Diving, Ninepins and Tsim Chau, Hong Kong

Learning to scuba dive has been on the to-do list for about 10 years since I visited my uncle in Tanzania who was working in Africa at the time. We went to Mafia Island near Zanzibar which is home to a marine reserve. I wasn’t qualified to dive so just snorkeled off a dhow above a drop-off and then on a reef. It was simply stunning. Highlight of a trip that included Kilimanjaro. Fast forward 10 years, theory and pool dives completed. Two consecutive days of open water dives this weekend to complete my dive qualification.

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The first day of diving was at South Ninepins Island. The Ninepins Group are part of the volcanic rock region of the “Hong Kong Global Geological Park of China” which has been listed by UNESCO as part of the Global Geoparks Network. Visibility sucked so there was more to see above than below the surface with some nice natural arches and hexagonal rock columns visible on the surrounding islands that left me wondering about the trad climbing possibilities. You know diving isn’t quite what you expected when the most interesting thing going is above the surface.

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The second day of diving was at Tsim Chau off Tai Long Wan which is apparently one of the better dive sites in Hong Kong. Nice sunny warm weather. The boat ride out again passed some impressive geological features including an inlet that reminded me of Cape Collinson on a larger scale. Visibility was a fair bit better and this time there was something to see – clown fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, star fish and an eel among other things (although I would stop short of describing the sea life as “abundant”).

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Anyhow, after spending two days on a boat with some very nice people who are really really into diving I have started to empathise with people who have no interest in climbing, skiing and the like but get stuck having to talk to me. Weekend over, dive ticket obtained and trips to look forward to.

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