30 April 2009 | Malakal
Eric, Hideko and I went diving off of our dinghy today. We have been sitting right next to one of the more famous Palau dive sites since we got here but have never dove it. A case of, "oh we can dive that spot anytime, let dive over there instead". I didn't want to miss it in the long run though so we made a point of it today.
The dive site in the anchorage is Chandelier Cave. It is an underwater cave that has three (four depending on how you count) chambers with air pockets and a maximum depth of 60 feet. It is pretty dark in the cave as there is no overhead illumination, just the faint blue glow from the underwater entrance. It is pretty errie.
I took the video rig in while Eric ran the reel. I had two lights on the video and a backup and Eric had a primary and a back up. Hideko was set as well but after the first chamber her mask was giving her problems and she signaled that she was going back out. Eric stayed in chamber one while I buddied out with her.
Eric and I spent about 20 minutes exploring the cave and the various chambers. There is not much to look at in the dark limestone interior but just the strange lightness enclosure is an interesting experience. The structures inside the cave are intriguing and there are some small fish here and there hiding in the black water.
On the way back out my lights shut down. the lithium batteries have an astonishing propensity to die within a minute of each other if turned on at the same time. When the lights went out Eric was at 50 feet coming up from the absolute back bottom of the cave and having troubles reeling in the line, so his light was pointed at his lap. After floating in the dark at 40 feet for a bit my eyes adjusted and I could see the faintest blue glow from the entrance. It was an experience.
Once Eric got the reel under control I turned on my back up light and then after we were in synch I shut it back off and returned to filming. The footage is amateur but interesting. I'll try to post a clip.
After a surface interval we set out to one of the ship wrecks in Malakal harbor. Hideko ran surface support and Eric and I did the dive with the video again. It was a nice wreck but the vis in the harbor was pretty bad, maybe 30 feet. fun dive all the same with a 120 foot bottom. We stayed around the deck level at about 100.
Back at the big boat I loaded the footage into Vegas for some editing so see what I could cut together.