Last check: fins on, wetsuit zipped up, all pinch-buckles closed, dive computer set to 30% nitrox, gas on, tank and pony full, weights are in my pocket and mask is defogged. All the guests are in their equipment and checked.
I have two couples, one from the USA, the other from the UK. One couple are fiddling with their GoPro, making last-minute setting adjustments, while the others are nervously waiting for the boat to stop. All are experienced divers; we never take anyone to Bianca C unless we have vetted them first.
Easy step off the dive platform, negative entry and they can use my flagline as a reference on the way down. Gotta get to the wreck fast in case there is an unexpected current lower down. One last glance to the top to make sure everyone is following. Sometimes the swim down feels endless, but you always know you hit the right spot when the enormous shadow engulfs you.
At the stern, the usual shy reef shark welcomes me before the other divers arrive. Only the early birds will get a glimpse of him. Now I can focus on the sheer size of the hulk of metal. It’s always an eerie feeling when you’re by yourself.
One hundred and eighty metres to cover in less than 20 minutes. The divers arrive beside me at 35m and we start swimming towards the bow. First, of course, we have a dip in the pool – “the deepest pool dive you’ll ever take” as I joked in the briefing – 40m to the bottom.
I can see the large school of horseye jack shimmering in the distance. I slow the group and signal to breathe slowly, so we don’t scare them off. Always an amazing sight.
Someone is banging a tank – must be the other group on the reef, shallower but parallel to the wreck. It makes me turn, and there they are, six majestic eagle rays dancing alongside the wreck.
I signal the divers to turn around. We drift with the gentle current as the rays slowly fly by.
Approaching the bow, we’re now at 30m. I signal everyone to check their gauges. If everyone has over 100 bar, we can head to Whibbles Reef. Everyone is OK. Slight eastern turn until we are greeted by black gorgonians and schools of fish.
Another 20 minutes drifting over this beautiful reef and we head for our safety stop and back to the surface.