Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday 03/01/2010 - Hideaway Island Dive

Today we had nothing planned so we decided that after a leisurely breakfast and a stroll into town to get medications for the ear ache I had, after walking around town, bought more DVD's and priced some traditional carvings for our last shopping day.

The above carvings are located all over Vila, they're a nice little unexpected piece of culture.

The streets are adorned with decorations of cultural significance, including the spiral-type pattern representative of a boars tusk - a sign of a chief.

We noticed this correctional facility. In typical Vanuatu relaxed style there wasn't much security to speak of.

A bit further down the road we noticed the Australian High Commission which had what seemed (compared to the correctional facility) and excessive amount of security measures.

We thought we'd head over to Hideaway island and see if we could book in some dive gear hire and go out for a dive.

We thought that we'd be able to just hire the dive gear and go on our own dive, but when we went to hire the gear the lady sold us a guided dive as well, so we ended up diving Hideaway 1 - The Wall. It was weird diving with someone other than our usual dive crew so soon after getting our dive ticket. Upon 'stepping into the water' it became clear that I didn't have the neutral buoyancy I was used to. I stayed calm and continued to use my flippers to maintain my position in the water. As I signaled to the boat that I was in trouble, with the 'so-so' hand signal, some of the more experienced divers approached me to give assistance. To minimize the discomfort caused to them trying to assist me I stopped kicking (stupid idea) it was then that I started to sink, one hand on my weight belt ready to jettison it to the depths, people were shouting to me giving me instructions I couldn't hear properly as I was still partially deaf from the ear ache I was recovering from. Panic started to set in when hubby came to my rescue and manually inflated my BCD. I was so embarrassed making my way back to the boat where the dive master examined the BCD inflation device to discover that the inflation button had become dislodged from it's housing. After this minor panic, the rest of the dive went relatively smoothly. Towards the end of the dive hubby was having problems obtaining underwater neutral buoyancy, the dive master transferred all of his weights to hubby's BCD. Once we surfaced he told us that the solution to hubby's flotation problem was to get a steel tank as the weight wouldn't vary as much from a full to an empty tank. Once we'd returned to the island we were informed that we could have just hired the gear and gone out on our own from the shore. I was disappointed that we didn't get to dive just hubby and I, but by the same token I was happy that we were guided as the buoyancy issues I experienced early on may have panicked me.

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