There was no diving last weekend with most people otherwise engaged over the holiday period and the weather not looking over promising either. This does give me a bit of space to reflect on the highs and lows of 2011.
The low was without doubt the “perfect storm” back in January. Surfacing from a dive to find huge waves and no boat in sight is not something I’d want to repeat in a hurry. Nobody panicked and everyone did the right things but it was still a scary experience. The sheer speed with which the storm descended was a shock to all of us and a reminder never to be casual with the weather – if a storm might be brewing get the hell out of there.
Quote of the year goes to Janette both for her confession on Martini Beach that she “hated getting wet” and also when she was climbing into the boat without the ladder and was heard to cry out: “I can’t get my leg over!” An honorable mention goes to Derek and his “two breathing things”.
Discovery of the year was the MV Taha, a 54m Iranian vessel that went down last autumn full of diesel oil barrels and brand new tyres of questionable quality. It’s always good to have a new wreck to explore and we took grateful advantage. No other dive site was visited more often and although hardly a treasure ship, it did yield a couple of interesting artifacts. These included the ship’s telegraph which is still being restored and the radar which was cleaned and painted. Mike stripped and rebuilt the mechanism and it now sits on the Dive Club porch and rotates when connected to a car battery to the occasional surprise of some poolside sun-bathers.
A sad farewell was said to Geoff Taylor back in March. Geoff and Harry Adamson between them built the Dive Club that stands at the Wanderers and on a memorable Tuesday evening, they were presented with engraved tankards in honour of this achievement. Geoff, in return, handed over some photos and dive logs from earlier in the club’s history. After many years in the UAE, Geoff has moved on to pastures new. We wish him well.
Expedition of the year was the Eid Al Adha trip to Muscat. Diving on Fahal Island and in particular the wreck of the “Munasir”, an Omani navy vessel were memorable experiences. Thanks to Mike who did most of the organization and to BSAC 621 in Muscat for their generous hospitality. We also did some dhow trips to the Musandam, a couple of visits to Martini Beach and another trip on the “Lejaine”, the Turkish galleon based in Ras Al Khaimah. These were all enjoyed by those who participated.
But the highlight of the year (to me at any rate) was the Dara 50th anniversary dive in April. We’d seen the anniversary looming for some months prior and had been planning to do something to commemorate it but I’d anticipated a fairly low key event. Then DSDC got to hear and wanted to be involved as did ADSC and before I knew it the press were interested as well. The result was 60 divers on Hamriyah beach, a red ensign on the stern of the Dara as a mark of respect to those that had perished and some sympathetic and generous coverage in Gulf News and The National. Fame at last!
Finally, I’d like to thank all those who supported the club over the last year and wish everyone a happy, prosperous and safe 2012.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM BSAC 406
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.