The dive last weekend was one of our regular trips to the old favourite, the Dara. There was a practical reason as well: the echo sounder was damaged on the east coast two weeks earlier and although Mike had bought a new transponder, there were no absolute guarantees that it would work properly. The Dara we are confident we can find without one. (Several years ago we found the Dara without either an echo sounder or a GPS, both being forgotten or broken. That day was notable for missing BCD’s, boat keys as well as some other crimes and misdemeanours resulting a few “voluntary donations” to club funds.
The precaution with the echo sounder seemed well founded at first – it insisted the sea was bottomless with a temperature of -8 deg, both of which we regarded with some suspicion. It later turned out that Mike had put back the old plug into the echo sounder instead of the new one. This rectified, the machine sprang to life but by then we were already anchored.
And good dives they were. There was a bit of a current but the water is getting noticeably warmer. The viz was excellent which was a good thing as the wreck is still covered in a lot of nets, although a few less after Mike’s sterling efforts during the day. The dives also featured barracuda, rays, some pairs of cuttlefish, an octopus and a shoal of batfish inside the cathedral. We also cut free some fish caught in the nets and opened up some pots that were too badly snagged to be retrievable (and had clearly been there a long time). One puffer fish, having been freed by Brian Larkin, then followed him round for the remainder of the dive.
Getting back was a little tricky – the O-rings on the steering had perished causing the hydraulic oil to leak out and we had to steer back using the engines. However, we’ve overcome similar hurdles without too many problems in the past and we were soon back at the club for some refreshments.
It was good to see Sami and John Kyriakos on the boat. Sami should be around at the club tomorrow before heading back to Beirut.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.