And now for something completely different. It wasn’t meant to be – the Zainab was the plan and we had 10 divers signed up and ready to go but the weather didn’t cooperate. There was a breeze whipping up the sea and we weren’t long out of Umm Suqeim 2 before we realized we were looking at a journey time of nearly two hours. A quick scan of the GPS showed something called “111AIR” not far away so we headed for that instead. I must admit
I thought it would be the pair of fighter jets that were dropped into the sea just offshore from the Palm Jumeirah and these are indeed in the same vicinity. What we found though was the remains of a much larger passenger jet which again had been sunk deliberately.
The anchor dropped on to parts of the central section including what’s left of a wing. There’s not that much to see here but around 50m away there’s a short section of intact fuselage which provides some good photo opportunities. A fixed rope guides you the nose section about 30m away. The controls are still intact, if a bit barnacle encrusted and the section is now home to a large sweetlips. Another fixed line takes you from the fuselage to part of the landing gear – again about 30m away.
All in all a worthwhile trip – we’ll save the Zainab for a calmer day. It was appropriate to dive an aircraft in one way. It was Dan’s first dive in quite a while and he earns his living as a professional pilot – when he’s not around the Wanderers swimming pool that is. Still if it wasn’t for 800 years of oppression…
By coincidence the aircraft is featured in this month’s Outdoor UAE magazine. It was originally a Pakistani Airbus A300 that crashed on landing at Dubai airport. There were no casualties. The aircraft was eventually taken offshore and sunk as an artificial reef. In the May edition of the same magazine there’s the story of Geoff’s recent trip to the Himalayas. This is online at:
Post dive at the pool, we were joined by Brian Kirman who is heading off with Elena to a life of leisure in Greece. Uwe took the opportunity to present him and Geoff with their “unter Wasser trinken” certificates which they somehow missed collecting at the last awards ceremony. We’re hoping he returns sometime for the advanced course (as well as some more conventional diving). Good luck Brian!
Also departing (again) is booze marshal Uwe and again we hope temporarily.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.