It has been a while since I last took a trip below the sea, and from a friends recommendation we decided that a trip to Tarifa was needed and whilst there we would get some diving in! As soon as we arrived in the area I liked it, and that says a lot, as although I can appreciate the coastline, my mind is often drifting back inland to mountains and climbing. Whereas here I really liked it, there is a vibe about the place, the beaches are lovely and clean and the town is nice.
As I said we came here with the idea of diving, and so we headed out from the port to the Atlantic side of the island that forms the southern most part of the Spanish mainland. This would be Jess’s first planned thirty metre dive, so I was hoping it would be a nice easy intro. As things turned out it was a pretty tough dive. First off surface conditions were choppy, and although the boat journey was short it still churns the stomach! We needed to do a buoyancy check as it was the first dive with the gear and weight, and so we went in first. All was well and we joined another pair for the descent down the line. Immediately after descending I could feel the current, this would be a testing dive if this did not die down, which it did not. So much for nice easy conditions for a first thirty metre dive.
We had sporadic rests from the current when we were on the right side of the rocks. However when in the gullies or just on the wrong side, it was horrendous. I kept low, and occasionally used the rock as an anchor. Jess was trying to swim against the current, but soon realised that everyone was low to the ground and joined us, although the same as me she was a little more hesitant to pull on the rocks etc. The other divers in the group were using the ground as an anchor and just pulling along.
Apart from all this hassle the dive was pretty, and we saw various sea life such as crabs and conger eels. There were loads of other fish, of varying species, although my knowledge is so poor on these things, I just look at the pretty fish, unaware of what they are. We eventually stopped working against the current and turned back to go with the current for a bit of a drift dive. Jess and the guide went up once we returned to the descent line, and Jess had drank a little to much juice when working against the current.
I continued for another ten minutes with the other pair in the group. I was a little hesitant at first, but went anyway as I had enough gas. I saw another blob thing, this time bright yellow and blue, I studied this for a little too long, as I was soon alone. I eventually found the other pair. I though the one diver was another guide and just let her guide me around. At the end of the dive she started to work her DSMB and made a complete mess of it. I was not sure whether to leave her to it, or take over and send it up. Practice makes perfect on these drills and this was far from perfect. As it turned out I think she was a client and not a guide, so alls well. As it turned out I was the descent line and started to fin as hard as I could against the current to gain the rope and ascend.
Once on the rope we were holding on for dear life as the current reached full strength, and we clung on like flags to a mast. We waited out our safety stop and the ascended. Once on the surface, it was again quite choppy and getting on the boat was somewhat of a chore although not too bad. All in all it was a good dive, although not ideal for a first deeper dive for jess. The current made life hard throughout, and I can’t help but think that the wrong dive was chosen for the morning. I did another dive in the afternoon, that was better, although I will put that in the next post!