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It’s a new day dawning in Butte, Montana, as the sunlooks to be disappearing quickly behind clouds. At least we’re in easy striking distance of pre-home locations and the in-laws house in Connell, Washington. After yesterday’s almost 650 miles, we call to warn them we’ll be there for dinner because it’s less than 450 miles away – it’ll be clear sailing.
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An hour on the road and the weather is suggesting it might still have a few things to say about our trip to ‘get away from the cold and rain.’
Thirty minutes later, possibly a lot of things to say about how bad things could really be.
This is a slack water dive, without any doubt. The location of this site is about 250 metres NNW of the reef drop-off at dive site (4) and the position of it warrants only two stars because the seabed has little of interest. There is a rather featureless sloping bottom at 20 metres plus, consisting of flat rock and small stones with a few anemones here and there. This, though, is the starting point for a fabulous drift dive on the flood tide, which takes you right across the In Bus. Obviously, the bigger the tide, the faster you will travel and on a spring, it is not for the faint-hearted. A first sight of the rolling white water is enough to deter the most stout-hearted of divers, as the tidal run can reach ten knots on the springs. Once in the water, you have no time to dilly-dally and should head straight down for the bottom, facing the direction of the current, which will not only slow you down but will also prevent you from rolling over out of control. On reaching the seabed, turn with the current and just go for it! Getting faster and faster, you flash over the reef top at a hairy rate of knots until you reach the cliff face on the southern edge, at which point you can fin down and finish the dive in reasonably sheltered gullies. Needless to say, surface marker buoys are essential on the drift over the Whirls. It is also very important to have a boat waiting downstream for the divers.