After a couple of weeks of washout conditions, it was good to get back in the water last weekend, even if Dive Marshall, PJ, had to cry off with a heavy cold. That still left a team of six on the boat. The first target was the Jumbo which we found easily enough but which resisted our attempts to get hooked on. After three failed attempts, a buoy was put in the water so that Mike and Martin could follow the line down and fix the anchor on the wreck.
After the bad weather, I wasn’t expecting that much but the viz turned out to be very reasonable. There were large shoals of snappers, some batfish at the stern end near the prop and a large shoal of barracuda. While we sat on top of the wreck they circled round us for a good 5-10 minutes getting ever closer until eventually we left them to it. The wreck has a number of unthreatening swim-throughs which are good fun to do and the fish life is usually plentiful, as was the case on Friday.
Arriving at the Neptune after a short journey, we found another boat at the site with divers just entering the water. We put our anchor down what appeared to be some distance away. It turned out to have gone a bit closer to one of them than was strictly sensible. Apologies to him – a lesson to be learnt I think.
The Neptune turned out to be another good dive with reasonably good viz and plenty of fish. There were no barracuda this time but there was a lot else. The water temperature is slowly sinking and it won’t be long before the wet-suits have to come out again. It was very noticeably chilly when climbing out of the water back into the boat.
Back at the club, we briefly met Janette and Ken. Janette was off to read the lesson at her church for which she’d prepared with a few glasses of decompression fluid. As the Good Book tells us: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake” – 1 Timothy 5:23. We spent the next couple of hours getting religious.
Meanwhile, Geoff and Brian Lugg had deserted the path of righteousness. Geoff describes a day out with DSDC:
DSDC were a man light to run a boat out to Wreck X on Friday, so Geoff volunteered to go across to the dark side and spend the day as a guest diver on the Sanaf with Brian (Lugg), Danny (Couzens) and dive leader Chris (Head). A 06.30 meet at DSDC required an early dart from Sharjah but with calm seas and neap tides the Sanaf managed to depart Jumeirah Fishermans’ Harbour #1 at 08.00 and was on site by 09.00.
Brian and Chris entered the water first and spent a good part of their dive re-buoying the buoy that Brian had installed last year. Danny and Geoff then entered the water and spent almost an hour exploring the bridge and engine room of the vessel. Sitting on its’ port side in ~37m of water this can be dived on air but to maximize bottom time each diver was on nitrox with a 50% stage to reduce decompression times (with the exception of Chris who went full ‘run silent, run deep’ on his rebreather).
The second round of dives followed a similar pattern with ~35 minutes bottom time giving ample opportunity to explore the workings and admire the remaining artifacts of the vessel before a 30 minute ascent to allow sufficient time for decompression. After cleaning down the Sanaf and a light refreshment back at DSDC, Geoff headed back to base camp at Wanderers where a ‘deserter fine’ was promptly levied and paid, which added to the general joviality of the 406 post-dive wind-down (or should that be wind-up?!).
Ian Hussey and guest writers.