest of it!
 

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Ooooh Dr Stevil... you have no idea how much we all hate you right now
  Look forward to the report and the rest of the pics

Helen
 

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we aren't your friends any more....
but cant wait to see the rest of the pics.:D
 

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Oooooo, how exciting! Can't wait to see some more pic's !!!

We are booked on Blue Pearl in June for the southern red sea so fingers crossed for hammerheads for us too!!

Scubachick
 

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Hi,

A big thankyou to all who came on the trip, it was a majical week, and a wonderful way to console myself for being 40.

Bought a pile of CD's and will start burning them later.

Decided rather than bother Steve with this we will have an honour system.

Will everybody who wants a CD please e-mail or PM me with there address and send a cheque to the RNLI for a fiver.

Also will,

Splat, GD, Wanabee, Trixi, Dolly, Trucker, Dick (who I must say took being called Dick all night very well), Idle, Mel and Kerr please pay there respective fines directly to the RNLI also.

Thanks again for coming,

ANdrew
 

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Jonah
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Sounds like you guys had a great time. We eagerly await the TRIP REPORT.

(that's a HINT, by the way
)
 

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Well if the piccies make you jealous, I'm not sure if I should tell exactly what the main guy allowed us to do, we've already gutted a bunch of Trimix divers at the airport by retelling our itinery


       YD Hardcore Bimble Techies rule OK!


Needless to say next time I go back I'm going to make sure I'm with the same diving manager


Big kudos to Andrew for getting the gig together and for making the itinery happen the way it did, I think it's enough to forgive the trip agents for their several admin faux pas (s)

Big big kudos for my "personal sharkspotter-extrodinaire" buddy over the trip, Howard, the DIR boys will be mighty impressed with his RS sty-lee, but for now...

 

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Good to have you back mate, The pictures are awesome. Unfortunately none of my hammerhead photos came out to well from the Brother Islands last year - but then I am still using film.
 

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Gotta go digital Noel, it'll pay for itself at some point

Like Bowie sang "Blue blue electric blue..."  Diving Dude shows the DIR boys how it's done  


 

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Mark Chase gets so excited at the prospect of seeing the Aida's prop that his head explodes, don't you just hate it when that happens


 

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The stern of the Aida, even a fish-prodder like me was blown away, this is an awesome wreck dudes...
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>just another thank you to all on the trip for making it soooo good.
Great idea with the CD's Andy, although UK dry baggers may not be able
to take a whole CD of shots at once.
My £25:00 going in the box at work on Wednesday.

Where to go next !!!!!

Alias Mel

TOG Diver
 

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Hi,

OK,

A little trip report;

The trip was booked to do the Brothers / Daedalus and Elphinstone. With a certain amount of "negotiation" we were to be allowed to dive the Aida and the Numibia anyway we liked, provided we were on twins. We were due to go out on the Blue Pearl, which is an awsome looking boat, but got switched to the Royal Emporer at the last moment. Despite a few minor grumbles at the size of the cabin (not from me - snicker). It turned out to be a blessing, the main dive guide is a chap called Ali Baba, famous for being the first ever deaf dive instructor, TDI Trimix instructor etc, etc, etc. A grand chap he is too.

The itinery was;
Day 1 - Elphinstone - Two dives, which for me involved the worst ever weight check with Lizzy, I was very nearly garroted by the rope on the ladder.
Day 2 - Big Brother - Dive one the Aida - woof, woof. What a fantastic dive, Sir Stevil, kicked his deepest dive so far into touch, and Mark and I went for a quick trip to the prop, bloody marvelous
Dive two - The Numibia, the current was running hard on this and we all had a bit of a fight to get onto it, but once there it is an awsome dive, found the engines, right down to the pistons, bit of a traffic jam as Mark and I met Steve and Howard in a small space, but a definite do again dive for me. Didn't quite make it to the prop, but 85M on air is perhaps pushing it a smig.

There were two more dives but I will let others fill in the gaps, we split up as a foursome for these two.

The next day it was off to Little Brother, four more dives, Huge fan corals, Thresher sharks, Silvertips and an Ocean grey, this was becoming one cool trip

Then the North Point at Daedalus, Hamerhead central as it has become known.
Dive one, we jumped in, Ali lead us out into the blue, I looked around us and thought, no way was any self respecting shark going to stay around us here, turned to look for Mark, but he was heading off to the surface, unfortunatly his camera had come off his wrist and he was gone. So off I went to join Howard and Steve, who were sitting out in the blue showing no signs of going anywhere. Well, as I arrived next to Howard, he started to make the most bizzare noise, sort of a strangled scream / grunt, I looked where he was, and............. bloody hell, they were everywhere, above us, below us, infront. You can't imagine what it is like to be in the middle of so many sharks, awesome, fantastic, superb. We stayed a while longer and some more came past. Add this to the fact that apparently I had already missed a load. There came a point where I had to grab hold of Steve and drag him over to the reef (slight exaggeration), I am certain he would still be there now given the choice.

Dive two and more of the same, actually more of everything.

I am going to stop now cos I have to go out, someone else can pick up the story.

Andrew
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Sorry but I am not going to say too much, other than you all had the chance to join us.  At first I was a bit dissapointed not to be on the Blue Pearl as I had been looking forward to it for so long.  But as it turned out and listening to other divers reports of the other boats I think we really came out the best. As we were all really left to do the diving we wanted to especially the twinset guys who despite during the original breifing were told to limit the dives to an hour, Steve what was your longest one, hour and a half  
.  Diving and company were excellent I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

Never seen as many hammerheads infact never seen them before and definately never seen a thresher shark, so there are now two more ticks in the book.  Alibaba and Abdul were really great and so much fun.

Anyway that's about it some else will say it all alot more eloquently than me, but thanks to Andy for organising the trip and everyone on it for making it such a great week.  Started with a cold on the last day so now feel like shit and to cap it all came back to a broken down fridge  
so first purchase I have just made is a new one, I am sure there are better things to spend £200 on


Never looked forward to going back to work so much as I can have a look at all the photos I took, then there is the trip CD to look forward to, thanks Andrew for your hard work on that one.

Cheers everyone.  FB aka Trixie xx
 

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OK writing a trip report for a weeklong trip is a bit of an awesome task but here goes

First the Principle Characters:

Andrew (Andyp) Captain Ker, Hardcore Tec bimble fish prodder & photo editor.
Lizzy (Trucker??) Why fin if somone is willing to tow you
Howard (Diving dude) Words fail me…
Steve. (SteveW) The most intelligent Northern monkey I have ever met
Fiona. (Fionab) She said I had a nice ass, so a dive goddess with dubious visual ability
Jenny. How did she get that personal stylist through as hand luggage?
Ling  (Ling Chase)‘I don’t like sharks?’

Mark  (Mark Chase) Oops there goes another bit of kit
John (John Nutcliff) Not so bad after all
Peter Thoroughly nice bloke with an SAC of about 2
Dave Complete non-entity with his head so far up the ass of Ali Ba Ba we rarely saw his face.


Ali Ba Ba Dive God favourite saying, ‘Shut up you wanker’ and ‘OK who wants to do 150m’

Please note that the Deep dives on this trip were only possable due to the 70m and 100m qualification rating of the Trimix qualified divers on board.


As the Royal Emperor slipped away to Elphenstone reef all thoughts of the pre trip cock ups and grief slipped away too and we settled in for the week. The boat was not bad at all even if the cabins were a bit basic and in need of some TLC. Most of the concerns were outweighed by the fact we had the legend that is Ali Ba Ba as a dive coordinator. Deaf as a post and able to lip read four languages and sign he is famous for finding the Rose Lee Muller wreck and for being the only Deaf instructor on the PADI list.

For reasons unknown our weight check dives were skipped in favour of sorting it out on the surface above the reef edge which was fine will all aboard as the general levels of experience were pretty high. The first days diving on Elphenstone was for me uneventful apart for being bounced off the rib and loosing my beloved big eye mask on dive two so perhaps some one else will do a bit on this day.

Day two and the fun starts big time. We arrive at Big Brother and Dive 1 is on the Aieda shipwreck. This is a beautiful wreck starting at 35m and ending at 60 to the prop. Deep air is the order of the day and Andrew Howard and Steve are in my group and we were all twinned up for gas. I have done deep blue air to 70 so I know what to expect but there is some concern in the group. I agree to signal Andy at 45m to check comfort levels. In the event I stopped, turned to signal OK and was nearly flattened by the rest of the group in there rush to get down to the lower sections of the wreck. Everybody’s deep air cherry well and truly popped we continued to explore this beautifully coral encrusted wreck with the light buzz of narcosis only available in warm clear blue water.  The wreck has easy penetration into the holds and loads of exit points with light streaming through so its easy to get right inside and have fun.

Stevew apparently did a self narcosis test which started with the Square route of 9 and ended with calculating the coefficient of linier expansion of a micro polymer exposed to a high magnetic field. He claimed to have done all these calculations easily but was a bit concerned that he wasn’t sure which way was up.

The beauty of the Red sea reef wrecks is the deco is spent bumbling along looking at the most stunning coral and fish life. We found a Hawks Bill turtle hiding in a hole and the first shark picks were taken of faint grey outlines in the distance. At the time these grainy images were treasured possessions proof positive of a White tip sighting to make the others green with envy. Little did we know.

Dive two was on the Namibia. 3m at the top and 83m to the prop this was a formidable wreck and we were regretting not being able to access the He for trimix prior to the trip despite the best efforts of Andrew. As it was we dropped down to 45m and entered the wreck just forward of the main super structure. A quick left turn and down the stair case and you’re in the engine room. Unlike the open light holds of the Aieda the engine room is a dark and tight dive not for the faint hearted. After investigation of the lower section of the boiler and engine, obvious exit points were lost. Andrew and I had done penetration into wrecks in low viz UK conditions so this was not a big deal. We covered our torches and followed the glow of ambient light and were soon spoilt for choice of exit points. Any deeper investigation into this wreck would require Trimix and line laying IMHO. And I would love to have a crack at it.

Howard & Steve re-grouped with us and we said good-bye to the Namibia for a while and headed out again over to the reef. Andrew and I were determined NOT to get back on the rib, which was a major PITA with a twin set so we proceeded to fin off down the whole length of big brother to the Royal Emperor located at the southern tip.
Unfortunately my Suunto Vytec threw a wobbly after I dropped down to 25m to take a pic of something and it refused to clear deco. Andrew invented a new PADI under water signal that meant ‘bugger this I am going for a ***’ so after 94mins in the water 45min above 10m and with the VR3 having cleared 20mins ago we got fed up and I bent the Vytec getting back on the boat.

This would have been fine as I had a spare back up computer but I was confronted with the news that Ling had lost her Viper during her dive so she would have to use the Mares Surveyor for the rest of the trip. Bugger no back up computer for 48 hours.

Little Brother was to follow the next day and once again sharks were spotted but this time it was a Hammer Head. The grainy pic was put forward as proof and those that did gloated and those that didn’t were green with envy.

Day four and we were on Dadalous reef. The plan was two days diving on this large reef and I was a bit disappointed as there were no shipwrecks to investigate. First dive was out in the blue on the north tip. Negative entry was the new tactic to avoid the surface currents and I for one took great pleasure in rolling of the rib and dropping like a stone in the inky blue to your pre chosen depth.  

At between 40 and 50m we waited for the sharks. 10 mins passed with nothing and we started to edge up and towards the reef. At 35m with Andrew out front we herd a scream from Howard and turned to see a large shoal of hammerheads looming out of the blue. I grabbed Andrew and we finned back to see the action. As the sharks loomed up I was doing a reg swap and got my camera tangled in my reg hose. In the untangling manoeuvre I managed to drop my camera and watched it float up to the surface. Bugger. I told Andrew to stay and I slowly rose up from 40m to get it. Whilst the boys below were snapping shots of 40+ hammerheads I was staring up from 6m trying to get through 8mins of deco without loosing site of my camera.
Camera recovered I dropped down to 10m and started to investigate the reef. Having gone into a deep crack I found a cave full of sleeping Lionfish. Howard appeared behind me and despite me scaring most away with my camera I sent him forward to see. Slipping into another crack I found another cave with a sleeping white tip shark in it. I took a pic of the 1.5m shark and backed out to find Andrew coming in. I sent him forward to see the shark and he proceeded to stick his head into the cave. At that exact moment the shark’s head appeared beside him sticking out of another entrance. The shark couldn’t get past Andrew because I was there so it stopped dead. I looked at it and it looked at me. The pic of the shark next to Andrew would have been a classic but I was frightened to take it in case the thing got pissed off by the flash and took a chunk out of my dive buddy. Just then Andrew extracts him self from the cave and is signalling ‘what bloody shark’ as the beast takes flight and manages to squeeze through the 1/2m gap between Andrew and the rock face at about 30mph.

I was amazed just how loud a man can scream underwater and was equally amazed that I didn’t spit the reg and drown such was the raucous nature of my laughter.

Day two on Dadalous and we are at the North tip again. Just about every one has seen a Hammer-head My wife Ling and Lizzi were at 15m when a Great Hammer head over 3m long swam past within touching distance. Ling hid behind the dive guide pushing him forward as the preferred meal.

Andrew and I had done the North point hang and were fining back down the east side reef having in the last 15mins seen a white tip, thresher shark and a hammerhead. We started to hear a squeaking noise that grew ever louder until it was defining. At this point a large pod of Grampus dolphins finned past some 6 m away from me. I had never seen a dolphin under water and I was thrilled to bits.

The soft corals were spectacular and the massive giant sea fans and table corrals were some of the best I have ever seen but for me the highlight of the show was the Mountain Coral that over hung the edges of the reef forming massive German helmet shapes each one with its own shoal of Anthias on guard.  

We left Dadalus reef that night with a heavy hart. Not only were we leaving behind the best reef most of us had ever seen but we were heading back to our last days diving on Elphenstone which was sadly for me a bit of a known quantity so could have been an anticlimax. Ali Ba Ba had other ideas.

Lets do the Arch he said. 60m to the bottom and 50 to the top and 55 in the middle
?? It would a nice little challenge to end the trip. Howard Andrew and Steve having done 50+ on the Aieda decided they were up for it and despite being only on a 15ltr John decided to have a crack too. I cant say I was thrilled at the idea of someone doing it on a single but with the viz the way it was and 5 other twin set divers with long hoses I decided not to protest. John was pretty sorted in the water too so that helped. Dave had canned on the day as he couldn’t get his head together before the dive so a smidgen of respect went begrudgingly his way for making the right choice.

We dropped in directly over the arch and drifted down over the saddle. I hung back to video them all dropping down then I rocketed to the bottom for a vantage point to get them all passing through the arch. It was good fun and an excuse to push 55 on air but I won’t be rushing back to do it again. Steve dropped down to clock the 60 which is after all a nice round number and we all headed up the side of the reef to do deco and fish prodding. A juvenile whit tip popped up to say hi but apart from that it was a fairly uneventful dive and we were all safely back on the boat after about a 30min deco commitment.

Dive two was to be our last. I was a bit miffed at this as it was only 10.30am and we weren’t flying till 8.30pm the next evening. We could have dived up till 5pm and still had 27hours desat before flying. By way of revenge I decided to drop in with Stevew and Howard at the north end of the reef and to do the full length back to the boat. It took me 100mins J. This was a truly great dive to finish on. We saw yet another Hammer Head a white tip swam straight at me and at last I got a couple of good shark picks. A Napoleon wrasse followed us I saw a turtle and a dolphin and I found a massive moray eel laid out in a cave fully exposed. The north tip was apparently the place to hang but we struggled so much against the current to get there that we gave up at the crack and drifted back. The drop off on this side of the reef looked very interesting but the morning deep dive put paid to investigation of any of the caves found in the 40+ zone.

My Vytec was once more an irritation as it racked up 35mins of deco on the deep section of the dive and despite 45mins above 10m it still refused to give me credit and after clearing only 10mins of deco above 6m I decided to get out of the water and bend it yet again with 25mins of deco remaining un cleared. Thank God for the VR3. Despite having racked up almost the same deco as the Vytec it cleared almost all of it on the 10m section of the dive leaving only 6mins at 6 to finish off before exiting the water.

The last night of the gig Andrew arranged a charity penalty point’s game to raise funds for the RNLI, which was great fun. Obviously Dave didn’t join in and went to his cabin. This finally confirming his place at the top of the complete tosser tree. I managed to stop Andrew beating the crap out of him but only just. I think we raised something like £150 for the RNLI with £100 in fines and £50 from Andrew generously offering to do a CD of some of the fantastic photos taken on the trip and selling them for a £5 donation. Not only that but he paid for his own one to.

I had a truly great time with some great people and I hope we can all get together and do it again next year. Special thanks to Captain Kur (andyp) for getting this trip off the ground, Howard for being Howard, Steve W for making me forever think of toast as a carbonated bread product and Fiona for being just lovely and saying I have a nice ass.

I want that on my gravestone.


ATB

Mark Case
 

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great trip report mark.

Just tell me how do you get the liveaboard to supply twins and let you dive deeper/longer?
jules:D
 
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