Sep 25, 2012

Seven Skies Wreck, 21-23 Sep 2012

Only two words really needed from this weekends’ trip report..... WHALE SHARK!! Yes, those lucky divers who were able to tear themselves away from Singapore's F1 weekend were treated to, not one, but two! incredible dives with a very friendly and inquisitive Whale Shark at the Igara wreck, providing a very special end to a fantastic weekend diving onboard MV White Manta.

After meeting at our regular rendezvous point at TMFT we set sail on Friday night for Indonesian waters, plotting a course to the popular Seven Skies wreck. We had a great group of enthusiastic, experienced and friendly divers onboard, determined to enjoy a weekend away from the City island of Singapore while indulging in some world class scuba action!

We were happy to welcome back a large contingent of returning friends - it's always great to see friendly faces: (Prudhoe family, Reiner Ebenhoch, Simon Banks, Brett Pennington, Kueh Hock Chye, Cathelin Ong, Ben Scuffins and Ben Vaughan) - along with some new friends: a group from Orpheus, Sarah Chan, Eve Yap and a German diver by the name of Rolf, courtesy of Waikiki travel.

With perfect conditions on the water the overnight cruise allowed us to get to know each other over a few drinks and great food. Some guests chose to make the most of our state of the art entertainment centre and catch up on a couple of movies; others prepared camera and video equipment for the following morning. The dive crew set about planning the next day, they were: Tony Goldsmith, AJ (Alphonsus Jude Joseph), Christopher von Mitschke-Collande, Darren from Orpheus, Johnson from Orpheus and of course, Mike T and Chris H.

Conditions were perfect as we arrived at the Seven Skies wreck, clear blue waters and very little current along with calm flat surface conditions meant that everybody was eager to get in the water as soon as possible. Talk of whale sharks recently sighted in the area added to the sense of anticipation.

Divers were rewarded with a rare sighting of quite a large devil ray. As we descended down the line to meet the top of the wreck at 23m, it was clear that this would be a special days diving, crystal clear waters revealed the true majesty of this huge wreck. Predatory barracudas hung off one corner of the superstructure and trevallies cruised around the structure. Friendly long-fin batfish approached divers to get a better look at these strange, bubble blowing intruders to their watery world. We enjoyed two super dives thanks to ideal conditions.

Next up: Katoka rock, where the sea floor raises up to 12m and provides valuable sunlight for a huge garden of hard and soft coral. In a time where coral reefs all over the world are threatened by the twin threats of rising sea temperatures and destructive fishing practices, it is heartening to see such a large area of coral reef thriving. Huge table corals and large porites sp. coral heads dominate the underwater terrain; colourful reef fish of all types use the reef for protection from larger predators.

A few of our divers were lucky enough to encounter an 8-strong shiver of black-tip reef sharks hunting amongst the valleys and channels of this incredible landscape. Other highlights included turtles, moray eels, scribbled filefish, bumphead parrotfish and a myriad of anemone fish, busily protecting their adopted homes.

For the final dive of the day it was off to Tokong Malangbiru for our night dive. Encounters with reef squid, turtles, many crustaceans, moray eels and cuttlefish made for a perfect end to a fabulous day. Naturally, after such a spectacular day everybody was looking forward to one thing... Dinner! Throughout the trip our chef provides an absolutely wonderful menu, keeping even the most demanding diver well fed and the smorgasbord of BBQ treats and Hong Kong style steamed fish welcomed our returning night divers!

The following morning we arrived at the Igara, Chris H and Tony dropped whilst it was still dark in to tie in a descent line whilst Mike T briefed the divers on what to expect from the dive... at no point did anyone mention or even consider the possibility of what we would encounter once we descended to the wreck! Chris H and Tony reported nice conditions, a nice current and reasonable visibility (as far as they could tell).

What was to follow would be the talk of the trip… a small (approx. 3.5m), yet majestic Whale Shark. To my belief this was the first Whale Shark encountered at the Igara Wreck by liveaboards operating from Singapore. It is the new MV White Manta’s first, and the first ever sighting for most of our guests too. Reiner Ebenhoch has waited 20 years and nearly 1,000 dives to see the biggest fish species on the planet! Well done everybody.

Thank you to all our guests, it was a pleasure to share such a magical experience with you all, let’s hope we get a chance to meet again soon and, fingers crossed, enjoy more wonderful moments underwater!