Having cast off from Al Khan (at probably the lowest the tide can get) Derek, who was collecting Emirates IDs, realized that instead he’d brought his Vehicle Registration. Being that the Coastguards have been stricter in recent months about having Photo ID we returned to the quay briefly, although having taken another look at the crest on my Vehicle Registration and Derek side-on, I reckon he might have got away with it.
The original plan was Neptune/Jumbo but it became rapidly apparent that the swell was as we had anticipated and the decision was made to divert to the Taha. We weren’t the first to get there as it became clear when we arrived to find Brian Lugg of DSDC. Shouting over to us, Brian had reported a very strong current, which we were soon to find out first hand.
The first couple of attempts to secure ourselves on the wreck were unsuccessful. On the first try Mike went down the anchor line, but by the time I was clinging on to the buoy for dear life the effect of my drag was too much and we had to abort.
With the first wave of divers exhausted, the second attempt was to lay the anchor ahead of the wreck and drag it back. Brendan was next down, but evidently from the GPS we weren’t attached. So with Plans A & B unsuccessful, and by this time aware that DSDC had lost their anchor, we had a bit of a discussion and decided on one last attempt before calling it a day.
The plan was to position ourselves directly over the wreck with Brendan and Qaesar following the anchor down and tying off the line. The SMB was deployed to indicate a successful attempt and Mike, Derek and I followed down 15 mins later. On the wreck, there was no discernible current, but I wasn’t taking any chance and kept myself close in to the hull.
The visibility, once again, was considerably better and allowed (certainly for me anyway) to get a good perspective of the wreck. The MV Taha, a small cargo vessel lying in about 20m of water, still has a couple of tyres left onboard although probably not recommended for use on the road having been down there about 18 months now and probably pretty cheap in the first place. It is also, of course, the source of the refurbished radar that now adorns the Dive Club entrance. There were a good selection of specimens to see, such as the resident Barracuda, some yellow-tailed damselfish, butterfly fish and a few other smaller species all of which might make good candidates for Peter and Jutta’s new Marine Tank.
Unfortunately, there was no sign of DSDC’s anchor when we reached the reported location of the mid section on the keel side, but with the strong current there was no way of knowing its exact position when it parted with the line. Also worthy of further investigation on the next Taha dive is a sounding about 400m south of the main wreck (the coordinates have been entered under the designation ‘Lump’) however, it is possible that this reading was caused by the transducer being uncovered in the sea state.
Having already released the anchor, we decided to try a second dive on Karen’s Dhow on the way back to Sharjah. By this time the tidal stream had abated and unlike the Taha we managed to hook it first time.
During this dive, Derek pointed out some type of anemone that I had never seen before. Growing from the seabed, it is probably best described as a small white translucent coral similar to a dandelion seed head on a stalk with black spots on the extremities. The entire organism retracts underneath the sand if anything gets near it, as was demonstrated to me. Perhaps someone will be able to proffer a formal classification for us on Tuesday?
A bit later on, and unbeknownst to me, Derek had spotted a Turtle and managed to get Mike’s attention - I obviously must have been too concentrated on raking around the glassware for a new fruit bowl at the time. The knives, forks and other kitchen utensils have pretty much had it, but there were a few salvageable trophies for those inclined.
After two excellent dives (surely a reward for our initial perseverance) the journey back was particularly exacting and it was evident that the day had taken its toll on all involved a bit more than usual, although this was nothing that a few beers round the Dive Table and an early night didn’t sort out.
Divers were Brendan, Qaesar, Mike, Derek and Richard with Ian as Dive Marshall & Boatman.
Some of you will be aware of the dive planned on the Energy Determination on Saturday 14th July that we’re doing with DSDC. Open to those qualified (Dive Leader or PADI equivalent). We’ll still do a dive Friday – destination to be decided on Tuesday.
The AGM will be tomorrow night – 8pm or as soon as we’ve enough people. Anyone who can’t make it but wants to raise an issue, please drop me a line.
A big thank you goes to Derek and Brendan who organised the re-test of the air bank on Saturday. It’s now good for another 5 years.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.