Lost in wrecks, scuba-hiking and hot springs

IMG_0537It was diving time! First stop was Irako Wreck, like the other wrecks in Coron a relic from an american air raid on Japanese ships during the 2nd World War. As we descended the visibility got worse and worse, not to mention when we entered the wreck. I could see perhaps half a meter in front of me using the flashlight. I was thankful when the divemaster and his buddy in front turned now and then so I could see their lights and follow them.

Not wanting to swim into something and cut myself I moved forward cautiously and of course lost track of them though. Mirsada didn’t see me and swam pass me in an area where it wasn’t so cramped. Lovely. So I was more or less blind inside a wreck about 35 meters below surface, alone. I remained calmed however and looked for lights and after some time I saw Mirsada a bit in front of me. We moved along but had not much bottom time left so we skipped the last penetration and got up a little earlier. It felt kind of lame but as the other guy pointed up – with that visibility everything looks the same.

The second dive was Olympia Maru, as I got down this time I got a new torch by the divemaster and realized that the earlier had been more or less broken. The combination of better visibility, no-one flipping up all the silt in a cramped area and my working torch made me realize what wreck diving is all about. It was awesome to the see the interior of the sunken ship and a new challenge to maneuver yourself through tight passages without getting stuck or bumping into things.

After persuading a tired Mirsada to go for one more dive we geared up but this time without wetsuits. The dive spot was Barracuda lake which was supposed to be rather warm. The fact that we needed to hike (remember those razor sharp cliffs I’ve mentioned earlier?) a couple of minutes before only added to the fun. Hikers in scuba gear was surely a sight.

The dive was really fun. First we got lucky and spotted the Barracuda (supposedly there is only one in the rather small lake) but then there was a really cool thermocline as well. The freshwater had trapped the salt water and working as a magnifying glass heated it up. The difference was between 26 and 38° C and the change was so sharp that one could swim with one hand in the cold 26° and the other in the warm and cosy 38°. On top of this the bottom of the lake was incredibly soft, one could shove an arm (or head :)) some 30-40 centimeters straight in the mud without problem. Really fun to play around with!

On the way back we chatted some more with the guy who’d presented himself as Tim and back at Sea Dive we had dinner together. He gladly joined us for our planned trip to the hot springs and we had a few beers there realizing how privileged we are that can experience days like this one. When we got back to the hotel I realized that one of my shoe was missing as we got off the tricycle. Bah. And one of my cute red ankle socks had also been tucked in the missing shoe. Bah indeed.

Tim and I had some more beers and chatted, he really had some interesting stories and seemed to live a rather nice life. He’d decided that working much wasn’t his thing so he now spent one month working and the next one on vacation. It really didn’t seem that bad.