It’s a little scary when you’re on a boat, literally in the middle of nowhere, with not a single piece of dry land in sight. But that’s exactly where we were. No phone signal, 60 miles away from the closest island. It’s just you and the deep blue… along with 20 other divers and crew on board.
Even though we seemed to have anchored ourselves down to any random spot of the blue, if you had a further look, you would have realised we were floating right above The Seven Skies ship which sunk in 1968. It was rumored to have sunk due to a welding explosion. She was a Swedish supertanker with a length of 262m & gross tonnage of about 56,600 and here it was (well at least half of it) right below us.
Starting at 24m and going as deep as 62m, this was to be the deepest any of us had ever dived, which was an important aspect of our certification as PADI Advanced Open Water Divers.
Being the first wreck any of us had ever done, it was a thrilling swimming around the wreck and watching the marine life around. Unfortunately, the majority of the wreck was deeper than 32m and since we were considered amateur divers, we weren’t allowed to go any deeper.
But we were still able to see schools of barracudas and many bat fish. 3 dives were done at this wreck and thankfully the visibility during the 3rd dive was amazing and we were able to have a better look at the wreck as a whole.
Soon enough, it was time to set sail once again to the next dive site where our night dive would be conducted. Once again, this was an important criteria for our certification. It was also our very first night dive and as we watched the sun slowly set, emotions ranged from excitement to anxiety as we anticipated to arrive at Damar, Indonesia and dive into eternal darkness.
Slowly descending 15m down, everyone was in awe when we found out that our gauges and compasses glowed in the dark. Diving at night was a completely new experience for us, with only our torches lighting up the way before us. At one point of the dive, we were told to turn off our source of comfort and enjoy the complete darkness of the ocean. Everyone although hesitant at first eventually let their guard down and learnt to appreciate the serenity and beauty of the darkness below.
Day 2 dawned upon us, as we were awakened by the sound of a constant knocking at our doors, informing us that breakfast was being served as we slowly arrived at the Igara Wreck. She was a steamship that sank after hitting an uncharted rock on the 11th of March 1973. She was also carrying 127,718 ton of Iron ore.
The wreck started 13m down, which gave us the opportunity to explore the wreck better than at Seven Skies. The visibility during these 2 dives was amazing, as we were able to see the wreck from the top of the boat. Everyone was very excited, although exhausted from the first day, and putting on our gear and checking our air seemed to take forever.
The 1st dive down to Igara was a mandatory navigation dive, which was a requirement for our PADI certification. The 2nd dive was just a leisure dive for us and it was hard to not feel like little mermaids, as we swam through cracks and the rope room of the wreck, exploring the unknown. Although this dive took a huge toll on us physically as the currents were definitely not in our favor, and also because we were disappointed that the two resident nurse sharks at Igara were not there, we had a good time exploring the wrecks and being Ariel for the weekend.
Completing 5 Adventure Dives, we are now very proud to call ourselves PADI Certified Advanced Open Water Divers as well as PADI Enriched Air Divers. I would like to thank Miss Juett (our teacher from school) for coming with us on this dive trip, as well as Andrew our Instructor and Gary from GS-Diving for organising this trip and conducting theory and pool sessions with us during our CCA and of course, Dave and all the other crew on board The Ark for giving us a very good diving experience this weekend!
Written by Kimberley onboard The Ark. Photos by Gary