This weeks’ reports by Peter Jackson: Dibba Rock and Diving Inchcape 1,
When your friends all disappear to the Red Sea, a chap still has to dive! So with son Oliver we drove to the East coast & Dibba Rock. Putting on all the gear, noticed Sarah and Simon, snorkelling by the beach, boasting video of 8 turtles, 3 blacktips, while we in mediocre vis, were pleased by numerous parrotfish & dominos to bring in numerous clowns among the anenomes.
A few days later, back to Freestyle & dived with a visiting Pole & a Czech to drop in on Inchcape 1. Current at the surface was fast, vis on the way down miserable, but at 30m Inchcape was then below us, visible from end to end and swarming with seriously large shoals of big eye snappers (& Al Boom PADI groupas). Identified blackspot rubberlips, regal damselfish, finishing with a broad barred firefish on the deck. The sheer quantity of fish was stunning, compensation for an excessive number of Al Boom regimented divers! Great dive - see the video!
Diving Karen’s Dhow & Big Propless Dhow, 26 November
The batteries not having been switched off after the last dive a fortnight previously, both flat, Mike tried to borrow from SP125, but discovered we only had one good battery out of four! Derek and myself went on a battery shopping mission, not so easy on a Friday morning. Thanks to Mike we reached Al Khan by 10am. But from then the six of us (Mike, Wendy, Derek, Sarah, Simon and myself) enjoyed a grand day out – the weather and the Coastguards couldn’t have been nicer.
For Sarah’s first deep open water dive we chose the picturesque and glass treasure laden Karen’s Dhow. A good choice. The anchor snagged a little way from the wreck, but catching in a rope that led directly to it. With no current and 5-6m vis, an easy pleasant dive, prolific with fish. Barracuda near the anchor, and on the wreck shoals of big-eye snappers and monocle bream. First excitement was a fully grown reef sea-snake, very close, but not as close as the next fatter specimen, neither seemingly perturbed by our presence, while exploring the bottom with their small heads for food. A large grumpy hamour watched us miserably, and variety was provided by a pair of immature batfish, yellow barred angelfish and the ballet of long-fin bannerfish. A column of immature barracuda joined the fray, as did a small flock of jacks. Derek pointed out a Moses sole floundering in the sand, when I felt something on my leg. I turned to find a 60cm marbled electric ray swimming over me, literally a stunning sight! On the second wave Mike and Wendi also found the sea-snakes, as well as a large cow-tail ray, which reared its tail at Mike when he swam over it. For myself 46 minutes bottom time incurred a 4-minute deco stop on top of my safety stop – worth every minute. One of the snakes surfaced for air close to our boat, which they need to do every couple of hours. Not to be messed with, their venom breaks down tissue and is extremely toxic.
We then thought to explore a proximity waypoint close by – Dhow A on the GPS. Dropped a buoy on the spot, but finding nothing on the fish-finder, headed instead to the Big Propless Dhow. Here the vis seemed marginally improved over Karen’s, but a stronger current and silty bottom could change this in seconds! Again a large shoal of big-eyed snappers, concealing a few pretty Bengal snappers swarmed the wreck, with a solitary very large barracuda. Simon & Sarah spotted a small immature sea-snake, so it seems this is their breeding season.
The action was still all not over. Sarah, no doubt tired from her first Club dives, reached the top of the ladder, and fell off! Without her fins she then struggled back against a light current, and removed her BCD as taught. Back in the boat there was nearly a domestic when Simon then accidentally clipped her hard in the eye. Shouldn’t there be Club rules about married couples diving together? Wendy drove us home, and despite our late start we were out of the water by 4.30. As a result it is suggested that in future we start at 8.30 from the Club in future, at least in winter! Meeting back at Wanderers with Ian, Cathy & Geoff an excellent day was rounded off with appropriate refreshments.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.