Musandam Dhow Trip 05/19
''Only in the UAE." I thought as I passed a 110km/h speed limit sign, a cop car, and a white saloon at 125km/h and the saloon started following me and flashing its lights and waving arms out of the window. However, this turned out not to be an irate motorist who had forgotten about the buffer limit on the E611, but Denis, who in true Irish style, had been half-way to his destination when he realized that he didn't know where he was going to and his GPS was on the blink. After a brief roadside conference, we decided that Denis would follow me, following my (unblinking) GPS.
Once arrived safely at Musandam border we went over, marveled at the ratio of cars to Musandam residents (about 4:1) and tried to park up, but were intercepted by Omani police. They directed us to the divers parking area and requested to see NOC insurance papers. Other drivers had their papers as they had checked out the situation and requested the needed documents from their hire companies/insurers. With some further to do......... I was back on the dive.
On the dhow it turned out that 10 divers had canceled last minute so we were only 8. We had plenty of space to spread out. Michelle gave me an instructor exam as a DM knowledge review. I went below deck and succeeded in both passing the exam and making myself mildly sea-sick. Then it was dive time.
The first dive was Lima Rock. I dived with Denis and Polly. On the surface there was so much algae and jellyfish that it actually affected buoyancy. I swan down with my arms to get out of it. Once on the bottom the vis was really good - 10m or so. We saw the usual suspects of Wrasse, Parrot Fish, Trumpets, Morays and a small Turtle at the end.
For the second dive we were at Al Wahida Rock. Same buddy team. Denis wanted to cut down his gas consumption and after chatting with Michelle, Polly and me. decided to try exhaling through his nose and swimming in the tec position.
Again the vis was dismal on the top but decent on the bottom. The overhang of the rock meant that it looked a bit dark and claustrophobic, so us 406ers were well at home. We saw the same fish as above and a Turtle again at the end of the dive as if to say "That's all folk!" Denis came up with 20bar more compared to me on the last dive so job done all round.
Denis then made his way back by speedboat relay as he was heading back to the Emirates. Some of us pushed on for the night-dive.This was a mistake! We'd chosen a shallow dive around Lima rock for the divers to make them comfortable about the depth at night. Unfortunately, the vis was dismal. Myself and Rotu lost the rock on the way down (vis zero), spent 20 minutes re-orientating ourselves before we decided to call it. Allan, Ying and Claudia called it 10 minutes later.
The next morning we started with Octopus Rock. A great dive, though you have to be careful with the current. Michelle saw a shark, Me and Polly saw a seahorse, so Polly was happy. There were also nudis and general fish.
We finished off with another dive on another rock. Again, the usual suspects. The food on this boat is exceptional. The guys put it together on a couple of hotplates even when they're fasting themselves!
So top diving weekend and highly recommended!
DAN insurance website: https://www.daneurope.org/home
The Dive Club meets every Tuesday night in the Dive Bar.
See you there!
Ian Hussey and Dive Member Contributions.