Where to start? First of all, Barry Thomas arrived at the club last week as promised and we had a few drinks together. The country has changed a bit since he was last here with the Union Defence Force in the 70’s but we were able to let him know something about what we’ve been up to since. It was good to see him and have a chat. Barry was on his way to Australia and should be passing through again on the way back (in April if I remember correctly).
And last weekend… This was one our regular camp-outs, this time in the mountains above Wadi Sena. We convened at the club about midday, firstly to cut some timber, then to re-attach the canopy to the boat (SP312) and finally to have a bite to eat and before setting off. Robin was towing the boat for the first time and made it to parking place without difficulty. All the same the journey to the camp site wasn’t entirely without incident. Polly’s car was fine on the tarmac but proved inadequate for the mountain road so she had to retreat to the village with the assistance of some friendly locals after which Mike brought her up the hill to join us. Derek made it up all right but didn’t notice the site and continued on for several kilometres before realising his mistake and turning back.
Despite these minor problems (without which no camp-out is complete), we soon got the fire going and even sooner cracked a few cans and had a stab at putting the world to rights. As well as the 406 faces, it was good to see Jim and Marion from DSDC and Brian Lugg (plus dog), their Diving Officer. Brian brought with him a birthday cake, duly presented to Mike Anthony on the occasion of his ?>60th birthday which was a few days ago. He also had some out-of-date flares which made for a good firework display. We eventually settled down in our respective tents (and cars) pleasantly happy.
In the morning we cooked some breakfast before striking camp. Some of the utensils didn’t survive the experience and there was some debate about the most appropriate exhibition for the frying pan that Polly had used for her eggs. (I think Damien Hirst got the verdict). It was very windy up the mountain and we did wonder whether it would be similar at sea level. First of course we had to get there and after reassuring Robin that yes, his car was safely back at the club and not sitting at the bottom of the hill, Derek discovered he had a puncture which needed sorting out. His jack turned out to be broken (and small) so I leant him one of mine. This was too big but I had a smaller one which was just right as Goldilocks would have said.
And after all this we did manage to go diving. We launched the boat from Dhadnah and convened at the beach next to the Sandy Beach Motel. The sea was calm but this disguised some serious breakers rolling on to the beach. It is just as well the boat is self draining or we might have lost it as a big wave broke over it and left about 200mm of water in the back. As it was the ladder went missing but we recovered it after a short search. The diving location was the Pinnacles, on which someone has now planted a UAE flag. The visibility was disappointing but nevertheless we managed to see some pufferfish, pipefish, boxfish and a solitary turtle. There was similar hassle with the waves getting back on shore so we ended up anchoring a bit further away than ideal and swimming for it. After a relaxing half hour or so we headed back to Sharjah for a glass or two and a bite to eat by the pool.
Overall a very good weekend and we’d like to get another one away before the weather becomes too hot.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.