The plan for last Friday was to visit the last set of co-ordinates from the Notice to Mariners where there could be some interesting wreckage. The weather was marginal but we set off anyway. It soon became clear that 35km was too far in the conditions so we went to Karen’s Dhow instead. This is more or less the same direction but closer.
PJ takes up the story from this point:
“Ten minutes out of Al Khan, we found a dolphin swimming along our port side, then beyond a larger pod, then another sizeable pod astern – not sure how many, but more than a dozen, maybe fifteen – just lovely to behold. Our target dive was a new site beyond Jumbo and Neptune, but on a very cool and very grey winter’s day, with wave height increasing as we progressed, and our speed halved as a result, it was agreed to change direction for one dive at Karen’s Dhow. Mike and visiting diver Hennie, Simon & Sarah in their matching kit, took the first wave. A large grouper in the engine hold, a large big-eye trevally featured, but a reef sea-snake swam close past Hennie’s ear much to his surprise, and was particularly inquisitive, as glassware from Karen’s was put to good use as a shield! It was Hennie’s first sea-snake so he was happy. With a water temperature of 23° the first dive was all complete in 30 minutes, so Ian and myself were soon descending the line.
Vis with no direct sunlight was adequate but not great. The usual suspects were present, shoals of yellow Dory snappers and monocle bream, small Arabian bannerfish, and a few yellow bar angelfish. We found the large hamour, the big-eye, and a handsome golden trevally, but also the largest (blue-barred) parrotfish that I have seen, just too shy to have a picture taken! Large yellow-tail barracuda circled above the wreck before body temperature determined that it was time to ascend!
On the surface our change into dry clothes was not surprisingly speedy. I told Hennie to look out for the snake surfacing, as they come up regularly to breathe – and a moment later it was on the surface in front of us! Soon after we were powering back to Al Khan lagoon, Simon noticed a flock of gulls on the surface behind us, with a pair of sharks apparently in feeding frenzy. Mike was too cold to go back, but for a one dive morning, action-packed, which didn’t end there, as we discovered a wheel hub on the trailer had collapsed, and subsequently suffered a puncture striking a kerb while manoeuvring past parked mosque traffic. Mike’s engineering skills were once again put to the test. Joined at Uwe’s table by Cathy, decompression fluid was then partaken in the rain, a suitable substitute for our missed second dive!”
Weather and trailer permitting, we’ll have another attempt next week.
Many thanks to those of you who responded to my request for information about the dive club artifacts. Lots of good stuff came pouring in and this is all being added to the spreadsheet. An updated version will go out shortly – in the meantime keep it coming!