Welcome to 2019 where ever you are in the world.
Before we embark on our new adventures for 2019, we'd like to share a snapshot of 2018.
Firstly thanks are due to those who kept the show on the road this year:
Before Ian's log though, on behalf of all the members / non members of the club, many thanks go to Ian Hussey. Always one to encourage members to advance with training and updating skills including the weekly log that is sent out to members all over the world ( 250 in total ), which is always a welcome read. Thanks Ian.
Not forgetting the rest of the crew:
Brian for looking after boats, compressors and setting up the nitrox facility.
Mike for getting stuck into boats and cars whenever he isn’t retired.
Cara and Michelle for training and the try-dives.
Peter for looking after our money and for his awful puns.
Allen for sterling work on the equipment, in particular keeping the tanks full.
Nick for arts, entertainment and general contributions.
A special thank you goes to Mr SD for running the blending course. (more training in 2019 so please stay tuned in for details) The above is a general snapshot of the work that goes into the upkeep of a dive club.
And finally to all those who came diving with us (42 different divers in 2018) without whom it would all be for nothing.
As promised then, here are a few thoughts on the year just gone:
2018 started on 12th January as it was to finish on 28th December – with a couple of dives on the Dara. This dive remains a favourite, despite the fact that the viz hasn’t been too good of late and the tendency of fishermen to drape it in nets. Clearing them entirely would be a daunting task (and probably futile) but I’m sure we’ll keep on going back. If we have such a thing as a “club wreck”, this is it.
In between we managed to dive somewhere on most weekends. There was a slight hiatus in April caused by boat registration problems, but the weather has been kinder to us than is sometimes the case, so we didn’t have to cancel very much due to strong winds and high seas. I make it 47 diving days in total, which I think is quite impressive by most standards. Wrecks visited were: Ajman Glory (2), Dara (4), Jumbo (8), Karen’s Dhow, Lion City, Ludwig, Mariam Express (6), Mike’s Tug (2), Nakheel Blocks, Nasteran (7), Neptune (3), Palm Island Tugs, Rob’s Dhow (6), Sea King 5, Suitcase Dhow (quick recce but appalling viz), Taha (4), Victoria Star (14), Wreck X (2) and Zainab (2).
We also did a trip to Ras Al Khaimah to investigate some promising looking coordinates. The numbers proved accurate, but the wrecks were small upturned barges of little interest. Polly is arranging a 'survey' dive in the rocky reef location in RAK. Please get in touch if you anyone is interested.
As well as the west coast wrecks, we also made a couple of trips over to the east coast with Divers Down at the Miramar or The Palms at Radisson Blu, diving the Inchcapes or Dibba Rock. The two most memorable trips were the longer ones.
At the beginning of October we took a trip over the border to dive the Damaniyat islands with Sea Oman at the Millennium Hotel. Before we even got to the islands, we were able to spend 30 minutes swimming with a group of whale sharks. Absolutely awesome. During the actual diving we saw rays, turtles, leopard sharks and the all-round abundance of fish life which is the reason we go there.
The stand-out trip, as it often is, was the Eid Al Adha trip in August, this year to Nungwi in Zanzibar. The service in the hotel and in some of the restaurants was of variable quality but there were no complaints about Spanish Dancer Divers, the dive operation that we went with. As well as some of the same species of fish that we normally see in the Gulf, there were octopus, crocodile fish, lizard fish, leaf fish, mantis shrimps and most bizarrely of all, some Indian Ocean Walkman, a kind of walking fish that may be a throwback to pre-historic times.
The dates of the Eid fell very kindly this year, so we were able to have a longer than usual break, including some sight-seeing in Stone Town. Zanzibar itself is a big contrast with Dubai with its lush greenery, ramshackle houses and decrepit roads. There’s clearly a big Omani influence dating from the time when Oman ruled the island.
And what else? Well, the equipment room is in the process of being revamped. We have acquired a couple of split a/c’s from the Wanderers replacing the old wall units and the window has been blocked in to help keep the temperature down. Some new steel frames have been installed thanks to the sterling efforts of Mikes Anthony and Millis with some assistance from Denis Rooney. Nice work guys.
The nitrox is back up and running and is now the default gas option in most circumstances. This has necessitated a few of us attending a blending course to gain the required skills. A number of us also gained a boat-driving license early in the year which is now a requirement for getting past the coastguard. It’s fair to say that this course wasn’t quite so thorough.
We did a couple of try-dives during the year. Both were successful, resulting in Michelle training a few more divers. This has yet to translate into new members but we’re looking at ways of improving this situation.
The Land Rover Discovery is back on the road after a major overhaul aimed at keeping it running for a few more years.
Of the more light-hearted moments, the two that stand out both concern Mike. First, his close encounter with a swan by the Wanderers swimming pool and second, the retrieval of his keys through a partially opened car window by means of a coat hanger and a radio aerial.
Once again Happy New Year to everyone! Safe diving in 2019 and we look forward to the year ahead.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.