The morning air is remarkably crisp but teetering on the cusp of high humidity I couldn’t wait to get my dive kit out of the suitcase. Yes, that same dead weight that has been like dragging an anchor for what seems like an eternity this week.
The Dive Center stands on the shoreline of a huge Fjord with breathtaking views to the hills further inland and the waiting Sea in the opposite direction. A store, an ice shop, several landing areas for the fisherman & local canoes remind me that I am now living remote (its a beautiful feeling) and give the Wharf an air of laid back, almost sedate feeling as visitors from neighboring villages come & go in the place that will be my work (and playground) for at least the next year.
Greeted with big smiles from a few of the dive team we discussed the year ahead even though that little voice in my head was screaming “The feckin water is just there you idiot!” Forcing the little devil into silence for a while & concentrating on how the center is run and what needs tweaking, lunchtime soon approached and much to the dismay of said devil, my stomach forced me into submission and delayed the inevitable glee of being submerged once again.
The cooks at Tufi are simply amazing, the food just dances all over your taste buds but as good as they may be, that distance silent voice was now like an army drill instructor attempting to rupture my ear drums. The time is now, I can’t wait any longer; With dinner bolted I was straight back to the Wharf to set up and jump in for a check of my equipment seeing as it had gone through several airport baggage handlers tender touch (Any excuse is a good excuse to dive).
Pre-dive checks done and I’m informed by Archie (Archie is much akin to what you would expect a love child of Bob Marley & the hot chick from cool runnings to be like. Loves his reggae, sports the Rasta look, laid back and very attentive) that the WWII Land Rover is “Just down there” He indicated to an area that couldn’t have been much more than 5m from where we stood. “Oh and there is a Torpedo or 2 also at about 47m.” My inner voice was sounding just like my brother does every time he speaks, a million words at a million miles an hour and completed in seconds “Holy dog shit, WWII stuff & depth AND MACRO” I really could not believe my ears. “Lets get too it Archie” I said with a seriously controlled air of excitement that was probably a totally shit attempt judging by Archie & Alex’s face.
The water temperature was 29 degrees Celsius but quite honestly felt over the 30 mark. As we started the descent (no swimming out, just drop straight down) my excitement was delivered a sledge hammer blow, the water was green “NOOOOOO!!” Green water means poor visibility, I was gutted, oh hold on a mo. We descended past 8m and the green turned to a murky blue and I could see the sloping bottom coming up to greet us. The second thing I noticed to my dismay was the amount of discarded refuse littering the Fjord bed, but to be honest this has to be expected as it is remote living and the local villagers think nothing of chucking the soda can overboard. “Nothing we cannot resolve with a good clean up and a bit of education” the voice chirped “Now lets focus on seeing the cool stuff.”
The deeper we got the clearer the visibility became and there it was, the Land Rover, resting on all fours with the engine exposed lending itself to house little critters. I couldn’t help wonder who the loon was that actually drove it off the Wharf all those years ago. Descending a little further we found a torpedo…… bugger me it’s fully in tact and almost every detail can be seen. Only a few minutes pass and we ascend from the depths fully aware that deco stops are not the order of the day.
Modern day litter aside the area is crammed full of artifacts dumped by the forces collapsing down the staging post at the culmination of the war, tires, engine parts, crates of bottles and big lumps of sheet steel perfect for Macro life to mooch through and survive. We stabilized at 20m and coasted along the sloping bottom in search of the little buggers; Well we didn’t have to search that hard at all. Wherever you turned your eyes there was something to greet you, Nudibrancs of all shapes and sizes, Pipe fish, Flasher Scorpion Fish and Mantis Shrimp that looked like they where on a heavy dose of steroids, seriously folks this thing was a monster.
This place is insanely good, with an abundance of Macro I wished I was on side-mount around about now. Alas all dives come to an end and we ascended to 10m only to be met by a huge (and seriously compact) Fusiliers that where charging around like small children having had too many E numbers. A great way to end my introduction to scuba diving at Tufi, if this is just the Wharf I cannot wait for the rest.
Before you ask, no I didn’t take any photos, my bloody GoPro battery decided to give up the ghost so you’ll have to be patient or come and visit to see it all for yourself. Reef & Bommie diving in two days, watch this space!!
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