May Diving

Two hours from the maddening throng of Tokyo… or, my desk in front of this infernal machine. One of those. Regardless it’s beautiful.

Feeling like a change of pace, i suggested that it’d be nice to make the swim to ブリマチ (Buri-machi, or Japanese Amberjack Town). It’s another one of the spots that’s remote enough to make it at least a little unspoiled.

So off we went on a little surface swim. Then drop down through 20m of murky water to the outcrop of rocks below. During May the water is all cloudy and teaming with life blooming in the still cold water. I don’t actually understand the cycle, but either the cold water welling up from the deep brings nutrients and the plankton bloom, or something else happens… regardless, it’s a little like swimming through a hearty miso soup.

All the fun stuff at ブリマチ happens in the deep water, and that’s where it’s starting to clear. 

Down at around 30m there were huge stretches of soft coral, running out into the gloom, as the floor slopes away steeply, the visibility was probably 20 – 30m. 

Living around the anemones are colourful little shrimps (アカホシカクレエビ), baby nudibranch, huge schools of little fish (cardinalfish, sea goldies, mackrel, etc). Really beautiful to swim over and through. It’s deep, and a long way back to shore, so the stay is all too brief…

Dive number two was much more sedate, a nice wander around 亀岩, up to クエ穴, across 一の根, and back to shore via オクリダシ (do hope you’re all following along on the map…)

Better than all of this was that my nose / ears felt really good yesterday. For the first time since late last year it was really easy to clear, and i didn’t feel like i constantly had to manage the pressure in my mask to stay comfortable. Diving with allergies / congested nose isn’t really very much fun, and it was really starting to get to me. I’d learned how to deal with it, but it just wasn’t making me happy. Hopefully that’s the end of that for this year…

Next month is going to wetsuit weather. It’s probably warm enough already (18 – 19ºC) but right now there are some nasty thermoclines of 2 – 3ºC that make it a real adventure.


More diving on the spin cycle…

It looks oh so peaceful here, but under the waves the swell / currents were something to reckoned with. It’s always hard to guess, but i’d say that it was moving me about 3m with each push / pull.

To get the shot of this nudibranch shot i was hanging onto a ~20kg boulder, which still wasn’t heavy enough to stop the waves trying to fold my legs over my head, and had another diver pushing down on my tank…

[That’s an アカエラミノウミウシ which i’ve never seen before at IOP, but this year is hanging on for dear life under every rock that you care to look under. It used to be that ムカデウミシ were two a penny, but yesterday i think i saw only one. Talking to some of the older divers, they can’t remember a time when so much has changed so quickly. The water temperature rose 3ºC over night (from 13ºC to 16ºC) on Wednesday!]

Amazing that it can be that deceptive – calm above the water and raging below it. I tried to get a shot of the white out conditions near the exit point, but by the time it got really bad i was too engaged in staying alive to take another shot… This shot is probably 10m from the beach, in at most 2m of water. Just after this the diver in front of me (really shouldn’t be on that side of the rope – there be dragons… or at least really big rocks) lost his weights, and unceremoniously surfaced with great haste. Being the kind soul that i am, i picked them up for him… mistake! An extra 8kg of lead doesn’t do much for you buoyancy… but it does make you get thrown around by the waves a little less. After a little rough and tumble, involving me being picked up and dumped on a large rock, hip first, i got back to the beach. Honestly, it’s much easier to dive on your own… until these kind of things happen to you… hmm. The buddy system. 

Rather disturbingly i’ll own up to loving this kind of stuff – boat diving is for old people! My body however, is not as keen as it used to be. It was a great relief to be able to walk this morning. By the time i went to bed my right hip was feeling like it might seize up and never move again. Don’t laugh (too much) if you see me hobbling around.

Only one dive again – have to avoid making a habit of this… My left ear, the one that i perforated last year (or was it the year before?) wasn’t clearing properly, and while it was manageable, not stopping from diving to 30m, it’s not something that i want to push now. One more tear and i might have to hang up my fins for good. Better to err of the side of caution… which must sound a little off after reading my last couple of diving posts!