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The Big O.E An epic adventure across the world, backpacker style :)

Sick of shopping - go diving!

VIETNAM | Saturday, 2 June 2007 | Views [930]

Our deserted beach lunch stop, Cham Islands, nr. Hoi An

Our deserted beach lunch stop, Cham Islands, nr. Hoi An

I find buying ready made clothes stressful enough, so after three days of dealing with tailors and making clothes from scratch, I was at breaking point and left Cat to it. Fortunately, the nearby Cham Islands promised some underwater treats to take my mind off the madness of fittings, cloth and seamstresses that think they are infallible.

Despite being a picture perfect day, five minutes into the first dive, at 20m I was starting to get bored; negligible coral, average viz, limited fish and a boring sandy bottom. Fortunately things got much better as I discovered that what the Cham islands lack in variety compared to Thailand, they make up for in size. White Snapper, Chevron Barracuda and Spotted Grouper bigger that anything that I'd seen in the Andaman Sea started to appear regularly. A school of comic looking Humphead Parrotfish finished chomping into the reef and bolted as we popped over the reef beside them. As we slowly ascended through a couple of swim-throughs, we found masses of electric purple corals, massive anemonies (complete with families of Nemos of course) and huge table corals.

In between the dives we stopped at a deserted beach on the main island. In a thatched hut overlooking the beach, we were treated to a full on seafood banquet that really hit the spot. Bliss.

Things got even better on the second dive. Just as we we about to jump in there was a boil-up on the pinnacle that we were diving. Unfortunately it dispersed as rapidly as it formed, and we were left bobbling at the surface looking at dissapearing tails. Once in the bottom though, it wasn't long until we ran into the cause of the boil up as six absolutely huge Giant Trevally buzzed us. At well over a metre long, these dynamic boys would have eaten the Trevally that we used to catch back in NZ for a snack. The big fish bonanza continued with several huge Red Snapper lurking in caves, Giant Barracuda tailing us, plenty of serving platter sized White Snapper and Grouper and a solitary Batfish that treated us to a bit of a dance. Visibility was aparently good for the area and averaged between 10-20 m depending on the thermocline.

Things thurned a little pear-shaped as we surfaced from the last dive as a storm had rolled in and we were forced to anchor up in a stomach-churning swell and horizontil rain for 80 minutes to wait until it was calm enough to recover the snorkellers from the island. Once the wind and rain subsided the sea flattened out and we cruised home from a good day under the water, albiet a couple of hours late (much to the concern of worried Catherine). I thought he was dead at sea for goodness sake!

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