Dive #193 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:

168h
4m


Dive Info:

Dive Start:
1:51PM

Bottom Time:
52 minutes

Maximum Depth:
73 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
1300 psi

Weather Conditions:
Clear 80F

Surface Conditions:
Calm

Surface Water Temperature:
79F

Bottom Water Temperature:
76F

Visibility:
60+ feet
193
TITLE
* * * *
July 28,
2004
CHIKUZON
NE OF VIRGIN GORDA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
WRECK DIVE
VIDEO
Linda and Johnny
Cuan Law Liveaboard
British Virgin islands
http://www.bvidiving.com/
Photo
The four of us at the Baths on Virgin Gorda
Videograph by Rich Torkington in BVI 2004 
Dive Journal: We motor away from Guana Island and head northeast seemingly into the open ocean. After a long ride, we eventually stop and Ajay grabs scuba gear to moor us to an underwater line. We eat another mouthwatering lunch, then prepare for our afternoon dive.

Were moored above the Chikuzen, and as we get our gear ready, Captain Chas advises us to pick up the pace because a squall is threatening on the horizon. The Chikuzen is a big Japanese refrigerator boat lying on her side in about 70 feet of water. Damaged in a storm, then set on fire, and finally sunk in 1980, the Chikuzen is considered an advanced dive due to the regularity of big surface swells here. Fortunately, today it is fairly calm.

The Chikuzen is also considered one of the finest dives in the BVI, and we immediately see why. There are loads of schooling fish blanketing the wreck, including grunts, snappers, and goatfish. Three huge refrigerator holds invite divers to penetrate the wreck, but our dive briefing has advised against this due to the fragile condition of refrigeration piping inside.

Once at depth, I start taking some video, but then discover something wrong with the camera, a real shame at such a lush site. The schools of fish are especially great here because they simply part for the divers instead of swimming away. On the underside of the boat, Linda and I find a big Southern stingray, and Linda slowly approaches it and pets its top surface.

We explore around for a long time, circling the wreck, and Linda and John eventually surface leaving only Ajay and me in the water. Cruising around the shallower port side, we spot a small group of Atlantic spadefish, and then a visit from a school of rainbow runners. Near the bow, a few big horse-eye jacks speed around.

I finally swim up to the boat while Ajay works on getting our mooring line free. There is a nice school of barracudas near the boat. Later on, I learn that Linda and John came across a cobia here, too.

The squall has missed us fortunately. Ajay takes a long time to untie the boat line knot, which has gotten extremely tightened in the currents and swells.

Additional information about this dive, copied from http://www.divebvi.com/chikuzen.htm

Chikuzen - 75ft Advanced

One of the best dives in the BVI, due to its remote location, this site should only be attempted with our experienced dive instructors.

A 246 ft refrigeration vessel originally built in Shimizu, Japan, she was part of the fishing fleet in St Maarten. The propeller of the Chikuzen had been damaged in a storm 2 years prior and so she was moored at the fishing fleet dock, apparently causing quite a bit of damage to the dock.

The owners were afraid that she might cause further damage or break free and drift up onto the beach (a vessel of this size would be very expensive to re-float). She was intentionally set ablaze off the docks in St Maarten, but this stubborn vessel refused to sink, eventually reaching the BVI, threatening to beach itself on the small island of Marina Cay. She was taken under tow and eventually sank without threatening any further coastlines!

Situated 12 miles NE of Virgin Gorda surrounded by miles of sand, this is the only place for marine life to congregate. Regular visitors include schooling barracuda, horse-eye jacks and snapper; stingrays; eagle rays; african pompano; atlantic spadefish; nurse sharks and blacktip reef sharks along with a resident 600lb jewfish.

This is a challenging site due to regular swells in the 3-5ft range - please check with the dive shop regarding current conditions.

More
Dive
Info:
Fins:
Mares Avanti Quattro
Computer:
Oceanic Vo 200
Tank:
80 ft3 Al
BCD:
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
BOAT, Cuan Law
Body of Water:
Caribbean Sea
Mask:
U S Divers
Protection:
3mm full wetsuit
Regulator:
SeaQuest
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
Weight:
8 lb
Water Type:
Salt
Video Equipment:
Sony DCR-TRV11 digital handycam in Top Dawg housing