Wreck or Rock?
Descending at speed on DPVs we pass 90, 100, 110, 120 metres; the pressure squeeze on my drysuit begins to exceed what I consider comfortable levels and the my power inflator, having been designed by an evil person, fails to keep up with the rate of descent. Like an inverted Polaris missile I reach for my wing inflator, which has of course has found its way into a position that requires shoulder dislocation to reach. After levelling out and getting my first glance of the bottom I thought, “This is a wreck for sure, look at all the plates on the bottom”, though at second glance I was disappointed to see it was actually plate shaped coral.
Now in control of my faculties, I look across and orientate myself, thinking “That’s a wreck for sure, look at the straight lines and steep 2m face rising off the bottom”. After swimming over to it, again I’m disappointed to realise it’s a rock. I band it, touch it, and even break a piece off, in the end calling the dive early, aiming to avoid as much deco time as I can.
After the dive, my buddy John Smith (name changed to protect the stupid) says to me “That’s a wreck for sure, 100%, no doubt in my mind,you’re wrong”. Of course, we’ve got a Mexican stand-off and no way to resolve it except for another 120m dive to see rock, and let’s not forget the sand and pretty coral. The next day, John Smith re-executes the dive again to confirm, that in fact it’s a rock – in fact two very large rocks!
I shouldn’t be to critical of John Smith, as only 3 weeks ago I was claiming to have seen coal, buried plate steel and even brick work just a few metres from the same site when our shot line pulled off target. My excuse is that I was feeling some serious effects of HPNS, but reality is sometimes the brain sees what it wants too. The multibeam data provided with the target didn’t help either, it’s a very shipwreck looking shape and has the dimension to match.
For the record, “Rock Reef” as I have named this site is in 118-121m of water, at coordinates 33° 49.436 S, 151° 25.830 E. Although disappointing, such is to be expected when attempting to find new shipwrecks. On to the next target we go…