This was an eventful weekend just gone. On Thursday afternoon some of us went to Al Ain for Jutta’s funeral. This was a sad occasion of course but also moving – particularly Oliver’s eulogy and Peter’s poem and impromptu account of how he came to meet and marry her. Afterwards we went back to Sharjah for a gentle wake at the Wanderers.
Peter Jackson asked me to add the following:
Oliver, Karsten and I would like to thank all the dive club members who have supported us through Jutta’s many months of illness on Tuesday nights and at our Friday tables. Finally to all of you who came to the house or to Al Ain to bid your fond farewells on Thursday, again we say thank you.
Below a lovely tribute to Jutta from John Miller a leading South African aviation journalist: John Miller posted in They Served AFRICA With Wings by Mitch Stirling & John House
"It is with sadness I report that well known Zim aviation personality, Jutta Jackson passed away this week. She succumbed to cancer, which the family has been battling with for some years. I have Peter's email address for anyone who would like to send condolences. This family were mainstays of the Mashonaland Flying Club and found happiness working in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Amazingly hospitable, I remember the times they welcomed into their home during various aviation events held in Zim and the fun they had when completing the Zim Sun Rallies. Condolences to Peter and sons Oliver and Karsten."
Friday was very much the morning after the night before but undaunted we headed out to the Ajman Glory but it turned into an eventful day. The fun began while we were fuelling the boat. Finding a pump out of action, Mike was forced to reverse on to the one behind. Being unsighted, he asked the station staff to watch the trailer while he reversed. Unfortunately they did precisely that – watching carefully while the trailer wiped out two fuel hoses. This caused a delay while the police came and issued their report. Having to apportion blame between Mike and a petrol pump was, one suspects, not the toughest decision they ever had to make.
It’s possible that Mike was still feeling a bit tired and emotional from the night before, a feeling reinforced when he tried to change the name of the wreck in the GPS. It was still in there as the old name, “MULLA2” and while I drove the boat, I watched it change first to “AGGLNR”, then “AGGLOR” before becoming “AJGLOR” by which name it should remain until we need a new GPS.
Once we anchored on the wreck, Mike Dalton and Robin were the first over the side. They came back reporting excellent viz but also the bad news that the anchor had landed 40m from the wreck. Mike, PJ and I were the next down the line and we found that this figure was slightly exaggerated – in fact we almost collided with the mast on the way down. The anchor had indeed missed the wreck but was lying in the sand alongside it. A string line had been tied to the anchor and ran almost parallel to the wreck at least a metre away (maybe 1½ metres) before being tied on near the bow. Back on the boat, Mike D offered some inventive explanations for this situation, some of which involved the warping of the space-time continuum and some other less believable possibilities. The idea that the anchor might have moved was dismissed as too far-fetched.
And there was also some diving. The viz was very good and there was lots of fish life to look at including three very friendly batfish. There was also the usual quota of snappers and jacks although the resident turtle seemed to be off on vacation somewhere. Mike A had a look in the forward locker resulting in the attached photo taken by PJ. Suggestions for captions are invited. The best one will receive a signed copy of Mike’s seminal work: “My Life with Wrecks”.
We decided to stick around the Ajman Glory for the second dive and although it was good, the current had picked up and the viz had deteriorated accordingly. We then headed back to the SJHARH WNADRES DVIE CULB for some refreshments.
Not just any refreshments either. Friday night was barbecue night and very good it was too. We sold 35 tickets in the end, a number of whom were new and interested in diving which was the point of the thing really. Thanks go to Mike Dalton whose idea it was and to the Wanderers for laying it on. We should plan another one I think.
Diving events this week have been overshadowed by the sad passing of Jutta Jackson, yesterday afternoon as I write. Although not a diver, she was very much part of the club, maintaining the web site and joining us Tuesday nights and post-dives round the pool and on dhow trips. For the last twelve months she has known very well what the future held but she faced this with the same quiet fortitude that she seemed to approach life generally. She will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with Peter, Oliver and Karsten.
The diving goes on of course. Last Friday we made another attempt to get to the Neptune and Mike’s Tug and just like last week we were defeated by the sea state. There was supposed to be 1 – 2ft off-shore and there may well have been but this was on top of a big swell and the result was very slow progress. Deciding against the Taha for a third week running, we diverted to Karen’s dhow and spent an enjoyable 40 minutes swimming with the baby barracuda and the snappers as well as the smaller inhabitants of the wreck. The turtle was unfortunately absent but we came back with a bit more glassware.
For the second dive we went to the Bigprop dhow, 2½ km away. Now that the bigprop is really a noprop it’s not quite so compelling but on its day it can still be a good dive. On Friday the viz was not great and the fish life not especially exciting. After about 25 minutes Mike and I noticed the string line to the anchor had gone taut, indicating that the anchor had dragged and was walking away. At this point we headed back to the boat.
Last Friday we were intending to go to the Neptune followed by Mike’s Tug – well Mike was marshall and he decided he hadn’t seen his boat for a while. Unfortunately the sea state was uncooperative and after a while with the journey time getting longer and longer we changed plans and headed for the Taha instead. This has been down nearly two years now and is no longer quite so new. A lot of the diesel engine oil has been taken off and the 5-litre cans have long since rotted through so now any environmental damage has either been done or been averted. Most of the tyres seem to have gone as well so if you get offered a cheap tyre with barnacles you know where it came from. While we were relaxing after the dive we had a brief glimpse of some dolphins about 200m away.
For the second dive we went to Karen’s dhow which is on the way back. We dive this quite a lot as it’s always a good plan B in the event of rougher than expected seas – as with this week. It’s not spectacular as a wreck but it’s usually home to some good marine life. In this case Geoff had barely got off the anchor line when he found himself staring a turtle in the eye. It seemed to want to get up close and personal but wisely changed its mind. There were also some baby barracuda and the usual jacks. Peter's video of this dive can be seen above. Also featured are a goby and shrimp who share the same burrow in the sand – dug by the shrimp and inhabited by the goby which in turn provides the shrimp with a warning of impending danger.
Friday 21 September (evening) we will be having a barbecue round the pool. Cost is a mere Dhs 35. Flyers are going out as the main objective is to get a few more members. A copy is attached so if can usefully spread a few around please do so. Please though remember rules for entry into the Wanderers.
AL BOOM are offering BSAC406 members the following discounts:
20% off all PADI Courses Sunday – Thursday
20% off all Diving Sunday – Thursday at either Al Aqah/Atlantis/Musandam
20% off purchases (with some trade exceptions (Suunto, Go-Pro etc)
You just need to produce your Sharjah Wanderers Dive Membership card.
Al Boom Diving: go to alboomdiving.com & Youtube: Al Boom Diving Video & onFacebook
email: firstname.lastname@example.org • bookings: +971 4 3422993
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.