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  1. #1
    Loves Butter Dr.Yen's Avatar
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    Princess of the Orient expedition - who fancies it?

    Hello fellas,

    It's only taken 5 years to get my shit together and finally do this, but I've finally booked the boat. I was going to keep this very intimate with a local group in SEA but life got in the way and people dropped out, so I'm opening up 4 spots on here, if that's ok with the Forum rules. There's no money in this, all costs are transparent and shared between the divers.


    The Princess of the Orient is a one-of-a-kind wreck and the dive of a lifetime. I've been practically obsessed with it for years and being the first person in has been the reason for me getting into tec and CCR diving. She's majestic, she tells a sad story and she is MASSIVE, at 195m long.



    Over the past five years I've taken the time to gather information on the wreck from numerous sources and talked to those who've dived the POTO to get a deeper insight and some data to plan around... The history of how she met the ocean floor I'm sure everyone has already read - and if not it's on Wikipedia, so here are some more “under the bonnet” details from chatting to 2 separate teams who've dived her in the past:

    AFAIK she's only been dived five times, all on the exterior. First time was when John Bennet and Ron Loos found her in 2001 and dived her stern. I spoke to Ron about it and they did 25min bottom time on OC and were out of the water in just over 3h. The second time in 2002 when Paul Neilsen and Rob Jacobs dived her on CCR (I believe Paul was on a Mk15) and took the first ever footage of the wreck. There's some old undated footage of a team doing 10min BT, probably sometime after that. Then in 2008 Roger Ingebo, Mike Taylor, Matt Reed and Paul Neilsen - who were the first to explore the whole length of the ship on scooters and see the stern. Then last year by a GUE team.

    As far as I am aware from all four dive reports available, nobody has ever penetrated her - yet.

    Here's the itinerary I put together:

    4th Apr (afternoon/evening): Embark at Puerto Galera
    5th Apr: 70m warm-up dives on M/V Coral Island or Maricaban Island
    6th Apr: POTO Dive 1
    7th Apr: POTO Dive 2
    8th Apr (morning): disembark at Puerto Galera.
    Puerto Galera also offers some of the best diving in the world, both in the recreational and technical ranges. Accommodation, food and diving are incredibly cheap and there's full CCR support, making a week-long trip a great and very affordable option.

    POTO Dive 1: we'll do a quick 15-20min recce (preferably on scooters) over the starboard side and superstructure of the wreck to find and mark potential penetration points. I have some drawings of the ship which I've cross-checked with incident reports to give us a good starting point on where to look.
    POTO Dive 2: To make the second dive worthwhile we're looking at 30min bottom time: 6min descent and 24min on the wreck with a 10min each way penetration.

    Conditions: the dates I've booked are the most ideal window weather-wise and see next to no tidal coefficient, which is great news as conditions can and have turned bad in the past, making for a difficult decompression for some of the previous teams.

    Dive plan: I've run some numbers and we can get out of the water in a tad under 4h of deco whilst still keeping within safe margins. Dive plans are open to discussion within reason wth those who have confirmed their spot, but keep in mind this is for a penetration dive with extended bottom time.

    Due to the amount of kit on the boat and to avoid being cramped I'm inclined to cap the number for this at 6 divers only. Boat costs are as follows:

    Charter rate is 7080 US $ (8 divers maximum and three diving days). All meals and soft drinks while on board are included.

    5 Oxygen storage tanks free (50 l 110 bar), additional tanks @ 40 US$ each.
    Helium US $ 0.06 per litre.
    Absorbent US $15 per kg.
    Rebreather Tanks (2 and/or 3 litres) 15 US $ per day.
    Booster pump rental for 40 US $ per day (Please check well in advance for availability of tanks and booster).

    To secure a spot a 50% deposit is required by 1st Feb with the balance cleared 30 days before the trip.

    Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch.
    "The wages of sin is death, but the hours are good!"

  2. #2
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    I am not sure who you are organising with ... but leaving from PG adds a huge load of extra distance (since you'll have to arrive in Manila and drive south to get to PG only to do north again to get back to Manila bay for Poto. You also didn't give depth (max 127-8m) . I have done 100s of dives in PG and to say it offers some fo the best diving in the world does a huge disservice to the rest of the world. It offers pretty average reef diving with easy support (for the Philippines) - the diving has declined since I started diving there in late 90s and the reefs and fish have suffered from pollution from Sabang, diver impact and some pretty big direct hit typhoons . The diving in Aniloa is much better and varied but doesn't offer any night life (resort based with very few restaurants)

    I should've been on the GUE trip in 2018 but had to pull out for personal reasons those guys are all are very close friends of mine. I know they have been inside ... I think you'll be very lucky to do a 15-20 reccie on a 200m long wreck and find a good place for a 20min penetration - I know the last team did more than 2h of bottom time over 3-days. You probably need to rent a huge amount of bailout tanks also

  3. #3
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    Here is a short video that you may or may not have seen Dr. Yen from the 2018 expdition there.

    Which boat are you intending on chartering for your trip?


  4. #4
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    That’s a serious bottom mix programmed into his controller there at 7:13, a 10/30 mix, gives a lovely head at 120M but quickens the deco 🤩

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathal View Post
    That’s a serious bottom mix programmed into his controller there at 7:13, a 10/30 mix, gives a lovely head at 120M but quickens the deco ��
    haha - do some proper dives and don't lie about helium and you'll be back next year to tell us how much fun it was hanging for months months

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by graham_hk View Post
    haha - do some proper dives and don't lie about helium and you'll be back next year to tell us how much fun it was hanging for months months
    I only refer to wreck diving and I plead ignorance here and maybe thankfully so. Yes I am a weekend warrior but I have done a lot of the wrecks off Malin with a group and as far as I know none of us cheats on what He% we programme in to our controllers. We all bump the S.P up to 1.5 on the ascent, but that’s about it. Having said that, some of the more experienced lads will cut 40mins off the deco at the end of a 4-5 hour dive depending how they feel. I don’t see what’s the rush in getting out. Especially on a week trip where your doing the same type dive the following day. Those that get out early tend to feel it a bit in the water the next day and stay about longer in the water or might even sit out that dive. “Extra time in the shallows is the best form of diving insurance” Doolette.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathal View Post
    I only refer to wreck diving and I plead ignorance here and maybe thankfully so. Yes I am a weekend warrior but I have done a lot of the wrecks off Malin with a group and as far as I know none of us cheats on what He% we programme in to our controllers. We all bump the S.P up to 1.5 on the ascent, but that’s about it. Having said that, some of the more experienced lads will cut 40mins off the deco at the end of a 4-5 hour dive depending how they feel. I don’t see what’s the rush in getting out. Especially on a week trip where your doing the same type dive the following day. Those that get out early tend to feel it a bit in the water the next day and stay about longer in the water or might even sit out that dive. “Extra time in the shallows is the best form of diving insurance” Doolette.
    Are you sure Doolette said that?

    Having seen people bent in water at depth (generally around mid 30s) I would not say more shallow water deco is the always the answer.

    As for rush out - sometimes its cold, often after 5 hours deco is uncomfortable and sometimes you want to maximise the bottom time in an allotted dive time (last summer we did bow to stern on Justicia swimming within 3 hour max run time)

  8. #8
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    Yep, am sure Doolette said that. But best of luck with the He% figure your programming though. Extra time in the shallows has sorted plenty of divers out at the end of a dive who have a ‘niggle’. It’s a whole different ball game if your feeling sore while at depth. Only a chopper and the chamber will sort that out. Have seen it and it ain’t pretty.

  9. #9
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    Wrong thread!
    Last edited by JonG; 19-01-2019 at 09:00 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathal View Post
    Yep, am sure Doolette said that. But best of luck with the He% figure your programming though. Extra time in the shallows has sorted plenty of divers out at the end of a dive who have a ‘niggle’. It’s a whole different ball game if your feeling sore while at depth. Only a chopper and the chamber will sort that out. Have seen it and it ain’t pretty.
    I don't follow the computer at all - I plan a dive and dive the plan

    Ascending with a bend is only gonna get worse - you have to drop back and fix it (good luck OC)


 

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