Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 3rd: The Wreck of the Rhone & Cistern Point

We woke up in the morning and immediately got to work loading up the dinghy with dive tanks. Tony was not very clear as to how we were going to dive today, and had mentioned that we might want to refill our dive tanks ourselves since he might show up and use our own boat to take us diving. Shauna had failed to get DAN's dive insurance the night before, and so she wanted to make that happen as well.

At 8:00am, folks were already ashore but the dive shop was not opened, so I called the shop and the employee said she was on the way. Horizon also called me to say that they had not received the WiFi unit, so I ended up on the phone making calls to Tony's wife and Horizon to ensure that everything would come together.

It took until nearly 10:00am for Tony to show up, but when he did, it was on the sailing catamaran/dive boat, the Braveheart. The Braveheart was a luxury dive catamaran that made The Escape looked like a toy (though at charter rates of $19500/week for 8 people, it had better be). It had two compressors on board, a big dive platform, a water maker, and ample room: even the heads had transparent bottoms so you could look down at the fish while taking a shower.
From Escape Catamaran 2012

The wreck of the Rhone is a world class dive, and even though this was my second time, I still enjoyed it thoroughly. It's an old wreck, so it's encrusted with wildlife, and lots of pretty things to see. It was so good that after snorkeling above us for a bit, XiaoQin decided to try diving one more time.
From BVI 2012

During the surface interval, a false alarm led us to believe there would be whales for us to see, and we all got into the dinghy to look for it, but it didn't happen. So we were taken to Salt Island to have a look at the salt pond instead. It was warm once out of the water, but it was interesting to look at the island. The best thing about the Braveheart is that with 2 tenders, surface intervals will never be boring.
From BVI 2012

The second dive was even more fun, since we were all pretty good about using relatively little air, it was agreed that we could do the Rhone and the Rhone Reef.
From BVI 2012

I'd forgotten how pretty it was, and XiaoQin had a great time as well. We even saw a shark but I didn't have my camera ready for it so it went. I did, however, get a decent video of a turtle swimming.

From BVI 2012

We found a specimen of a Lion fish, an invasive species in the Caribbean, and our guide speared it, bringing it back to the Braveheart for a decapitation.
From BVI 2012

Soon enough, the dive was over, and we were delivered back to Escape with 2 fresh tanks replacing tanks that were previously known to be low but which we had not bothered to refill because they weren't low enough to justify the money.

We then proceeded to dive Cistern Point, which turned out to be more interesting as a dive than a snorkel. Once the coral was up close, we could see plenty of life in the area. Arturo even found a souvenir: a ring with a cork tied to it via a ribbon.
From BVI 2012

The nice thing about shallow dives is that they are quite long. We got 60 minutes out of our tanks. Unfortunately, John hurt himself while getting into a dinghy, rendering his hand out of action.

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