News & Trip Reports

Oct 24, 2013

WMS16 18-20 Oct 2013 - Whale Sharks at Seven Skies wreck; Batu Kataoka; Tokong Malangbiru and Igara wreck

The first fish seen by the guests on this trip was a whale shark.


Photo courtesy of Laura Gordon WMDM

We arrived at Seven Skies wreck for our first dive of the trip about 11am. Hayami and I tied onto the wreck in a significant current. We worked hard to tie the rope on the extreme of the starboard navigation wing so the rope would extend across the wreck as the divers came down.

Whilst recovering from the 30m+ workout - on the ascent up the rope I spotted a couple of large cobias passing quite close to Hayami. ‘Aha’ I thought – there must be a Whale Shark about! Then I realized it was right above our heads!

Photo courtesy of Hayami Narkta

It appears that all the divers had seen the said whale shark already as my shouts of ‘whale shark’ were followed by a chorus of ‘already’!

They had been circling the boat whilst we were tying into the wreck! It seems there were two – but I only saw one.

A great start to the dive trip; whale shark number 4 and 5 of the season on MV White Manta and the second sightings in the space of 8 days!

The first divers down the line gawped at the smaller of the two whale sharks as it scouted the divers from a safe distance. Those first on the wreck were treated to both – but they had moved on by the time the last divers made it down the line.

Both photos courtesy of Jeremy Lee

No repeat during the second dive and thus we moved onto Batu Kataoka for a shallower reef dive after Laura had retrieved the rope. This was almost a sunset dive – I was hoping to see some black-tip reef sharks. Robert and Laura from Seattle in USA did see one fleetingly as they scoured the reef on their x-scooters.

I love this dive – particularly when the current is mild; as you can drift with it and explore the vast area of the reef. It enables the divers to disperse too – in stark contrast to the former wreck dive. During the dive a heard a din of tank banging – I thought from the direction Marcus’ group had headed.’ Good oh’ I thought, they’ve seen a black-tip. No point chasing over there it would have gone by the time we caught them up. It was a bit bigger than a black-tip though. Another whale shark! Tremendous! WS count = 6!

Conditions were choppy at Tokong Malangbiru for the night dive – so we made it a short one. Long enough to find a few nocturnal creatures and have ink squirted at me by a big fin reef squid.

We followed a current on the overnight sail to the Igara wreck and arrived early. Hayami and I once again took to the water with the rope to tie into the wreck. It was a lucky combination this trip because we descended into fine conditions – excellent visibility, lots of fish-life and only a little bit of current.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Chao

We didn’t hang about – I tied onto the first sturdy metal hawsehole on the starboard side of the ship – the current running from starboard to port and slightly stern to bow. We surfaced within 10 minutes and told the divers to get cracking – the conditions were superb!

A fantastic weekend with some regular customers back on board: Andy Barker and Kim Blick; Karen Fletcher and Jonathan Prudhoe and Marie Goh’s pufferfish group from RBS. In that group were returning recently certified PADI Open Water divers: Sharon Ng and Ramzi Saouma. They achieved the PADI Advanced Open Water certification during the trip – as did Heike; close friend of Manisa – our Thai friend sporting brand new and pretty equipment.

Michael Smith was their instructor and the experience left him exhausted; I found him asleep on Sunday afternoon whilst he was listening to his pillow. He will be instructing Sophie during her DM course later this year and I see she was already emulating her future mentor!

Further mention goes to Sophie Maze; a regular diver with White Manta this season. Sophie has amassed PADI Rescue Diver and Deep Diver certifications during the season and consolidated her recent TDI Intro to Tech certification with TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures courses taught by Gary Savins. Kishore also completed his PADI Enriched Air Nitrox course during the weekend.

Photo courtesy of Laura Gordon

Many thanks to all of our guests – many of whom came with their diving partners on recommendation of a great weekend diving with White Manta – I hope we didn’t disappoint ;)

Photo's courtesy of Laura Gordon and Cindy Chao - yum!

Here's to another fantastic, incident free adventure on MV White Manta - excluding the giant jellyfish that attacked the divers on the safety stop at Igara. Yikes!!!

Trip: WMS16 18-20 Oct 2013
Author: Christopher Hutton