People have asked me about the best dive I have ever had. Well to be honest that is a tough one, most dives are better than a day in the office but there are a few that stand out.
There are so many different styles of dives ranging from wreck, cave, cage, deep, but personally I always enjoy dives where I see big fish. I have dived with Manta Rays, Sharks, Whale Sharks, Turtles and Dolphins and have tried to stay to my last drop of air as it is absolutely awe inspiring seeing these majestic fish whilst diving.
So my best dive is as follows.
Even though I am Australian and some people might think this has some bias but the answer has to be Australia. Even though the Red Sea has the best diving in general the best dive I have ever had was at a place called South West Rocks in the north of New South Wales.Located just off the coast from a sleepy little village called Forster you catch a boat and within 5 minutes you on top of a small island, similar to the islands dotted around Ibiza.
The guides are all hippies and don’t rush you in anyway but boy do these guys know their way around the dive sites. You drop off the boat and follow these long haired skinny fish into a cave that is completely dark. You turn your torch on and you think to yourself, they lied this isn’t a cave this is a tunnel about the same size that Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson crawled through to escape from the Germans in WWII.
The heart rate increases, and before you know it the shadows that are cast off the wall start to make you wish you has followed their advice and use the toilet before departing.
Then something bumps you and that’s it, the flood gates open but it was nothing to be alarmed about, it was only a GROUPER the size of a VW that has come to see what has disturbed its sleep.
Then it gets interesting, the tunnel finally turns into a cave, big enough to now turn around to see if your wife is still behind you or has she been taken by a mysterious serpent that takes great enjoyment in leaving a man without any way of feeding himself. She is still there and we hold hands to confirm our love or so that to help each other to stop shaking. What a trip!
The light at the end of the tunnel gets bigger and brighter and the nerves start to calm down and the your breathing slowly return to normal. You look at your gauge and are amazed at how long you have actually been underwater and how much air you have consumed. Seriously you go through air here quicker than in any other place I have dived because of the fear factor.
Then you are finally illuminated and can see your fins at last and you begin to feel that the worst of best however you want to look at it is over. The guide turns to you and asks if you are OK and of course you say yes because the last thing in the world right now is to have a man made out of match sticks thinking you are soft. He winks at you and you think it is a sign of respect or congratulations but it is his way of putting you into a false sense of security.
The fun part as they say is about to start.
Penny (my wife) and I are smiling thinking all is going to be OK but like a double ending to a horror movie you turn around the corner and are confronted but at least 40 sharks. Oh My God. These aren’t small little reef sharks these are sharks that like flesh of any kind. Not known recently for taken humans but are graded in the top 5 most dangerous sharks in Australia, behind of cause the Great White, Tiger, Mako, and Bull Shark. These things are called Bronze Whalers look them up…… man eaters.
40 of them and they are all facing us. This is because they are facing into a current and we are in the current sailing towards them. They face the current so the oxygen passes over their gills and they don’t have to move. And here we are being propelled towards them at a rate of knots in a wetsuit full of nerve juice. Mmmm I am sure that somewhere I read that sharks are attracted to this and can pick up on the sent.
Also I read that sharks can sense fear. We felt like human pin balls bumping of these man eater. It was this point I realised why all the guides were so skinny, because all the fat ones had been eaten. I’m 130kg and I am seriously starting to piss them off as they probably aren’t happy with the fact that I am hitting them all and disturbing their chill out time.
Dory made it through the jellyfish in Finding Nemo, we can do it.
Then something in my peripheral vision caught my attention, its Penny and she is fining past me head down and kicking like a mule, go for it Penny you go first, better you than me, but I grab her and slow her down, not because I’m a gentleman but I need her. I’m useless without her like most men. We get though the pack of hungry wolves and look behind us, but low and behold they have all turned and are now facing us again. Are we in a vortex or are these guys ready to attack.
To the boat, this is not fun anymore this is quite possibly anybodies worst nightmare. Safety stops done and the boat in reach we start to surface. The guy on the boat is having a beer and really not paying attention to our needs. We ask him to lower the ladder and in an Australian county accent he says “ladders broke mate”, you will have to take you kit off in the water and pass it up.
Great more time in hell!
Penny you go first Ill wait for the inevitable. But please for the love of god hurry up. Penny gets on the boat; I’m still in the water and starting to pray. The guides in the boat as well and I’m like how did you get in their so quick, he says the ladder you asked for is broke but the other one on the other side of the boat works great.
I get on the boat and take my kit off and look at these guys and ask what was all that about. City folk they say, we like to wind you up a bit. Thanks mate but I felt like shark boat out there. No mate they only feed at night this lot, in the day time they are really peaceful and almost in a state of unconsciousness, they won’t hurt you, we dive here everyday and nothing ever happens.
The boat trip back was not quick enough for me but before we knew it we were laughing as the adrenalin started to subside. They guides were funny as hell and told us that they do this most days and everybody reacts pretty much the same way. They don’t have a night club up there and the bars are rubbish so they have to get their kicks somehow. To our surprise we were back on the dive boat again the next morning and having already done the dive once we were chomping at the bit to get back in the water. There were 3 other divers on the boat as well and we let them go first. The dive guides went through the same routine and having once been a victim to their sense of humour I felt for them but realised that these guys new what they were doing and that if it was good for me then it was good for everybody especially if they were city folk.
Although I have dived all over the world, this dive was the best for emotional reasons as there were so many highs and lows but to be surrounded but 40 man eaters, and being a lover of big fish, this dive will take a lot of beating. Penny rates it as well but I think the next time we dive somewhere with country folk she will send me out there first and stay on the beach with the baby before she commits to a dive in a new centre.
For any further information about Punta Dive go to email us or call Nick on 660 919 532
Look forward to seeing you underwater soon,
Nick the fish……