Project Apsyrtyus Chapter One

Project Apsrytus (pronounced Ap-si-t, no hang one, Up -sir, twat, no that’s not it…). PA Chapter one was completed in June 2013 by a team of DLL tec divers. and what an incredible, awe inspiring trip it was. The project is a plan to map and explore some of the less dived and unknown wrecks of the Kvarner bay region of Croatia. The trip was planed as an orientation at the tec 50 level to get a feel for the area and logistics but ended up as a perfect example of just how rewarding tec diving can be when done as  team with excellent back up from the dive centre.

 

We flew into Venice so as to make transporting tec gear easier. Our last experience with Ryanair was less than satisfactory given that it would probably have been easier to put a human being in the hold than it was to get a rebreather onboard. This meant a 3 hour transfer from Venice, via Slovenia and then into Croatia. However we had air conditioning and beer so everything was OK. The dive centre is located in a tiny village called Krnica which has one lovely little restaurant. Amazingly they had stayed open for us so despite arriving at close to 11 we were fed a huge amount of Kum …Pizza. The restaurant is called Kum. It sounds like…. anyway moving on.

 

The next morning we were up early and over to the dive centre for the usual faffage before we could start diving. Tec faffage is like recreational faffage except with more onus on looking like you know what you’re doing. Maurizio, the dive centre owner, helped us as we set up, casting dubious glances at Dimitris and his ebay death machine I mean rebreather.  Once we were sorted we headed out for our check dive on the wreck of the Lina, a wreck we were familiar with last year but now one we could get out teeth stuck into. As check dives go, the Lina is an excellent dive. It starts at 25 and then slopes away to 40 with a great penetration available between the decks. We got our skills sorted out, had a brilliant little dive and then headed back ready for the the action to begin properly the next day.

Maurizio sees Dimitris' rebreather for the first time

Maurizio sees Dimitris’ rebreather for the first time

 

Inside of the Lina

Inside of the Lina

 

After a meal at a local agriturismo of slow roast meats and pasta (amazing) we had a good nights sleep and then got picked up for the days dives. We were going to head out to a wreck called the Baron Gautsch a  huge passenger steamship that sunk in 1914 after hitting a mine. Whilst on the boat out there David continued his yearly tradition of enraging German divers by not touching their stuff. Their highly strung nature became more understandable when it transpired they were diving home made rebreathers something that would give anyone anger management issues. However once peace had been made we were on the wreck and it was time to dive. The Baron is a brilliant dive. the wreck sits completely upright and is full of amazing penetrations. We had tremendous fun navigating through the holds and swimming below the decks.

Ready for 2 tec dives

Ready for 2 tec dives

Baron Deck

Middle deck of the Baron

Baron

Penetrating the Baron Gautch

At the end of the day Dimitris entertained us all by deploying his new black SMB. This is supposedly marketed as being easier to see in certain lighting conditions where the black stands out as a contrast against the water. The picture below clearly shows this to be bollocks and we had a huge amount of fun at Dimitris’ expense. I can now say the Big Greek with the tiny black sausage in about 4 different languages thanks to Jules!

Spot the SMB

Spot the SMB

 

The next day the trimix dives began. We were diving a weck called the Argo, a fitting title given that Aspyrtus is a character from the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece and the Argo was the ship they sailed in. The Argo was a refrigerator ship that also sunk after hitting a mine in 1946. The wreck is in 2 separate parts at a depth of 50m and had just been cleared of all the accumulated fishing nets snagged all over the wreck by the lovely guys at Ghost Fishing. As a result the wreck was beautiful to dive and we had 2 fantastic dives on the bow and the stern. That evening we had a huge BBQ at the dive centre. It was perfect, eating food, drinking chilled beer and watching the sun set over the harbour in the warm evening.

Bow of the Argo

Bow of the Argo

bbq time

 

On the penultimate day we dived the Luana and the Cesare Rossarol. Both of these wrecks are quite unbelievably pristine. The Luana sank in 1947 whereas the Cesare Rossarol sank in 1918 after, you guessed it, they both hit a mine. Both wrecks lie in about 50m of water and the level of preservation is amazing. On the Cesare you can clearly see the compass, ships wheel and other instruments. Items that have usually been long since ripped off other wrecks. Dimitris deployed his black SMB again and we were unable to see him so sadly he was lost at sea.

Team deco

The team decos in formation

Giving up the search for Dimitris and heading for port

Giving up the search for Dimitris and heading for port

 

That evening despite the loss of Dimitris we had another great evening out at Kum pizza mainly excited about the next day and the dive on a phenomenal wreck called the vis.

Dinner

The team makes the best of it after the loss of Dimitris

The Vis sank in 1946 due to bird strike when a flock of geese entered the main funnel and blew up the engine room. Or it might have been a mine, I can’t remember now. Anyway it’s a brilliant dive, like a kind of supercharged Rosalie Moller mixed with Scapa Flow but again in a remarkable state of preservation. The funnel on the top is huge and the deck is littered with bottles and other detritus from the sinking.  You are able to drop into the holds and swim through the middle of the ship. Although we were already one team member down with the missing Dimitris we were almost 2 down when Jules decided to walk head first into the side of the boat and wipe herself out. At first we thought she might be dead but we gaffer taped her up and she was soon back and ready to dive.

Jules post impact

Jules post impact

The vis

Amazing funnel on the Vis

We rounded off the trip that night with a trip to a local nautical museum and then dinner in an incredible restaurant overlooking the Istrian hills.

 

Chapter one was a great success. Congratulations go to Steve Barham, Jules Claro and James Creighton for trimix distinctives and tec 50 qualifications. Our next trip will be based around 60m normoxic dives so let us know ASAP if you want to join us!

 

The all time greatest diving movies

On a liveaboard, after the diving and after the food, there’s often time to squeeze in a film before bed. We’re  off to the Red Sea again this August in search of sharks, do join us if you can: http://www.divingleisurelondon.co.uk/trips/red-sea-luxury-liveaboard-sharks.

But what are the best films to watch? Well, because it’s never ever been done before, I thought it was about time to put together a definitive all time list of the all time greatest diving movies of all time. Of all time.

Here’s DLL’s guide to the very best:

The Abyss

The Abyss

No list would be complete without James Cameron’s 1989 underwater classic. Much has been made of the hardships endured by both cast and crew during the grueling filming schedule but what many don’t know is the story that inspired the film. Before finding Hollywood fame a young Cameron made his living directing soap opera episodes and it was whilst on the set of the popular Antipodean soap Neighbours that Cameron was inspired to create the story of the Abyss. In one particular episode Stefan Dennis, Harold Bishop, Madge, the twins, Todd Landers, Toadfish and the girl who got shot by a duck hunter are trapped inside the Lassiters compound cut off from outside communication. Over the course of the 20 min episode the very safety of Ramsey St is thrown into doubt by the discovery of a mysterious group of flaming galas. During an accident Helen Daniels is killed but is brought back to life by being repeatedly struck in the face. At the end of the episode the cast strap a nuclear device to Bouncer who then carries the weapon to the underground fortress of the galas whilst wearing a liquid filled breathing helmet. In stark contrast to the end of the Abyss, however, Harold Bishop detonates the bomb turning the whole of the Ramsey St area into a toxic, radioactive wasteland where no actor or storyline can survive and the show is picked up by Channel 5.

The Silent World

The Silent World

‘Sometime it is necessary to use dynamite.’ When exactly is that Jacques? Oh I see, when you want to have a look at the nice fishies on the reef. ‘Underwater, it is a tragedy’. Well it certainly is in this rip roaring adventure caper on the high seas! Follow crazy Cap’n Jacques and his wiry team of budgie smuggling frogmen as they lay waste to the animal life from the Caribbean to the Red Sea and back again. The Silent World harks back to a simpler time when if you wanted to blow up a whale then you could just bloody well get on with it and there’d be no EU do-gooders coming round to tell you off and stop you from selling a pound of bent bananas. I remember when I was a boy and there was no swearing and everyone knew their neighbours and there was no equality for women, foreigners or homosexuals (although they didn’t exist back then) and the local bobby would give you a clip round the ear for scrumping apples. Now it’s all women with no clothes on and women in burkhas and I’m confused over which enrages me more.

For more Top Gear Film reviews simply visit http://www.dailymail.co.uk/clarkson/hate

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

 Mega Shark vs Giant Octopu

Already one of the most lauded films of the last decade and the overall prize winner at both Cannes and Sundance, Megashark Vs Giant octopus tells the story of what happens when a megashark and a giant octopus have a fight. The film is notable for a harrowing sequence where the megashark  jumps out of the water and eats a plane. Many viewers found the scene incredibly distresssing to watch but few can doubt both it’s power and relevance to the uncertain times in which we live. The lead roles of the scientist tasked to find a way to stop the megashark and the giant octopus from having a fight and the government official with slicked back hair in a pony tail are sensitively played by multi award winning Debbie Gibson from the 1980s and Lorenzo Lamas who played the interchangeably named Reno Raines in early 90s essential, after-pub viewing ‘Renegade’. Does anyone else remember Renegade? It was really brilliant. Reno had a

Dunston Checks in

Dunston Checks in

sidekick who wore one of those bootlace ties and had an amazing mullet. Plus he was called Bobby Sixkiller. It used to be shown at about 11 pm and Reno used to drive around on a big harley without wearing a helmet solving mysteries. In the credit sequence it was explained in an awkward and long winded fashion that Reno had testified against crooked cops, been framed for his wife’s murder and was now a renegade ‘prowling the badlands’. This was followed by a montage of shots including ones of a revolver’s chamber being spun and Reno pointlessly emptying a bottle of water over himself whilst stripped to the waist.

My mate Ben and I used to love watching Renegade but it did eventually jump the shark in a couple of notable episodes, one which failed to sell the idea that a man with long hair and a leather waistcoat could single-handedly end the LA gang warfare between the Crips and the Bloods and another one in which it implies that Reno meets Elvis. At that point it all started getting a bit silly and I think I was probably about to head to University and somehow as all these things happen Renegade slipped from my life.

The Big Blue

The Big Blue

The Big Blue, or the Very Big Blue as the directors cut is known, is famous not only for telling the story of a boring, uncharismatic man who mystifyingly becomes the love object of Rosanna Arquette before unceremoniously dumping her to become a dolphin man but also because despite being only about 3hrs in length it actually takes an entire day to watch.

Other films that have Blue in the title are Betty Blue which, when I was young, seemed to be the answer to every teenage boy’s prayers before savagely wrong footing you half way through when she gouges out one of her own eyes. Troi Coleur Bleu, which is another one of those french sort of films and Blue by Derek Jarman which is about AIDS not Scuba Diving

Look Who’s Talking Now!

https://divingleisurelondon.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/jamier__lookwhostalkingnow2.jpg

 

That’s enough top scuba films please- Jen.