We wake to a slightly overcast morning but we are pumped for our deepest dive yet. Four of us have the new Adreno 30lb Wing and backplate set-ups with a alloy backplate. So far they are working a treat and we are all wrapped in them. Now we are keen to see how they perform with a large single tank and a larger than normal 40cu.ft nitrox pony bottle.
By the time we have breakfast and leave in the boat its raining. Halfway thru the 20 minute boat ride to the Nippo Maru it starts pouring with very low visibility. Rio the guide is worried as he can’t see the land to reference marks for putting us on the wreck and there no GPS’s in any of the boats. By the time we get there the rain has gone and we look over the side and its a very deep blue. Vis is normally 8-25m on this deep wreck and we jump in to find it well in excess of 40m and basically endless. Woohoo!! The wreck is amazing with loads of stuff to see and fantastic penetration options. Outside the wreck there are schools of Tuna with open mouths buzzing around eating, sharks and very large dog tooth tuna hovering overhead. There are field guns, trucks and even an armoured tank sitting on the deck. We have the best dive and end up doing 45 minutes on the wreck and 50 minutes deco make 95 minutes underwater and for most of the guys, their longest dive ever. The Adreno wings performed flawlessly and the Beuchat regs are a delight to breathe off at depth.
We have a pretty laid back lunch break and spend time visiting the local store, sleeping and sorting out the 100+ photos we are all taking each dive. The exception is Lisa – she is our Videographer for the trip and has been getting some great footage with her Sony camera. She is trialling some new Bersub underwater video lights that are very powerful. They are unique with the 6 LED’s in each light being colour matched to the sun’s colour temperature making the perfect transition between sunlight and the Bersub lights.We rock on back to the dive shop and decide to change the arvo’s dive from the I-169 sub to the larger Kansho Maru. This is a 375ft long freight sitting upright in 40m of water. The deck has beautiful soft corals and interesting items such as typewriters, crockery, 50 cal shells and a great wheelhouse complete with telegraphs and the ships wheel. The best thing however is the engine room. The engines are massive and there are 4 levels of steel walkways and stairs surrounding the engine. Rod and myself elect to drop down to each level to explore and find the gensets, engineering workshop complete with all the tool still hanging on the wall, the engine gauges, massive circuit boards and miles of cables, pipes, and walkways. Its a photographers dream and we spend over 25 minutes exploring before we reluctantly have to go as we are getting low on air and we are well into deco time. We all do another 90+ minute dive (Rod and Myself crack the 100...) and have a blast on deco basically running amok the best way we can at 5m under the boat on the drop lines.
The sunset over the water from our 2nd floor balconies was perfect and we enjoyed taking it in with a drink, some nibbles and a photo or two. All 4 rooms are next to one another and we can jump from one balcony to the next which is handy. Considering we only did 2 dives today, we are all completely spent and are in bed by 8:30pm.Tomorrow we are keeping our same tank set-ups as they work and treat and we are going to dive the Hoki Maru which has loads of earth moving equipment such as trucks, bulldozers, graders, etc... and in the arvo we are doing the Yamagiri Maru which has its 5 hold full of large 18-inch artillery shells. For the evening we have a special treat lined up and are doing a night dive on the Shinkoku Maru. This wreck has been ou best day dive yet and is rated in the top 10 night dives in the world. We’d be crazy not to do it!! Nathan is slightly concerned about the reported Tigers that patrol the wreck at night – bring them on I say....
Check out more of Paul's photos from the trip here.