We went for a bit of wreck clearing and cleaning on the Mullah and the Tek last Friday. The first attempt at hooking the wreck was foiled by a tangled anchor line resulting us then dropping it too far from the wreck. PJ now takes up the story:
In perfect sea conditions, having relocated the Mullah and dropped anchor a second time, Mike D and I descended the anchor line confident we were now on, or very close to the wreck. At the anchor (at 28m), visibility was poor, and we could nothing other than the sandy bottom, but which was rich with gobys and their burrows. Setting a bearing, I secured my 50m line and followed Mike. At the end of the line, it was clear we would need to make a circular search, and sure we were left of the true bearing, swam right. After a few minutes, debris on the sea bed indicated we were close, and then the hull appeared before us, flowing with yellow snappers. Swimming up to the main deck of the freighter, I secured the reel, and almost immediately Brendan and Geoff appeared beside us. Mike D and I moved towards the bow, as Geoff and Brendan dropped into the nearest hold. Visibility improved a little on the deck, and yellow-barred angel fish danced around us at the bow. Working back along the port-side to the stern, the hull, which lies perfectly upright, is entirely encrusted with live clams, and occasional flashes of white mother of pearl half oyster shells, which I explored for pearls (unsuccessfully).
The stern of the Mullah consists of a covered deck with a covered access to the sides and rear, and a central staircase at the stern to an open top-deck, with a small centrally located bridge. A large mast is collapsed across the deck, overhanging the starboard side near the bridge, home to a large friendly batfish. By now computer deco alarms were sounding, especially after our long deep approach across the seabed. We explored the upper deck before dropping to the main deck, to locate the reel, and line leading back to the anchor.
My computer being set conservatively, gave me an 11 minute deco stop at 3m. This was double Mike D's!, but being a gentleman he stuck it out with me. 11 minutes up, a 3 minute safety stop countdown kicked in. At 32 degrees C, this was as unwelcome as it was warm, but at least there were no jellyfish. Mike A and Ian went down once we were back on board, proceeding to clean the glass in the bridge windows!
Ian: For the second dive we called back at the Tek to carry on net clearing and do a bit more window cleaning. This still isn’t finished – the nets are proving a bit more stubborn than expected – but we’re getting there.
Back to Hamriyah but mooring the boat at the quayside wasn’t without its adventures: a fast approach, an insecure fixing to the bollard, two failed attempts to throw the painter ashore – severe loss of cool all round but at least no-one was watching!
Ian Hussey and guest writers.