Last Friday could easily not have happened. The forecast was 1-2ft onshore, 1-3ft offshore but there was reason to doubt this before we even left the harbor as the wind seemed to be whipping up. Sure enough, once on the water we had second thoughts about the Mariam Express and headed instead to the dhows which are closer. First up was Karen’s Dhow which went down full of glassware some of which has been salvaged and now sits in various living rooms. It usually makes for an attractive dive and this time there were six or seven John Dory’s near one of the two admiralty anchors that lay beside the wreck. There was also a solitary remora looking for something to attach to. A turtle was spotted but not by everyone.
The sea state calmed down a bit during the day so instead of heading home, we went to the Bigpro Dhow, which is only a couple of kilometres away. We found ourselves anchored to a fishing pot rather than the wreck itself so we first had to find it which not everyone managed. Those who did saw some more John Dory’s and a lot of snappers.
I won’t mention the name of the diver who, having got his regulator back-to-front on his tank, in the ensuing effort to sort the problem out referred to the “two breathing things on the right side”. Could he have meant second stages?
That reminds me – Derek has a BCD for sale. It’s a Beuchat Masterlift Sport size S price Dhs 800. Contact him before Friday if interested (or come on Tuesday).
An update on Marion
Marion is now conscious and talking although she’s a bit confused sometimes. There’s some short and long term memory loss. She has some limited limb movement and complains of aches and pains. She was due an MRI scan this morning – results are not known to me yet. Jim, Alex and Sara are with her and report day-to-day improvement.
She is in Sheikh Zayed Military Hospital, Cardiac Care Unit. If anyone would like to visit her, please coordinate with Alissar Elbaba – 050-6289582.
Marion is being well cared for at SZMH, nevertheless Jim is looking for assistance, advice and suggestions as follows:
“It may be possible to move her shortly - any recommendations in Dubai for rehab? Physio at the hospital suggested Rochester and Neuro Spinal.
What might the costs be on a daily basis if you have any idea? Insurance will not last forever – it may well run out mid-September from diving insurance and not sure how her own personal insurance company will react, although a claim has been registered, and medical report sent to both organisations - diving and personal.
Marion is only on a Visit Visa, renewed today until 20 September - further renewals can be effected I'm sure.
Marion has no family in UK except for son and daughter, Alex and Sara, and a support network there would be difficult to arrange. This is exacerbated by the fact that Alex and Sara live some 200 miles apart. It would certainly be preferable, if at all possible, to keep her in Dubai where her extensive network of friends can assist.
Any good advice would be appreciated.
I have a copy of the full medical report from SZMH which is extremely technical and I’m not attaching here but I can forward to anyone who requests it.
The dive bar is open Tuesday night as normal. See you there!
A word from Jim about Marion’s progress:
“Marion is improving day by day. She has much better mobility in her arms, legs and torso - but still has weakness generally. She is receiving phsiotherapy and Sara, Alex and myself are now trainee physios!!!! She is quite talkative, but memory remains an issue, both short and long term with some confusion. However the MRI does show areas of damage to her brain, particularly related to coordination, vision and location/spatial awareness, so there is still a long way to go in terms of rehab.”
She is now in the female medical ward at Sheikh Zayed Military Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Alissar is currently out of the country so anyone wanting to visit please contact Nancy Wakeham on 050 - 4560152.
On Friday (yesterday as I write) we finally made it out to the Neptune and Jumbo. The last couple of attempts had to be aborted due to the sea state. It wasn’t exactly flat calm this time but we made reasonable progress out to the site and hooked the wreck at the second time of asking. The Neptune is an upturned barge that was involved in a collision with a drilling rig and sank whilst under tow back to Sharjah. There are several ways into the wreck including a nice swim through. Within this there are a couple of passageways for possible future exploration but with reels only – the viz reduces rapidly once inside. Near the entrance there was a friendly family of batfish that came up to see us.
The Jumbo is only a couple of kms from the Neptune. It was lost for a number of years but it turned up on the same list of underwater obstructions with which we found Karen’s dhow and the Bigprop. It is a cargo vessel lying on its port side but fairly broken up. It is an interesting dive but it can be confusing in bad viz. This time the viz was good and there is plenty of fish life including yet more friendly batfish. This was the first time we’d dived the Jumbo since the “perfect storm” back in January but mercifully there was to be no repeat of that particular experience.
Eid Al Fitr is rapidly approaching and we may well take a boat out on Wednesday which should be either day 1 or day 2 of the holiday depending on when the moon is spotted. Decisions will be taken on Tuesday night at the club.
Finally quote of the week (in fact possibly the decade). A certain lady instructor and former 406 diving officer known to many of us had generously volunteered to jump into the sea to remove a green cloth bag that had wrapped itself around one of the props. This achieved, she was being assisted back into the boat without bothering with the ladder. This wasn’t so successful and she cried out: “You’ll have to pull harder – I can’t get my leg over!” Ken’s thoughts are not recorded.
The dive bar is open Tuesday night as normal. See you there!
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.