crew - trip one
'old bastards' crew - trip two
time we had two back to back trips running over March and April
and both were pretty darn awesome. Leaving from Hohura it takes
about 8 or so hours to get to the Kings however on the first trip
as we were late leaving and the weather was a little "uncomfortable"
we decided to make it as far as Tom Bowling Bay right up the top
of North Cape We headed over early the next morning in choppy but
not uncomfortable seas. Upon arriving a big cook up brunch was organized
then as the weather was perfect for the wreck site (15 Knot's NE)
we headed for the West King. I set up the ropes and Buoys for the
wreck site, organized drop bottles and briefed the crew. All was
set and I literally had my dry suit on up to my knees when the skipper
tells me the weather report has changed to 40 knot's not 15 and
"We're outta here".
rope leading to the treasure of the Elingamite wreck site
still (or so it seemed at the time) for safety we were running for
the west coast not home to Hohura on the east coast. We spent two
days getting blown in a bad way, playing cards, getting bored but
at least we had company in our misery- there was a heap of other
boats sheltering with us. The same storm reeked havoc in the top
of the North Island with severe flooding and several bridges damaged..
Come Thursday morning we poked our head out into the wild world
and found it wasn't so wild after all and off we went. The skipper
was kind enough to take pity on us and offered us an extra day-
the whether was perfect for the whole of the next two weeks.
again the wind was spot on for the wreck site so it was our first
stop where we set up the appropriate lines and had a bit of a dig
which produced a bunch of silver coins but no 'goldies. In total
we did only for dives on the wreck site on the first trip but we
still managed to drag up about 6 kilos of silver coins and five
gold half sovereigns. Fortunately the currents weren't too strong
i.e. they didn't pull the mask off your face while hanging on the
deco lone. The arms do get a bit stretched though. Still however
boring and uncomfortable the deco stops are, the surface interval
between dives is way too long. Skippy was diving on a rebreather
which pissed us all off as his bottom times were about 30% longer
and his deco stops 50% shorter. I wonder how many goldies it take
to buy a rebreather?
skipper Bill. Nothing was too much of a problem.
skipper of our transport 'Astrea' was awesome, nothing was too much
of a problem. He admitted later on he wasn't looking forward to
two boring weeks with divers but the first day he was as keen as
mustard (i.e. very). Everything we were doing was fascinating and
the pile of loot we gave him at the end of the trip helped especially
as all he wanted was a couple of tiles. It also helped that the
last trip he came up with didn't get any treasure at all so we looked
pretty good. Also Skippy had his laptop there so we downloaded our
photos after each dive and Bill could share in what we saw. It was
a bit of an eye opener for him. The deputy skipper/decky Steve was
awesome at his job too. Proper organization and a helpful hand on
the wreck site make it all go smother and safer and Steve was a
great help here. It also helps having an extra 110 kilos (120?)
of mussel around when dragging lumps of coin bearing crud onto the
boat. (well it was mostly mussel, ok some of it was).
some seriously pretty diving to be had at the King's
it must be remembered that the Kings are one site that make the
Poor Knights look like a slum. It's not all about a wreck no matter
how alluring the prospect of treasure maybe.
fish life up here is incredible and everything is bigger. No 'rat'
kingies up here they are all 20+ kilo's. Even the bottom dwelling
fish are bigger and bolder. While banging away on the wreck site
with hammers its a constant battle with the fish who are worse than
cats at feeding time. Unfortunately two fish succumbed to a blow
in the head as they tried to help.
dive we call 'Hole in Rock pinnacle' (ok we're divers- not a lot
of imagination at sea level-ok!) has massive schools of fish permanently
based on it plus, if you're lucky, a couple of resident bronze whaler
sharks. Then at 55 meters there's a cave with a beautiful display
of Gorgonian fans at it's entrance. Unfortunately the people on
the first trip missed the cave as their crap leader (me) turned
right instead of left when he got to the bottom.
the Elingamite wreck site at West King Island. The water spout
is about 15 m high, and this is a calm day!
of my personal favorites is the famous, world renowned 'Ken Durey's
dream pipe'. This starts at 20 meters with a vertical shaft going
straight down to 32 metres then it heads off at a right angle, for
about 150 metres. Both entrances are a forest of multi coloured
sponges, gorgonian fans and the special ivory coral, Oculina virgosa.
The entrance of the cave is not easy to find (I missed this on one
dive and had to try again latter, successfully thank God) but once
you are in there is enough room for a whole school of divers as
it's a cathedral shape and about 8 metres wide by 6 metres high.
Although there are a few big cray's living in the entranceways it
is considered a no take zone so as to preserve the flora.
for Bob (far right in the 'old buggers photo) this was this second
trip he missed out on the pipe, both times the current got too much
for him. At least this time he had the good sense to hall his 68
year old arse out of the water quickly, last time he ended up miles
away before we found him.
groper inside the dentists cavity, they are about 1 meter long.
Kings dives including the Dentist's Cavity, home of a school of
the rare and protected black spotted groper. These have been getting
noticeably bigger and friendlier with each trip up here. There are
about 10 or 12 living in the crack and they are often found outside
mooching around. Further around is a beautiful cave which drops
for 12 too 30 meters deep and is once again home to an stunning
garden of fans and sponges. It also was the home to a bunch of cray's,
probably is again by now.