So Day 2 started as any good dive day should with breakfast, a great selection on offer and WOW mammoth sizes, the choice of yours truly was a breakfast burrito with sausage and roasted potaoes and that thing was huge but really tasty and really filling.
Next it was off to analyse cylinders as we are all diving nitrox and then the dive briefing for the check dive. Once completed we kitted up and onto the rib for a short 4 minute trip to the dive site.
Everyone kitted up with the help of the guide CN (Cien) and the crew then with a nice coordinated boat entry we all hit the water at the same time. A quick check everyone was ok was followed by a 5 point descent in our buddy pairs onto the multicoloured reef that opened up below us.
A steady descent following the reef and going with the current to a maximum depth of 18m followed with CN picking out numerous mantis shrimps, frogfish, Nudibranch, Morays and a wealth of other underwater creatures.Gently ascending up the reef it was soon time to pop up an SMB, complete the 3 minute safety stop and ascend to the surface where the rib came to pick us all up and take us back to the resort.
A nice surface interval with refreshments and the obligatory cake followed before it was time to analyse cylinders for the next dive and then the next dive briefing. Again a local site with max depth of 16m and a short trip by rib to the site. so once the briefing had completed we were back in the boat and off the dive site 2.
The same coordinated boat entry from the rib but this time on the descent it was apparent that there was quite a considerable current. After we all battled against the current for a little while CN took the decision to turn the dive and go with the flow, much to the relief of all of the group.
For those that have never experienced drift diving it is something that you need to try at some time. Set your bouyancy and just go with the flow, no effort required apart from rotating your position in the water to see the different underwater creatures or to hold your position to take those all important pictures and your breathing can raise or lower you in the water to take you over objects of down behind them into slack areas.
So dive 2 over, back onto the rib and back to the resort it is decision time as there is the option to go and tour the Atlantis Live Aboard vessel the Atlantis Azores.
In the interest of research (after all this is a research trip!) I chose to do the tour of the Atlantis Azores setting the benchmark against the other liveaboards that Dive Rutland Club trips have used.
The vessel is 33m long but only caters for 16 divers so there is masses of space. The Atlantis Azores only serves the Philippines area with 3 current itineraries to choose from. The vessel is equipped with two zodiacs and these are boarded from the steps each side of the vessel so all 16 divers leave for the dive site at the same time. This is possible because of the way the dive deck is set out and the huge amount of space it has on it. Eight divers each side of the vessel, each diver has their own station set with 2 cylinders and a locker beneath for all of their dive gear to stow in. There is a large camera station in the centre with a fully flame proofed charging station and two further rows of shelving below for storing additional equipment such as torches.
Cabins are well set out and the saloon area is spacious and well equipped. The sun deck area has ample sun lounging areas and also a jacuzzi to ease away those aching muscles after a hard days diving.
So after the tour it was back to the resort, get kitted back up, analyse cylinders, dive 4 briefing and then off out in the rib again to the dive site. Same entry from the rib but this time as we left the surface and checked below us it was "Hello Mr Turtle". Directly below us but with all of these divers descending towards him he moved off but then came back about 5 minutes later for a full flypast swimming all the way along the length of the group before turning towards the deeper ocean.
The rest of the dive was a relaxing drift dive, just going with the flow and looking for that next special find with many more mantis shrimp, more nudibranch, clown fish etc everywhere you looked all the way until the end of the dive.
Back at the resort kit stowed and 3 cylinders each analysed for tomorrow diving. We are all off to Verde island. The first two dives on the pinnacle then a dive site called "The Washing Machine"
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE