05:00
I’m up before the sun again to make sure that we’re at the site we wanted for the first dive today. Conditions look good, and the captain has moored us in the prime spot.

05:15
Wake the guests up. Well, all but one who has been up for an hour and already had three cups of coffee.

05:20
Try to find somewhere else to sit, as Mr Early Bird from Cabin 8 wants to have an involved conversation before the sun rises.

05:45
Despite this being day four of the safari, the guests in Cabin 4 still haven’t grasped the concept of a wake-up call.
Spend five minutes banging on the door before a dejected face pokes out and asks with some incredulity: “Is it the briefing now”

05:55
Briefing for the first dive. The other guests try to get the point across to Cabin 4 by greeting their appearance with applause and a loud cheer.
This display of irony seems lost on Cabin 4, to the extent that they ask if they have time to make a coffee first.

07:30
Everybody’s back safely from the dive. The guests in Cabin 2 were disappointed that they saw only three hammerheads, because last year they had five at this dive-site. They remain quiet when asked if the four thresher sharks help to make up for the lack of hammerheads.

08:15
After breakfast, the husband from Cabin 6 asks me to look at his regulators. He can’t understand why he’s using so much more air than his wife. Normally they’re practically the same, but this week he seems to be sucking his tank dry twice as fast as her.
Pointing out the physiological factors does nothing to convince him of the reason, so I have a look and find nothing untoward.
Just as I finish, his wife finds me and explains that he’s normally on a twin-set, while she dives with a single 10-litre cylinder.
For the sake of his ego, could I explain that there’s a small fault with his regs, to justify the discrepancy, but say that it can’t be fixed on board with the tools we have I put him on
a 15-litre, and explain why in delicate terms.

10:00
Call for the second dive briefing.

10:10
Hunt for Cabin 4’s guests again. They just went for a little nap, and ask if I’m sure that I knocked on their door.

10:15
Briefing for the second dive is regularly interrupted by the bearded diver in Cabin 3.
He has visited this site many times before, and tries to help. He explains that a drift from the east is best, because that takes you through the area where dolphins always are.
I politely explain that the current is going the other way, and that dolphins have a habit of moving about a bit, but he knows best.

11:30
Everybody’s back safely from the dive. There’s a real buzz about the boat, thanks to the pod
of 23 dolphins that played with the divers on the western wall. Everybody saw them as they swam past the divers one by one, stopping only to pose for photos, or do a barrel roll or two.
Cabin 3 does his best to put a brave face on it all, as he and his buddy insisted on a RIB to the east. They were followed by the driver, and picked up on the north-east corner after an hour.
They were stuck in an area between two strong currents – it measured about 60m in length, and bottomed out with a depth of 12m. This didn’t deter either of them, and they stuck it out for the full dive time.

12:15
Diffuse a potential problem at lunch when the pair in Cabin 7 goads Cabin 3 about the dolphins. Cabin 7 simply wanted to make a point, they said, but Cabin 3 didn’t react well.

12:30
Try to catch an hour’s sleep between dives, but Cabin 1 wants me to identify the fish in every one of his photos. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could actually see the fish in his photos, but there appear to be a lot of pictures of the same blurry, blueish fish in the distance.

12:45
Hand Cabin 1 the fish guide book, and insist that he lets me know once he has figured it out.

13:30
Wake after a fitful bout of sleep, with dreams of blurred fish and bearded dolphins.

14:00
The afternoon dive-site was chosen to offer a more relaxed dive at a picturesque shallow reef with an abundance of macro life. This is explained in the briefing, and beard from Cabin 3 immediately asks if there is a wreck here.
He pouts and sulks when he discovers that there will be no metal to be seen today.
The site is as easy as it gets to navigate, and the only people who would like to be guided are the instructors in Cabin 9.

14:20
Fewer than five minutes into the dive, the instructors from Cabin 9 fin past me at a rate of knots, and never look back.
I chase after them, and keep hoping against hope that they’ll look back – they don’t. They then turn a corner and simply disappear.
I search for them, and then check the surface, but no sign is to be seen. As I’m still within shouting range of the boat, I inform the crew and ask them to keep an eye out for them.
I descend again, and head slowly back to the boat, looking around every now and then for my errant guests.

15:10
Had a lovely dive with a number of different nudibranchs, some shrimp and a very photogenic cuttlefish. When Cabin 9 return to the boat, they ask where I went.
With all my remaining self-control, I explain the concept of “following” a guide, and ask if they’re familiar with the notion of searching for one minute.
They reply with a scathing review of the dive site, and say that there was nothing to see.

15:15
Everybody’s back safely from the dive. The majority can’t wait for more critter-hunting on the night dive.

15:30
Cabin 5 have decided that they’re not doing the night dive, and set about polishing off another bottle of gin. Either they work for the company or have shares in it. They also must have been very clever planning how to get that much duty free when they landed.

15:45
Cabin 2 put on a DVD that they made of their trip last year.

15:50
The saloon is emptied by the nausea-inducing video, with some of the shakiest camera-work since 1950s B-movies. I take a seasickness tablet, and politely stay until the end.

16:30
As the credits roll, the saloon begins to fill again, and Cabin 7 seize control of the TV to put on an action film.

18:00
The numbers are down for the night dive, due to five guests already being drunk, seven watching to see if the hero can save the world and Cabin 4 being asleep again.

18:30
The first divers jump into the inky black of the night dive and begin their descent.

18:50
The last divers jump into the inky black of the night dive and begin their descent. “How is it possible to take that long to put on a wetsuit” I think to myself, as my eyes adapt to the dark.

19:45
Everybody’s back safely from the dive. Cabins 5 and 7 are singing drinking songs and the beard from Cabin 3 isn’t happy about it. He wants to know why they came on a diving holiday if they’re just going to drink.

20:15
Dinner is served, and the alcohol begins to be soaked up by the soup. Cabin 4 arrive last, having been woken up by the third knock on their door.

21:00
Dinner is finished, and everybody heads to their preferred spots. The drinkers are near the fridge, the night owls are preparing the TV viewing for the night and the rest are working on photos or filling in their logbooks.

21:10
I make polite excuses and head to my cabin.
On the way, I remind the captain of where we talked about diving tomorrow, and check that it’s all still OK.

21:20
I climb into bed and, as I pull the sheet over me and close my eyes, I try to make out the film playing next door. It’s easy to hear, because the speakers in the saloon are the other side of my cabin wall.
The alarm is set for 5am, ready to do it all again tomorrow…