The weekend of the 26th we all (well 5 of us) headed for the Dara for a net cleaning operation. A lost purse (since recovered) and hence lack of ID resulted in Cathy (and me) having to get on board from Hamriyah beach instead of the quay side. Wet before we started but at least we made it. Once at site we attacked the nets with various gardening tools which were very effective as long as they stayed sharp which unfortunately was not that long. Still in the course of two dives each we cleared a couple of areas although it would take a lot more divers a lot more time to make a big impact. Return was also via the beach so the coastguard didn’t wonder where two extra passengers had come from.
There was a trip back to Karen’s dhow on Friday the 19th to pick up some of the 'objects' that were found the previous week. This enabled Mike, Uwe and Brian to go down equipped with hammers, saws and other tools and beat hell out of the timber. You could hear them from the surface. Still we brought up some nice metal. The fish life was pretty good too including some monster barracuda circling around fixing divers with their beady eyes.
“Well after the euphoria caused by the safe receipt of the 'object' to the Club about a year after we originally detached it from the dhow we had to find another challenge. There is another dhow upright on the seabed still with its propulsion device attached but we have never seen it as it is buried in the silt so we set off last Friday armed with shovels to expose it. First down in fairly bad viz Mike found 2 Cobia fish that went away after some minutes. Just about to start work he noticed a large cowtail ray lurking in the dark. Leaving it quietly alone he left the scene. Next was Uwe who found the shovel and then the ray that frightened him. Some poking at its tail at long range with the shovel encouraged it to leave! Excavation work then followed but also instant blackout where not even a glimmer of a torch beam could be seen so we abandoned that idea. Meanwhile Sami and Lela were peering myopically at other parts of the wreck. It was at 28m so we did not stay too long.
Next up was another dhow where the viz was much better - all these wrecks are in the area once vacuumed of sand by the dredgers and the silt is what is left. Fortunately there is very little sand cover over the caprock at the second dhow's location so there was no dredging there and relatively normal seabed conditions apply. Here we discovered some more booty as well as abundant fish life, groupers, jacks and barracuda in profusion. The sea was almost flat calm and not too much current. Most of us had 5mm suits on although there were hardy souls as John who dived in just a jacket. We had the service of boat girl Wendy so we could dive in a single wave and we were back at the poolside drinking 'refreshments' by 3.30pm.”
“4 of us go out, bit of fiasco leaving Al Khan as we caught a line and then couldn’t drop the starboard engine back, recovered the boat and after much struggling with a screwdriver dropped down the engine. Flat calm seas and first dive on the Anchor barge, some big barracudas, second dive on Nasteran and back in port by 5PM.”
Ian Hussey and guest writers.