An Account by Expedition Member Pte L H Johnson
Diving at the Ascension Island really is a unique experience, due to the volcanic ground and untouched diving sites, wrecks and marine life; truly it is a great place to carry out Adventure Training. The expedition team was made up of 11 members including the SADS (Sub-Aqua Diving Supervisor)/ instructor team Nick Ankara and Deputy SADS Ian Morris.
During the 12 day expedition the team under took 195 dives in total, of which the majority were boat dives, with the remainder being shore dives. Due to the slickness of the team with everyone pulling their weight we were able to spend more time under the water to make the best use of our time out there.
It was surprising to most of us just how magnificent the marine life truly was with a huge spectrum of tropical wild life to see such as; Scorpion Fish, Cray Fish, Blow fish, Turtles, Octopus, Black Trigger Fish, thousands of Moray Eels, Dolphins and even Reef Sharks. The team performed a number of dive’s to the following sites; English Bay, Red Rock, Triangles, The Sudan (wreck), White Rock, Lions Mane, HMS Meander, Eddies Gullies, Kettle Cove, Porpoise Point, Clarence Bay Arch, Boat Wain, Bird Island and the Yorkshire Chariots.
Of all the dive sites we visited I would have to say Eddies Gullies was the most interesting with lots of gullies (hence the name), long dark caves and archways bursting with tropical marine life. The depth ranges from about 9-18 metres within the gullies.
The most memorable dive for the team was definitely “Boat Wain Bird Island”. This is a small island off the east cost of Ascension, this is an amazing location, diving clear waters in the shadow of the looming rocks which are home to thousands of nesting seabirds. The trip out was made very difficult by having to navigate the huge sea swells, never the less the trip was worth it as we each did two dives at the location. The site had a huge archway and under water cave. I don’t believe anyone ventured too far inside as it was guarded by a monstrously huge moray eel.
The island wasn’t just home to the usual tropical marine life of Ascension but also a family of Reef Sharks which the team managed to capture on their GoPros, with a particular buddy pair being pursued by one of the sharks for the entire duration of the dive (not naming any names). Fair to say one of the pair in particular wasn’t going to hang about to see what the shark wanted! Overall a great experience for all.
The final dive the team embarked on was a night dive off English Bay, where we navigated our way in buddy groups to the Wreck. The wreckage is strewn over a wide area however the reef itself is very scenic with gullies and natural rock amphitheatre with caves. The fish life is prolific in this area which is infested with moray eels and crayfish. All of the attractions of this dive can be seen without exceeding 20 metres; we had to always be wary of the swell when in the shallower regions as the coral reef can be perilous.
At the end of the expedition we had three almost qualified BSAC Advanced Divers, two qualified BSAC Dive Leaders, three qualified Sports Divers and two qualified Boat Handlers.
We are grateful to the Ulysses Trust for their support towards this expedition.