The sun came up just as we did

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4am. I manage to grab my alarm  before it goes off – my hut mate gets
cranky enough when I’m up at 7 – and stumble around a bit, looking for
rash vests and bits of my camera, wishing I’d kept a can of energy
drink. After chocolate and cigarettes (I’m not a great morning person)
I attempt cheeriness upon entering the Batcave (the boat hut). I force myself into a
slightly damp wetsuit and at this point I’m glad I bought a 5mm. We
had set up kit and had our dive briefing the night before, so it was
just a matter of waking up – fairly easy when Bic, the Dive Manager, has enough energy
for everyone – and remembering to turn our air on again

The stumble down to Andava beach was worth it just to see Marcellin, the boat driver, in
a fetching orange balaclava. Unfortunately we didn’t get to carry Jen
onto the boat (as boat marshall – this blog is payment for her getting
up and looking after us) which would have been amusing. It was a great
ride out to Nearshore Coco and the phosphorescence in our boat wake
was very pretty. After a little bit of worrying about the temperature,
and the possibility of being picked off by sharks on the surface, we
rolled back and descended.

It was slightly chaotic, with everyone trying to stick very close
together; there were a lot of people on their first night dive. We
seemed to cover the whole site twice, moving a lot to keep warm and to
find something exciting to point our torches at. This mission was
successful. Apart from the expected plethora of soldierfish, sparkly
plankton and hard corals with their polyps on show, there was a nice
array of crabs – a big, tasty looking red one and lots of hermits with
anemones on their shells. We saw an electric ray and got rather close
until we realised it wasn’t, in fact, harmless. Then there was the
stonefish, munching on a squirrelfish. I could hear Bic giggling into
his regulator because he thought it was smiling, although I can’t say
I saw that.

The sun came up just as we did, with beautiful, amazing colours. After
a slightly chillier ride back I ran up the beach in full gear trying
to warm up; we’ve all got a lot wussier while we’ve been here!
Luckily, rather than spending the hour or so before breakfast having a
fairly pointless nap, we all headed over to Bic’s for banana pancakes.
Almost better than the dive, it woke me up more, particularly with a
Mars Bar pancake and unbelievable coffee (pretty sure it was strained
through a sock – that’s what it looked like).

So now I’m still processing the sugar and about to go on the 9am dive
to Mah – my last dive, and hopefully a great way to end my time in
Andava. So far, it’s been a pretty good start to my day.