Up at 6am to meet the other divers at Exmouth Village Dive. Thinking we were going out for a morning’s diving on a ‘rib’ (a small semi-inflatable), Brigid suggested that we don our wet suits in the van – we were, after all, due back at 12.30pm. This surprised Exmouth Village Dive, as they were, in fact, doing a 3 dive day off their big dive boat – we were not going to be back until late afternoon.

Our first dive was at a site called “Blizzard Reef”. We were a bit disappointed by the visibility (about 6m) but there were some interesting fish nevertheless. Getting out of the water was a challenge as there was quite a swell, and therefore a constant threat of being swept under the boat’s transom as we wrestled to remove our fins.

By way of a snack, we were offered cold curried samosas and some rather odd-looking crumbed chicken ‘sausages’. Brigid had one or two, but John had two or three of each. After the requisite surface interval, we moved around the coast to the next dive site, “Gulliver”. Neither the swell, nor the visibility, had improved. Additionally, John now had a problem with wind – attributable to his hernia – and his ears had started to play up, making it difficult to equalise.

The highlights of the dive were the appearance of a white-tipped shark (not to be confused with a ‘white-pointer’ or Great White) and a huge and graceful manta ray.

As we climbed out, Brigid complained of a headache – not good, especially with the boat rolling heavily in the swell. She stripped off her wetsuit and found a dry corner of the boat to curl up in, hoping that we would soon be on our way.

Unfortunately, one of the divers was doing an advanced search and rescue course, and had only entered the water as we were coming out. We had to wait, rolling at anchor, for an hour for the rest of the party to surface.

Neither of us had enjoyed the day as much as we had hoped, but we had another good dinner at the Whalers’, and booked for the following night …