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Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

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Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#1  Postby blue hole » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:45 am

Layang-Layang is as good as advertised.  Amazing trip, phenomenal conditions and fantastic people.  More videos to come.

HAMMERHEADS: 40m from Blue Hole on Vimeo.

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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#2  Postby oldturtle » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:46 am

Hi LubangBiru . Fanstatic vedio indeed. Heard your DC 's beeping , what dept is it at the first 15 sec .of the clip were you in? :hello:  And what is the fist banging on your head all about ?

Many tks.
Last edited by oldturtle on Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#3  Postby Steven » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:39 pm

head banging = waking up from a dream/excitement  :D

awesome video. Can share what's the damage and who did  you dived with?
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#4  Postby run » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:38 am

that is how you signal " hammerhead yahooooo" (minus the left hand coz holding the camera)

the beep of coz saying "ur deco already need to ceiling stop"..what do you xpect at 40m depth?

anyhow bluehole awesome and jealous OK!
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#5  Postby reztitan » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:40 am

wow amazing.. lol.. 

I will be going there end of this month.. lets hope i can get to see some of those hammerheads...
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#6  Postby Ikan wadi » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:36 pm

Wow! great experience! Thx for sharing the video. I wanted to go to after aow maybe nextyear april too for the hammerhead.
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#7  Postby ejadboulala » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:24 am

wow.....great experience.Blue hole share some information pls..how to get there n damage... :glasses9: blup blup
-Every Breath Counts-
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#8  Postby blue hole » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:24 pm

Sorry to be absent, had to get back to work!  Here's an extended response.

Run gets the prize!....it's a one-handed hammerhead sign...not very elegant, I know, but when you see a school of 40-50 hammerheads you improvise best you can.

Depth was right at 40m....surprised in the open blue and with everything going on that I only maxed at 40.6m and never went into deco.  It's impossible out there in the open water to stay stable while doing a bit of fining against a current and with no reef or wall to reference. It took all my rescue training to keep my eyes on my computer and not completely locked onto the hammers...they're hypnotizing.

I've got much better footage that I'll clean up a bit more and post. More hammers, not to mention monster sized turtles, mantas, eagles, lobster, tuna, napolean wrasse, barracuda....and a pod of dolphin! WTH!

I dove with Avillion Layang-Layang, the only resort on Layang2.  They were fantastic and a great group of DMs to dive with.  They know where the hammerheads have been spotted day to day and will do everything they can to put you in the right spot to give you the best chance of a siting.  We went deep and out into the blue [40m] four times, and I was lucky enough to see them three times.  Conversely, some people were there for over a week without even a sniff.  It's the chance you take, but I'm well over 200+ dives so have the right set of expectations and realize just how lucky I was. Obviously, a few people left quite disappointed.

Just a note: The other thing I like about Layang2 is they take the conditions very seriously.  They realize deep, open water diving can be dangerous and they have a zero tolerance for crossing 40m or deco dives [this was my last dive and had pre-cleared a potential deeper depth with the DM, dive boat and dive buddy dependign on our air, conditions, etc.].  Everyone dives with a computer mandatory and they also dont allow nitrox.  At first I was a bit disappointed at the reduced bottom time [that's what nitrox is for!], but when you watch newbies lose their minds and start fining like crazy after hammerheads.....you realize things can go downhill quite quickly...and they did.  A young guy got narced, started doing somersaults and pulled his reg out of his mouth...at 35m! Needless to say his divebuddy was nowhere to be seen, chasing hammers..so I took him up to 20m and he got himself together.  Very nice guy.  It could have happened to anyone of any age and any experience.....and no chamber within 300+ miles, and only two flights a week, a recipe for disaster if not taken seriously.

As far as pricing, 5D/4N was about 3200RM if I am not mistaken [locals price].  That includes a 960rm flight from KK out to Layang2, as well as 5 meals a day, 3 dives [+unlimited shore] and full board. I believe they also add a high season surcharge of 10-20% for April/May, but I somehow avoided it by arriving March 30th...even though I stayed well into April. It's not cheap, but other than Cocos or the Galapagos, there arent many places anymore where Hammers are "probable" let alone "possible". I was lucky to get a lot of thoughtful input from friends and everyone agreed April was the month to go. April and May seem to be the sweet spot....March too rainy and bad viz, June and beyond too warm to see them at -40m.  I also ruled out LOBs as the DMs on the LOBs dont know where the hammers are and you only get 2 days to dive Layang2[the rest is at other sites in the Spratlys or cruising back and forth to KK].  I'd be curious to hear other experiences, but I am 100% satisfied with my choice.

Hope this was of some help, let me know if you want any more info. 

Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement! 
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#9  Postby run » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:04 pm

Blue hole !!! of coz i win the prize. :laughing11:  I've been waiting to give such signal for a long long time and still waiting
The instructor who was once work there now working at Redang. She told me everything about layang-layang. She poisoned me to stay not a week but 2 weeks in layang-layang. So now trying to save money for the 2 weeks trip. :D
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#10  Postby blue hole » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:16 pm

Well hopefully I can talk you our of 2 weeks and save you a ton of cash.......I really dont think it's needed.  Pick the right time of year, say your prayers, and it will happen.  Save the other week for a nice trip somewhere else.  If I were you, and you really just want to see hammers....buy a 5 or 7 day package with the option to extend and just wait to buy your return from KK until you get there.

Of course after our two dives on the first day with no sightings, the dinner conversation turned to "well, if we dont see any, HOW LONG WILL YOU EXTEND YOUR STAY"....so, of course, that gamblers mentality of "double down" will set in if you dont see anything.  the next morning, BOOM, 40 hammers.

I made three great friends during my stay who all left 4 days after me. When I left I thought, "what will I miss?"...well, nothing was the answer.  In fact, the new arrivals didnt see anything for days and they kept going back to the same dive sites in hope of another encounter.  On top of that, the last day there was a bit of a mutiny going as the new people we getting frustrated at not seeing anything, while having to endure the same dive spots as well as a video compilation of great hammerhead sightings in the bar for days.  After 4 days the new group hit the jackpot and lots of sightings after that.

Reasons to only stay 5-7 days:
1. EVERYONE is there to see hammerheads so you can guarantee your first dive of the day is going to be floating out in the deep....waiting. If you havent seen them, great, but if you HAVE seen them, then doing it for two weeks straight is really going to annoy you.
2. The food starts to repeat after day 3.
3. I've got to think that the nitrogen build up of all those deep dives over two weeks cant be good.....you'd need to take a day off.  All the dives are 25m+, sometimes two at 40m and one at 20-30m. DMs can do it, but not recommended for weekend divers.
4. There's the resort, and nothing else on the island. No one loves to dive more than me, but 2 weeks in the same resort, with no outside contact or phone, diving the same dive sites?

The upside?
1. The dive sites really are spectacular, even if repeated over 2 weeks. We saw the hammers, then returned to the reef only to see turtles, more sharks, a huge manta, schooling barracuda and more amazing stuff. Layang2 has hammers, Sipadan has great muck alternatives, everything else in between is really similar. If I had to pick, I would say LAyang2 beats Sipadan because [1] Hammers are once in a lifetime and [2] the divers that go to Layang seemed a lot more experienced, professional and courteous than I saw at Sipadan.  Diving with good divers makes a HUGE difference for me.
2. Great dive spots.  Caves, walls, canyons....some current, some slack....just a nice mix of pelagic-type diving.  The top of the reef gets a bit blown out because of the location, but it's not a place for muck diving or super shallow stuff...obviously.
3. The people and the pool.  Great staff and having a huge pool to stretch out in and cool off is a HUGE plus. 

.
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#11  Postby run » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:55 pm

thanks for the info blue hole. i doubt i get bored staying 2 weeks in layang-layang especially when most of my time will be underwater but i do appreciate those info. Quite informative about the place. When i talked to the instructor , i never talked about how the resort was. everything was all about what lies underwater :D
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#12  Postby reztitan » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:20 am

Wow.. great infos. Thanks blue holes..

I will be heading there this weekend, will be there for a week, really hoping to see all those that you have mentioned...
reading your post really get me feeling all the excitement and ready to jump in... lol..

I have about juz 30+dives under my belt. Anything else to look out for in Layang2?
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#13  Postby run » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:29 am

if im not mistaken they too have strict rules "Tank not less than 50 bar". Otherwise u'll be ban for dives.
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#14  Postby reztitan » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:35 pm

haha.. Yeah i read and heard there are plenty of strict rules there. Fly so far to get there, it will be a great bummer if you get ban.. lol 
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#15  Postby blue hole » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:38 am

The rules aren't too bad and they are there for a reason.  I honestly respect what they are doing and wish more dive operations did the same. There are WAY too many poorly trained divers out there these days and since they are the only dive shop at Layang2...the are THE BOSS.  At others spots, people will just go to another dive shop where they dont care. I think this is great news for Layang2....they take it seriously, protect the reef AND their guests.

Here's a rundown of the rules:
1. Everyone dives with a computer.
2. No one over 40m in depth
3. No DECO
4. No gloves and NO TOUCHING
5. If you completely empty your tank, you pay a fee
6. Your dive set-up stays on the boat:
7. Only one morning dive the day before departure
8. No nitrox

If you break rules 1-4 once, you get a warning.  If you do it again, you are banned from diving for 24 hours. If you think about it...this is really about your safety and the safety of the reef.  They know who is being a "cowboy" and who just makes an honest mistake, so I wouldnt worry too much about it. If you've got 30,000RM to pay for a DAN helicopter to fly out to Layang2, pick you up and take you to a chamber....go for it, it's 2000m deep, so go to the bottom for all I care. :)

In all seriousness, for REZTITAN, if you arent experienced in deep open water dives [ie. below 30m with no wall or reef to reference], I would take these two important precautions:
1. DO NOT buddy with a dive master.  Initially, it may sound like a good idea, but its not.  On the deep hammerhead dives the DM is going to be doing one thing and one thing only...looking for HHs.  If you see HHs, some group starts to break apart as some people see one deeper and go deep, others kick after them, others stay behind and watch..etc. If something goes wrong or you get Narc'd you need someone watching you AND within 5m to help.
2. Make sure you have a good, experienced dive buddy and you both have an agreed plan of what you are going to do if you see the HHs. Stick to it and dont change your plan.  Make sure to bring a safety sausage in case you have to ascend without the group.

Last, if you arent experienced with a dive computer....get fluent quick!  This is obvious, but on deep dives they are great help....watch them, listen to them, follow them. They will keep you out of trouble and help you avoid DECO if you do make a mistake.  Out in the open water, with a good current, its VERY easy to be hovering at 30m looking for HHs, then you look at you computer again and you are at 40m and everything looks exactly the same.

Other than that, the diving at Layang2 isnt particularly challenging.  Sipadan has far worse currents. I love strong currents on dives but that is just me.  Layang2 had no tricky down currents, etc. and the topside was always pretty smooth and glassy for nice entry and exit.
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Re: Hammerheads: Layang-Layang - April 2 - 2012

Post Number:#16  Postby reztitan » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:09 pm

Thanks for your advice blue hole. Will look into the 2 things you mentioned.

Looking forward to this trip. Hopefully can give a nice dive report when i get back.
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