With few around last Tuesday night, and fewer interested in diving, PJ suggested a trip back to Freestyle in Dibba. Two wanted to go Friday, two Saturday. Finally Friday was agreed, partly to accommodate a refresher for Dave, a veteran UAE expat and diver, friend of Robin. When you are a team of four, the SMS received driving into Dibba, that Dave & Robin had over-imbibed, was not appreciated - and I'm not being saki! But Freestyle are a welcoming bunch, and were still prepared to take Polly and PJ on a 2-tank dive across to Inchcape 1 followed by the Pinnacles. Karin K joined us in the water, probably regretting it, as we swam the length of four other tethered boats, against the current. Trevor was the sensible one - he stayed in the boat, as the three of us descended through clouds of bubbles. Piccadilly Circus?! Viz was however reasonable, in between the other divers, with highlights of a shoal of lined eel catfish, and two scorpion fish.
Polly preferred to do her second dive back at Dibba Rock, so Karin and Peter did a leisurely dive around Sharm Rocks (Pinnacles). with a max depth of 12m the viz was not as good as Inchcape, but we managed to see a large shoal of good-sized yellow tail barracuda, and close by a pair of "double-ended" pipe fish. An illegal and very full pot on a line caught our attention, and a rescue operation was successfully undertaken.
Later at Freestyle it was time for the last dive of the day, the first for Derek that Friday. Unfortunately after his two dips, our Treasurer had failed to get warm again decided to be sensible and not dive. This left Polly and Derek R to brave the depths of Dibba Rock with Max( of Freestyle) on boat duty. The sea was a 23 C and the viz was about 10 m, not the best conditions but certainly by no means the worst compared with the West coast recent dives. Polly and Derek rolled off the boat - South of Dibba Rock and headed on a bearing North. The current was gentle and the conditions were very benign. We saw the usual suspects of yellow snappers, monacle bream, lion fish and a big old puffer fish with their large doll eyes on show. Then on a reef we saw a pipe fish with the head of a sea horse and a long body, lying there taking in the vista. Heading away from this Poly got distracted by another pipe fish and stopped to fulfil a desire to get more on film. Unfortunately, Derek did not spot this and by the time he realized it was time to switch to the lost buddy drill. A quick search around and neither Poly nor Derek could find each other sur la mere so it was time to surface for a reunion and this brought a premature but controlled conclusion to a very pleasant dive.
Next day - 16th Feb- Dibba and Freestyle on Saturday morning, two more BSAC 406 members-Geoff Patch and Derek R went out with Trevor and Max of Freestyle Divers to go down to Inchcape 1 at 29metres. Weather above sea level was fine and we soon found our way to the bottom. There was a very respectable size flounder that would have looked good on anyone's plate, sat looking up at us and it decided that it preferred the sea bed to a bed of lightly tossed salad and seasoning. We were then were taken by a mildly excited Max doing an impression of a rodeo rider(underwater?) to see a beautiful sea horse of about 10" length holding on to the flora with its tail. Derek had his new pony with him but the sea horse was just not interested in a cylindrical bit of metal, even if it did have 38% EAN in it. There were shoals a plenty and one of the most memorable was a shoal of balling lined eel catfish, Captain Patch decide he wanted to get in amongst it but the catfish decided that they would ball no more, at least not with the captain. It could be said that the catfish did have good taste, without being cooked. We had a great view of a decent sized yellow honey combed moray wrapped round the railings on the top deck. There was a very respectful swim through the lower deck of Inchcape with the surreal lights from outside. On exiting the lower deck we were met by two Lion fish hovering like they do, almost like they were waiting their turn to enter. On the way up the deco stops were 15m, 12m , 9m and 6m and then it was back to base for a modest barbecue and a bit of decompression fluid. I missed out the bit about Derek driving everyone mad on how to set his Suunto computer for different gases, because that would be boring, even if he did get nearly everyone involved/mad and it did work in the end.
Ian Hussey and guest writers.