At the weekend we made a trip over to the east coast to dive Martini Rock. We hadn’t been there for a while and it made a change from the Gulf. It also enabled a larger than usual number to go out – we had 16 divers in total plus Forrester who’d offered to drive the boat. It’s also a good dive – you see bigger fish in the Musandam but that’s a much longer boat ride. The viz wasn’t the greatest but there was the usual abundance of reef fishes. The water is also getting warmer. Opinions differed as to whether the wet-suits can be ditched altogether but it’s certainly heading that way and struggling into tight neoprene on a hot boat (or beach) is a pleasure that I think is highly over-rated.
For the second dive we went to the Inchcape 2 – just around the corner from Martini. The Energy Determination this is not but it makes a pleasant dive and the moray eels seem to like it as well as a great deal else.
After half an hour or so swimming around the wreck, we set off up the line only to pass the boat driver on his way down. Forrester wanted a few minutes in the water and I think he deserved it. The efficiency of the whole day was greatly helped by having a dedicated boat handler. It meant we all went down as one wave on both dives, saving at least a couple of hours. I think it’s only fair to overlook him dumping the dive marshal on his rear end with a sudden and unannounced acceleration or his novel approach to anchoring on the Inchcape (drive over the buoy and pick up the line with the engines). No harm was done in either case.
We were finished by around 3.00 pm and spent an hour or so relaxing on the beach or cooling off in the sea with a can or two of liquid refreshment. A good end to a good day.
There was time for one last boat-handling mishap – Cathy, approaching the jetty a little too fast, had to put the throttles into sharp reverse. Unfortunately Brian was leaning over to fend off and… OK – draw the veil. Suffice it to say that he won’t be charged for his third dive!
While this was going on, Mike was taking another team to the Taha:
“I was actually able to see the wreck as I threw the anchor at it but in turned out that it was in the sand about 20m away when I got down there but it was holding. Heike, Peter and Bart went first and Peter filmed it all and came back with tales of a lion fish and enormous barracudas. Uwe and I went down second and the plan was to retrieve the 25HP motor that you see in the backyard so that took us a few minutes until it was hanging off the black drum and tied to the top of the wreck. Next I had a look inside the kitchen as the plan was to remove the fridge but although it is loose it is very heavy and it is stuck in the doorway that likely leads to the passageway beyond. I tried shifting it but no chance without lifting gear. So I came out and went towards the stern.
Next opening along from the galley doorway is the galley window. Then there is a doorway. I ripped out two doors, one must have been for the bathroom that is just aft of the deck door. Going further into the hull sinking down with my head looking towards the bottom of the ship I was in a shaft with a set of ladders over my head. This gives access to the main passage way running fore and aft inside the hull. The deck-plates directly ahead are painted green. On the wall opposite going forward is a round hole and to the right of that again there is a hole in the floor which surely leads to the engine room. To the left of the shaft in the passageway must be a cupboard which is open as you can see a fire extinguisher and other gear in there.
Later comparing notes after the dive Heike penetrated this shaft on her second dive and swam to the right along the passageway and it is confirmed that this leads to the cabins. She also found her way from the rear of the bridge on the port side down into the ship. I tried this on my second dive and indeed this must be the way onto the bridge from the accommodation deck. But it is very tight for a diver with a tank and the silt was somewhat heavy. I further studied the entry on the starboard side that I found earlier. This definitely is a ventilation shaft leading to the engine room. The upper part is laddered but you can see a staircase beyond leading down inside the ship. It’s likely that this is the staircase leading down off the main passageway. We suspect that the engine room is full of oil which will be lying against the inside of the portside hull by now but it looks very murky in the hole off the main gangway.
Anyway we have definitely found two ways into the superstructure now although I would have thought that a straight forward doorway from deck level must exist, communicating with the main gangway that gives access to the cabins, not as I have discovered, a climb down a shaft from a passage that is a space outside of a bathroom with access from the deck. However this wreck is slowly giving up its secrets. A good day in all!”
Thanks to PJ’s investigation I can report that the odd looking fishes on the Taha are Aluterus monoceros or Unicorn filefish. The western Indian Ocean is apparently part of their territory, but they have only been recorded once before on the Iranian side of the Gulf - dead( it was caught by a fisherman)