Last week I experienced the busiest diving period since my arrival at Tufi Resort four months ago. One Australian journalist, a couple from France & 15 divers from the UK. Based in the UK, Dive Safari Asia arrange dive tours far and wide; with Ben Stokes at the helm I can certainly confirm that he has the guests requirements as his #1 priority which makes for a perfect combination with Tufi.
Prior to the groups arrival I received all the information with regards to the groups requirements, diving expectations and more importantly, my thoughts on how to schedule the week. Hats off to Ben & his team with excellent communications. If you are considering an organized trip then I strongly suggest using Ben.
So this is how the week developed……
Following a flight delay the group had to try to squeeze 12 dives into 3.5 days; that’s no real drama if you’re in your 20’s but a number of ‘Team UK’ are a fair bit over that mark, cue Tufi flexibility. The amended flight delivered the gang to Tufi early Monday morning, so clearly breakfast was the priority, then checking in, unpacking dive kit and getting out there to smash out the first 2 dives of the visit.
Due to the wind and waves picking up we elected for the closer reefs and with a little luck on our side we managed both dives. Albeit choppy up top, beneath the surface wasn’t too difficult, a mild current had a couple of guests needing to hold on for a spell but other than that two great dives (certainly better than the guests expected given the surface conditions).
For the next couple of days the surface conditions seemed to continue with no let up in sight. The normal plan of staying out for 3 dives and having lunch on the boat needed to be changed, especially as we where using 2 boats.
That evening I gave 2 options to the group, option 1: 2 outer reef dives, back for lunch at the dive shop then back out to the Fjords for 1 more dive & Option 2: Wharf dives to explore the WWII wreckage on our doorstep. Three of our guests plumped for option 2 with the remainder, option 1.
Sunrise on the penultimate day and would you believe it…..table-like sea conditions, turning to the option 2 boys “Hey fellas; Shark diving sound good to you?” One glance at the horizon and wouldn’t you know it, 14 divers back on the boats and heading out to one of our prime locations – Mullaway.
Mullaway is quite simply, AWESOME. At the risk of repeating myself this dive site always produces a plethora of fish and the variety of species barely found anywhere else in the world and of course, sharks, oodles of sharks!
The following dive site was just as good and we finished off with a dive at the Wharf to visit the WWII Land Rover and a few sunken fishing boats topped off with a wee mooch around for macro stuff.
With a big fat wedge of happiness in the air we decided to have dinner at the Dive Club, lets face it, with an Aussie and 15 Brits we couldn’t go wrong by holding a Barby & beers on the Wharf.
With calm seas once more and a bunch of happy and extremely excited divers we went all-out for the last day of diving. Get the boats, grab the lunch (and of course Tea) don the gear, 3 outer reef dives….BOOM! and what a day.
After 2 fantastic dives you could feel the questionable doubts when we (the dive team) announced we where going back to Bev’s Reef which we had dived on the first afternoon. “Why oh why would you return to the same reef with 36 others up for grabs” was silently said but not vocalized. One hour later and the choice was clearly the perfect one, just 3 days since diving the site and what a change! it was great the first time but now super great. Check out some of the photos, they speak volumes.
All in all a fantastic week with some exceptional guests, a million questions from tour leader Bin, shed loads of time underwater and a seriously happy dive team. By far the busiest week but also the best so far.
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