Friday 9th November 2001, Exmouth Oz.

Up at 6am again, but this time we had the benefit of a good night’s sleep, lighter winds and warm sunshine.  Today’s dives were to take place off the Murrien Islands.  Apart from a slight kafuffle over our BCDs and other equipment, which had not arrived from Dive Ventures by the time the bus left for the harbour, the day looked much more promising.  The crowd on the boat seemed a much more attractive and chatty bunch (oh, and we had lost the tiresome ‘Barbara’ whose shrieking voice and generally OTT jolliness, nearly drove us all mad the day before). 

It took an hour and a half to sail out to the first dive site, “Jaws” (named after the dive boat that discovered it)! Today, along with Liam and Sarah, we counted as the ‘advanced’ group.  The first site was not spectacular, but the visibility was excellent, and Morry was a much better divemaster than Craig.  We felt well looked after.  After an hour or so on the surface, we upped anchor and headed for a sheltered bay on the next island.  John had carefully avoided eating anything between the dives, but was still having a slight problem equalising.  As we reached the bottom, Brigid was half expecting that he would have to surface, so was more than a little relieved when he appeared beside her with a big grin and an ‘OK’ signal.  “Morry’s Maze” was by far and away the best dive we have been on to date.  It is a literal maze of coral bridges, tunnels, and caves, which actually requires a certain amount of skill to negotiate as, at times, the water was only around 3m deep (very easy to bob to the surface).

The highlight of the dive (apart from the fun of swimming in and out of the tunnels) was the diversity of the coral which, at that depth, was brilliant in colour.  John and Morry did try and tease a fairly substantial shark out of his hiding place in a cave, but he turned out to be camera-shy.

We were pleased to record a bottom-time of 57 minutes, which (although it was a very shallow dive) is a record for us! We dozed contentedly in the sun all the way home.  John got chatting to another diver, a Dutch policeman who was doing his first Open Water dives.  He described his division in Arnhem, and said that he had responsibility for everyone from the tactical firearms unit to the tea lady.  John asked what rank he held.  “Commissioner”!!