Not a bad weekend at all! It didn’t go exactly according to plan – the original targets were the Neptune and Jumbo but after half an hour heading into a worsening sea state, we diverted to the dhows which at that point were only ten minutes away.
We went first to Karen’s dhow which used to be home to a lot of baby barracuda. These appear to have grown up and left home but there was plenty of other fish in evidence. The dhow was carrying a consignment of glassware when it sank and we invariably come back with a few plates and bowls, this dive being no exception. We also retrieved a copper nail from the rudder. Some of these are already in the club and one or two others were donated to the Sharjah Maritime Museum (which has yet to display them!). The one brought up on Friday seems to be the last.
Leaving Karen’s dhow we took a look at a location known only as “1039” on the GPS. Mike did a quick bounce dive on the site and reported a small barge – plenty of fish but not otherwise very exciting. I think we’ve probably visited this before but didn’t find it interesting enough to become a regular target.
The second dive of the day was on the Bigpro dhow (or Bigprop, Nopro, Noprop – take your pick). It’s quite small but generally has some good fish life. On this occasion there were plenty of snappers, tuna and some real granddaddy barracuda patrolling the wreck. These were unusually friendly and let you get quite close although some caution was obviously needed. Uwe found and retrieved a brass oil cooler which should polish up nicely. Mike and Derek also had a close encounter with a turtle and to add the icing to the cake, some dolphins came up for a look just as we were hauling the anchor up. They didn’t stay around long but never mind – it capped a good trip. Who needs Friday brunches anyway?
Geoff Taylor recently donated some old photos of the club which I’ve finally got around to scanning. This is a work in progress but they will be fed on to the website in batches along with some others I got from Harry some time back. Some of the faces are identifiable but the names of others have disappeared into the mists of time so if anyone recognizes their friend, lover, dive buddy, partner in crime etc, this information would be gratefully received.
In a slight break with tradition, we have a plan for the next couple of weeks:
27 May – Taha
3 June – Martini Beach
10 June – Zainab.
All weather permitting of course although Martini Beach is less susceptible to the whims of nature than the offshore wrecks.
Last Friday we went back to the Dara for the first time since the 50th anniversary dive last month. We packed all ten divers into the big boat which made it a bit cramped but the wreck isn’t far away from Hamriyah and the sea state was forecast to be very calm as indeed it turned out to be in reality. The current was also minimal and the viz better than I’ve seen on the Dara for a long time. It was a rare pleasure to float in mid water several metres above the wreck and look down on so much of it. The Dara is very broken up and it can be difficult to navigate in poor viz unless you know it reasonably well.
The fish life was as abundant as usual on the wreck although there was nothing really noteworthy apart from a medium size leopard ray briefly seen by some divers near the stern and a cloud of dust and debris surrounding Mike and a bathtub. By 4pm we were back at the club, boats and gear washed and enjoying some liquid refreshment.
It has been suggested that an east coast dive is a bit overdue. This may not happen this Friday but will be arranged in the near future. Apart from the change of scene, we can accommodate more divers and recent demand has been high. Not a bad problem to have I guess.
Thanks to the efforts of PJ, we may shortly be able to access the money in our accounts for the first time in a long while. I am tempted to name the bank that has raised inefficiency to an art form but I remember the trouble the “name and shame” approach caused Dubai club a couple of years ago. But if anyone is thinking of opening an account, I’d be happy to advise them where not to go!
A few items from the Dive Marshall’s checklist: O2 bottle, O2 set, first aid kit, boat keys (quick turn of engines), blue and/or green folder, full complement of divers…Ok launch the boat! The servant among you might notice what’s missing namely…bungs. These small but vital components were unaccountably neglected until – anchored on the Dara – we noticed the stern a bit lower in the water than it ought to be. The lights went on very rapidly at this point and having plugged the holes underwater and retrieved Geoff and Richard from the water, we shifted the weight forward and headed back to Hamriyah.
Once on the boat was on the plane there was no real problem
although the coastguard was a bit surprised to see us back so quickly. We also got the boat out of the water despite the “help” of some guy who appeared from somewhere, gesturing to me (towing) where the slip was in case I hadn’t noticed and then trying to point out to Geoff (boat handling) where the trailer was in case he couldn’t see it. I had to threaten violence to keep his fingers away from the winch.
It took an hour to drain the boat but since it was still only 11 o’clock we decided to go back for another go. The Dara is only 10 minutes out of Hamriyah on a flat sea so this was possible. The Neptune would have been a different story. After all this the diving may seem a little anti-climatic. Apart from a very large turtle that swam off after a few seconds there was nothing remarkable to report and the viz was extremely average. Nevertheless a day to remember!
Geoff is organizing a weekend on the Lejaine, a schooner operating out of RAK. Details are attached. Suggested (and available) weekends are 7/8 or 14/15 October. Please contact Geoff if you’re interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marion continues to improve and is talking and gaining strength although not equally in all limbs. A move to Dubai has been delayed due to complications and she’ll continue to appreciate visitors. Contact Nancy Wakeham on 050 – 4560152 if you
want to go.
The dive bar is open Tuesday night as normal. See you
After last week’s day off, normal service has been resumed although there were one or two moments on the way out (and back) where this didn’t seem a good idea at all. The sea state wasn’t bad as in dangerous but it was certainly lumpy and didn’t make for a comfortable ride. Still we got there (to the Taha) and had a couple of nice dives. The engine room is still proving elusive although Mike and Uwe are making progress. The galley has yielded a couple of plates and the bridge telegraph still awaits cleaning and polishing. It was also good to see two full boats – 13 divers in total. Nice also to see the barracudas are still there in force. There was also a lionfish which are not common on this coast.
For the first time there some other divers on the wreck – a team from DSDC came out half way through the day. Hope you enjoyed the wreck guys – we’ll forgive the near collision with our boat!
Some of you may remember Michelle and Peter Wright who were members here a few years back. Michelle and Peter now live in Australia and have sent the following:
In less than 14 days we’ll be running the Noosa Half Marathon. But we thought, why run just for ourselves? So we're trying to raise some money for the Cancer Council Queensland at the same time. Any contributions welcome!
Please click on the ink below to visit our very own fundraising page to find out all about it. It only takes a few seconds.
You can visit our fundraising page at
Spread the word and send to as many people as possible.
M and P xxx”
To finish a quiz question:
You’re back at the club after a day’s diving. You find yourself clutching a sweaty item of underwear that you don’t want anywhere near sensitive parts of your body. Do you:
a. Take home and put through the wash (possibly several times) or
b. Hang up in the equipment room
The person who answers b. can expect a 10 Dirham fine on Tuesday!
Ian Hussey and guest writers.