An interesting day out was had last Friday but not quite in the way we had anticipated. We thought we’d go and have another look at the co-ordinates we tried last week (wreck “I”) when we failed to locate anything despite some interesting looking shapes on the seabed. Alas, this time nothing appeared on the echo sounder except flat and sandy bottom. What we saw last week is anyone’s guess – I was only drinking bitter lemon I swear. After 45 minutes driving around in circles, squares and other patterns we gave up and the appearance of a pod of dolphins gave us something more interesting to look at.
We next headed for Karen’s Dhow so that we could at least get a dive in. Lamjed and Apolostolis secured the anchor and the rest of followed down the line. The fish life was a tad disappointing compared to what it can be like but it was an enjoyable dive nonetheless. However the highlight was to come. PJ, Richard and I were the last up having freed the anchor. Richard had climbed back on board when I noticed a dolphin right behind PJ’s shoulder. Looking below, there were six or seven swimming around us and the boat, not quite close enough to touch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t let go of the boat in the strong current or we might have been able to get closer but it was a memorable close encounter.
It would have been difficult to top that and after a search for another possible target (wreck “J”) had again yielded nothing, we headed home.
Ordinarily that would have been the end of the story but on the way back we spotted something very odd in the water, apparently under tow. Closer inspection showed it was the cutter-head of a dredger, clearly at an angle its maker never intended. We had a chat with the tug boat skipper, who told us it came to grief five days previously and it was under tow into Ajman. He was expecting some divers to fix some floats to the wreck to get it more or less upright for maneuvering in shallow water. The correct response (“Sure that’s us – just give us ten minutes to kit up”) didn’t occur to us in time but it was an interesting story all the same. If they don’t succeed in getting the dredger into port, they won’t have much option but to let it sink.
It seems the Al Khan coastguards are indeed expecting to see Emirates ID cards for anyone going out. Whether this is the case at other launching points we don’t know yet but it may be prudent to assume that it is. Take note.
One for the diary: a camp-out is planned for 27th April. Details to follow.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.