The Seven Stars [Chi Shin Yen] dive season is approaching. I am planning a dive out there and there are two suitable dates on the calendar within the next couple of months. Those dates are April 23rd and May 21st. These may well be the only dates that this dive is doable this year.
For those of you who do not know this dive site it is an open ocean site 10k south of Kenting. Approximately a 50 mins boat ride. Seven Stars is a group of large barren volcanic rocks out in the middle of the ocean, two currents meet at this point, one heading south the other north. The currents attract large pelagics. A variety of Tuna feed there, including Yellow Fin, Dogtooth and Blue Fin, there are also Great, Yellowstripe and Pickhandle Baraccuda. There is an abundance of Marine life out there and even the reef fish are big. Keynote fish are large schools of Bannerfish and Moorish Idols, and huge Angel fish, Puffers of all types and large groups of Snapper and all sorts of Surgeon fish. There are the odd Turtle or two and sometimes Rays. There is also a wreck of an old steam ship albeit badly broken up, but the boilers and drive shaft are visible along with a little of the superstructure. Visibility is usually in the 25 to 30m range and can extend up to 40m.
This dive is for experienced divers only. You need to be comfortable in a current, both on the surface and below. You need to possess a signal balloon and a reel and know how to deploy it safely from 10-15m. You also need to know and successfully accomplish a negatively buoyant entry. i.e. off the boat fast and straight down, no bobbing around on the surface deflating your BCD, so if you have chronic problems equalising this dive is probably not for you.
The dive averages about 25-30M+ so it is an ideal nitrox dive. For those of you who are certified, Nitrox is available.
This is a great dive and well worth the effort and expense of getting out there. Unfortunately it is entirely dependent on clement weather. The captain will not risk going out there if the weather and sea state picks up and the decision to go is usually taken the day before. This dive has acquired a certain amount of notoriety over the years, as a few divers have been bent out there or lost but I believe it to be a safe dive provided it is well planned and the divers are capable and equipped to make the dive. In fact, IMO the best dive in the Kending area.
Anyhow I am making up a list of divers who are interested in doing this dive. The boat, a twin engine catamaran, can carry 20 divers fairly comfortably. If you are interested please email me and your name will go on the list. I will dive both dates if I have enough interest and the weather is good. Let me know if you want to go on the 1st dive, the 2nd or both. A ball park cost for this dive is NT$1,800 to 2000. This includes two tanks of air and weight belts plus fresh fruit snacks and water. Nitrox 32 tanks are NT$200 extra per tank.
PS: If you are an active dive instructor and want to bring your own small group down for the dive or are prepared to shepherd/keep your eye on a small group of say 3 or 4 divers I will get you an Instructor’s Discount on the price. It won’t be that much cheaper but the offer is there.
PPS: If you have a buddy who you think will be interested in this dive feel free to let them know.
Cheers, Andy Gray.