Club boat dive to Marley Point, but not all boats got to Marley. Most boats stopped at Barren's Hut claiming 15m visibility, we had 5 at Marley. We anchored 15m from the cave and ventured in. A lot of fish in there. Out again and then west into the shallows, where schools of Bullseyes and Pike entertained us. A lone Blue Groper hung around for a feed, which he didn't get. The highlight of Marley was a giant Bull Ray, that swam over the top of Fiona around and flew past all of us.
After a 90 surface interval at Jibbon with 4 boats, we decided to see if Barren's had the 15m, we only found 10. But this is where a real story unfolded.
We dropped the anchor in our normal spot, It must have landed on the top of the eastern bank of the split, it then dragged along the bottom where it hooked into a rock 15m North East of the cave. I descended first to make sure it was secure and to attach the strobe and lift bag. Fiona, Leo and Rudy followed soon after. We swam over to the cave, in and out the other side where a large Cuttlefish was hanging around. Up over the reef and through the tunnel and around to the entrance of the cave. Past the cave to the chimney. Through the chimney and out the top where Rudy was taking photos. We swam along to the cave again. During all this time there was a slight current form North to South.
At this time Leo signalled to Rudy that his air was low and he was going to ascend. Rudy pointed in the direction of the anchor and Leo swam over. A couple of mins later we all headed to the anchor, and could not see Leo. We were thinking he must be on the drop line. Rudy wrote on his slate that maybe he swam past the anchor. I swam north for about 25 to 30m and could not see him, so assumed he was up on the line.
Heading up the anchor it was obvious that Leo missed the anchor and must be doing a blue water ascent. I cut my safety stop to 2 mins and ascended, Fiona and Rudy followed shortly after. I stood up on the gunwale looking around and could not see Leo anywhere. We pulled in the drop line and anchor and out of the side of my eye I saw a boat and a person on board diving into the water. I quickly signalled to Rudy that Leo must be near that boat.
We headed over to find Leo hanging off the back of the boat exhausted from keeping afloat. We threw a mermaid line in and Leo swam over to it. After climbing the ladder I asked him about his deco time. He informed me that he ran out of air with 6 mins of deco still left. I immediately grabbed the oxygen. Leo's colour started to return quickly.
After 25mins on Oxygen and a slow run into Port Hacking we discussed what happened. A couple of lessons learned here.
On a blue water ascent, always send a safety sausage up.
On the surface make sure your BCD is fully inflated.
Don't try and swim against any current.
Always have oxygen on the boat.
Always make sure everyone in the water knows where the anchor is.
For divers not familiar with the dive site escort them back to the anchor.