Last Friday was a training day for Matt, Aaron, Jules and Jen. Being an instructor short, I opted to give Karen’s dhow a miss and concentrate on getting the drills out of the way. We moored the boat just off Hamriyah beach and the shallow water was ideal for the mask clearing, alternative air supply, controlled buoyant lifts and towing that was required. All of this was successfully achieved – well done to all.
Next week hopefully we’ll be able to get out and see things that are a bit more interesting than sandy seabed. Thanks also to Cathy for running out of air and falling unconscious several times as well as being towed, lifted and generally manhandled around the water.
Getting the boat back to the club was interesting. A combination of the ongoing Sharjah Rugby 10’s tournament and end of prayer time at the mosque resulted in a major traffic jam outside the club. Fortunately Aaron turned “traffic cop” for 10 minutes and we got through it.
Saturday’s dive on the Dara had to be cancelled as Brendan was in major pain (his words) on Saturday following a hike in Hatta on Friday. Some priorities need adjusting here I think!
Mike has been doing some work on the trailer after the wheel went walkabout last week. As a result we now have new hubs and rims. We really need further upgrades of the wheel / axle assembly as the boat is too heavy for the current configuration. Mike is on the case so watch this space.
After a two week hiatus, we were back in the water last Friday – on the east coast as promised. A total of 13 people made the camp out on Martini Beach on Thursday and a further 7 joined us on Friday morning. The journey over was not without incident. Just short of Masafi, a wheel parted company with the trailer forcing some roadside repairs. However we’re not unused to these situations and we still managed to get the dive gear, camping gear including several kitchen sinks (it seemed like) over to the beach before we lost daylight.
Martini beach seems to have shrunk since I first remember it – possibly the result of Cyclone Gonu – and being a high spring tide we couldn’t help noticing the water coming ever closer to the camp fire. Dan’s King Canute impression proved in vain and he had to move up the beach but there were sufficient engineers on hand to build some tidal defences and save the fire and more importantly, the barbecue. After that some steaks were cooked, eaten and washed down with generous quantities of decompression fluid.
In the morning, having collected the extra seven, we did some diving. The students and instructors dived the headland on what for Matt, Aaron, Jules and Jen were their first open water dives. A few drills were successfully executed and the dives could then be properly enjoyed. The rest of the divers went to Martini Rock for their first dive and to Shark Island for their second. PJ has some video footage.
The entertainment highlight I’m told, was Sami’s head first dive in the boat when it stopped a bit more sharply than he was expecting. I look forward to hearing more details on Tuesday.
Thanks to Jutta for the excellent cake that was eaten after the diving.
Quote of the day was a certain lady diving instructor: “I hate getting wet!” A bit late to complain about that I would have thought.
Just for information: we discovered that Martini Beach is known as “Kilcully” (or something like that) to the locals. Trying to explain to the coastguard that we were going to Martini resulted only in blank looks.
There are no firm plans for next Friday as yet but on next Saturday 26 February, Brendan is running a trip to the Dara.
No diving again last Friday. We had a boat load ready to go but the weather was decidedly changeable and no-one fancied taking chances after the events of two weeks ago. As it turned out we would probably been OK as Friday turned out to be the lull between two storms but we can all have 20/20 hindsight and the viz would have been rubbish anyway.
Next Friday, the intention is to go over to the east coast, the idea being to do some of the open water lessons with our trainees. There will be a camp-out on the Thursday night although we’ll try and arrange something for those that can’t make it until Friday. Remember Thursday is a holiday in the UAE thanks to the Prophet’s birthday. Full details will be sorted out on Tuesday.
The artifact list was updated with the various comments we have received. These were very helpful indeed and I would like to thank Geoff Taylor, Mike Anthony, Brian Lugg, David De Marneffe, Brian King, Janette Elphinstone and Harry Adamson who all contributed useful information. As you will see there are still gaps. In particular I would love to know the origin of the bell that hangs over the bar heralding a round of drinks from time to time.
After the drama of the previous Friday, nothing at all happened last weekend. A shamal blew in causing 9 – 11 ft waves (10 – 15 ft on Saturday) rendering any discussion about where to go diving entirely academic. At least we had some warning this time.
Thanks to those who read last week’s email and responded with some helpful comments. A committee meeting will be held shortly after which any conclusions will be published.
Some of you may be aware that Geoff Taylor is leaving the UAE after a long spell here. It was Geoff and Harry Adamson who built the dive bar on the Wanderers site after the old clubhouse at the airport was closed. Geoff has provided some particularly helpful comments regarding the artifacts in the bar and has sent me a couple of old photos which I am attaching for your interest. In Geoff’s words:
“The first picture is of the dive club bar on Ajman beach dated May 76. The guy behind the bar is Pete Bramall (British army seconded to the UDF) who wasn’t a diver but was an avid drinker. The large wheel in the ceiling is from the cement barge and lost in the ‘Great Fire’. The telegraph is off the ‘Khan Wreck’. For those not sampling the delights of the draft Double Diamond beer was Dhs2 per can.
The second picture is at Hamriyah beach after a good day on the ‘Dara’. Pictured from left to right - Clive Bilson, Rod Mackenzie, Geoff Taylor and lower front right, Brian Clargo. The boat is one of the old 17’ Dory’s with a 115HP outboard.”
Hopefully there will be a few more where that came from.
See Club History for more pictures of old treasures sent in by Geoff Taylor
Ian Hussey and guest writers.