Your scribe took a weekend off last Friday so I’m not able to give a first-hand account but I gather it was a good trip. Mike took the boat out to the Jumbo and Neptune which is where we would have gone the previous week had the sea state permitted. One of the wrecks was full of barracuda – presumably the mums, dads and big brothers of the ones that inhabit Karen’s dhow.
A week off I said? Well it was until I got a phone call at 4pm asking for help. The boat trailer had jumped out of the ball joint on the down-ramp at Aruba Street and was wedged under Mike’s Discovery. With a few returning divers pressed into service the trailer was re-hooked and returned to the yard without further incident (apart from a puncture whilst reversing in).
Plenty to write about before we even left the club this week. One trailer wheel hub needed some repair so some magic was worked with a collection of washers. One other hub was out of shape and leaking air so also needed fixing. This was a delicate operation involving the subtle application of a large hammer. One other wheel was leaking air through its valve so was replaced with a spare that turned out to be punctured so was itself replaced. Are you following all this? Oh and the boat’s right engine wouldn’t start because of a broken earth cable. Mike was exhausted afterwards but rose to the various challenges.
After all that the diving might seem a bit anti-climatic. The original intention was to do the Jumbo and Neptune but the sea state was rougher than advertised so we did the dhows instead. The baby barracuda are still on Karen’s dhow and the Bigprop was full of life as normal. Quote of the day (possibly the year) was from Cathy who – getting her units mixed up – told everyone that she was diving with a “12 inch steel”. The mind boggles.
To finish a case of déjà vu. Some of you may remember a dive several years ago when we were accosted by the coastguard and invited to display a dive flag that we didn’t have. To solve the problem some improvisation was done with a blue fin and a white T-shirt. The result was extremely dubious (to be charitable) but the DIY dive flag (now referred to as a “Pete Elvin”) has entered 406 legend. So imagine my surprise when I went to put up a dive flag last Friday and found that thanks to Mike Anthony I didn’t have to.
After the previous weekend’s exploits in RAK, we were back on more familiar turf last Friday. We took the boat out to the Dara for a couple of dives. There were only 5 of us possibly due to it being the Eid weekend but that did make for lots of room on the boat. This viz wasn’t great but a turtle was spotted and a small octopus. We hit slack water on the first dive but on the second the current was a bit wild causing us to haul our way back to the anchor line rather than fin.
Some general information
With a couple of spare hours over my last weekend, I updated the dive log spreadsheet and as a result can share a few bits of useless information with you.
Since December 2007 when I started the sheet, the club has done 111 trips out of a possible 143 weeks which is pushing 80%. A total of 97 different divers have been out with us (including guests) representing 23 different nationalities. The total number of dives stands at 1503. The sheet doesn’t record details like Km traveled by the boats or Kg of brass salvaged but if I have the time or the inclination I might have an estimate one day.
Jutta Jackson has kindly volunteered to help keeping the web site up to date. Thanks also to Oliver Jackson who re-drew our 406 logo in “Illustrator” format at short notice.
Diving on Friday didn’t seem advisable so we went out Saturday instead. No ordinary dive either – we went out on the “Lejaine”, a Turkish schooner operating out of the Hilton in RAK. The dive was “Snapper Alley”, a tug and barge that was discovered two years ago in shallow water just offshore the RAK/UAQ border. Not spectacular but plenty of life including the snappers that give the site its name. We were treated to breakfast on the way out and a three-course meal on the way back which I could get used to! Thanks to Derek for organizing this trip.
Uwe’s farewell part was a monumental bash. Held in the dive bar (naturally) and round the pool (as well as in it). We started with some under water drinking of which Uwe is an experienced instructor. Several plastic bottles of beer were consumed and PJ was thoughtful enough to bring a hip flask for those who fancied a chaser. After a barbecue Uwe was presented with a couple of mementoes including a suitably engraved tankard. Gordon and Evelyn had not only flown from Bahrain, but brought several bottles of bubbly with them. These were duly opened and shared around. Some of Uwe’s Mercedes colleagues presented him with a photo album of some of his desert exploits. Things got a bit hazy after that but we did have another swim at around 1 or 2am (I know by my wet clothes).
All in all, an excellent evening.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.