Jim - at Siaes Tunnel (Cave)
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7 degrees 18.805 minutes North Latitude and 134 degrees 13.425 minutes East Longitude
Pictures compliments of Leisa McGillivray of Canada
The boat was racing across the waves. A Filipino boat driver was at the helm and I was sitting on a cushion at the front of the boat, bare chest. The early morning Sun warmed my body. I was excited about the destination even more than usual as my good friends Chris and Lisa were ‘on board’. As we exited Malakal Harbor we turned 255 degrees (True) 8:43 AM. At 9:08 AM we turned slightly South to a course of 243 degrees, rounding the end of a large island. My excitement builds as we can easily see the crashing waves of the Philippine Sea against the side of a large seamount, the outer reef of Western Palau. AT 913 AM we make another southerly turn coming to 225 degrees. My eyes and the eyes of the helmsman are staring at the rocks just several feet below our stainless steel propellers. The helmsman’s right hand clenches the throttles as the water gets more shallow but our speed is steady, 23 knots. At 9:15 AM we relax and turn north. Your Just Reward (my boat), has just crossed the reef at Siaes. The water is now thousands of feet deep below us and pure blue. I had rented a driver so I could drift dive Siaes Tunnel and Corner with Chris and Lisa. The driver had crossed at precisely my coordinates using only his knowledge but I kept one eye on my GPS as we crossed the reef.
We tied up on a Buoy just above the southern entrance of the underwater tunnel and donned our gear. Holding our masks to our face and gripping our regulators with our teeth we did back roles off the side of Your Just reward. We let the air from our BCs and we began to drop. The wall has no bottom (at least for divers). I wanted my friends to be able to see the 'light at the end of the tunnel' before we entered. We continued to drop. At 147 feet, I could just see the first light through the tunnel. Chris had just signaled me we were getting deep and our computers were screaming as we were on NITROX-31 and had a MOD of 138 feet. We entered near the bottom of the cave and moved up into more shallow water. In a short time we exited the tunnel and turned north towards Siaes Corner. The wall was to our right and deep blue to our left and below. We saw sharks, a turtle and many tens of thousands of fish in hundreds of species. After what seemed like such a short time we headed for a safety stop and the warmth of the ocean surface.
Later we watch a graceful lady, our day at Siaes, handed off to a beautiful star filled night as our bodies off gassed the build up of nitrogen in our blood, preparing us for another day of diving.
Diving Siaes with the Navy EOD team. 1 January 2007
|Date||max Depth||Water temp||Boat||Guide||Gas||Bottom time||dive #||tanks|
|1 Jan 07||107 feet/ 32.6 Meters||84 F/ 29 C||Silver Tip||JR/Chad||Nitrox 32||50 minutes||1||1-95|
|9 Jan 07||128 feet/ 39 Meters||79 F/26 C||Sams||Stephan||Nitrox 32||46 minutes||1||1-95|
Below 1 Jan
Below 9 Jan
About 14 minutes into the dive you can see me take off after something that was dropped at Siaes Cave entrance.
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