With our chairman Mike Dalton doing the marshalling, the intention was to dive the Neptune on Friday. We weren’t sure we would get there as the weather was unsettled and the forecast ambiguous but adopting the principle of “suck it and see” we headed out anyway. As it happened, the sea state was fine but another boat had beaten us to the wreck. Normally this would only have saved us the bother of anchoring but as we were getting ready to go over the side, they casually mentioned that they had divers below with spear guns. We swiftly decided to give that one a miss, and headed instead to the Jumbo.
This turned out to be a good move. After last week’s dive on the same wreck, the viz had improved enormously and there was only a slight current stern to bow. Having a better view it was a bit easier to judge the condition of the wreck. Part of the stern section does indeed seem to have fallen over since last year and the bow may have punched further into the sea bed but the Jumbo hasn’t gone the way of the Taha and remains a worthwhile dive.
Meanwhile the wind had got up, and with the sea state had worsening, rather than hanging around to dive Neptune or the Anchor Barge, we headed to Karen’s Dhow which is on the way home. Once there the sea had calmed a bit so, we went diving. The wreck is the small but scenic remains of a timber dhow that sunk carrying a cargo of glassware some of which usually comes back with us. It’s not an easy wreck to hook and the best way is to send the anchor over with a buoy rather than the weight of the boat on the end of the rope. The first divers down secure the anchor and the rest of the divers follow. It took a couple of tries to re-learn this lesson and even then we twice got the buoy caught on the boat engine causing the boat to drag the anchor and thus completely defeating the object of the exercise. Eventually we got it right.
As well as glassware, the dhow is often home to barracuda and we were followed for most of the dive by large group circling round looking at us with their usual beady eye. Again the viz was very good. After that it was back to the club for a glass or two.
It was good to see Lela Kurtanidze dive with the club after a long absence. Unfortunately (for us, not her) Lela is leaving the UAE to get married and we wish her all the best for the future. A couple of bottles of fizz were bought and glasses raised.
Derek and Geoff have provided an account of their weekend adventures on the east coast:
Having been unreliably informed that BSAC 406 were heading out in one boat, with a crew of what appeared to be ten peeps, it was decided by our intrepid duo that we would rather go out on the East Coast with Freestyle Divers. We appeared at Dibba before 9 am as the wind was starting to get up and the waves were looking great . . . for windsurfing.
This point was seconded by the harbour master where the Freestyle boat was moored, so our first dive cancelled. A small group of Russians braved the waves and managed to stay near the shore, as did Richard, Sharon, Stella and Abilash with their snorkelling gear. With the breaking waves kicking up the sand, needless to say there was wasn't a great deal to see, although there was one particularly feisty clown fish that bopped Richard on the nose as a clear indication that he could 'come and have a go if thought he was hard enough'. A couple of turtles were also sighted later on from the shore.
Things settled down by late morning and we headed out to Dibba Rock with Dive marshal Max (of Freestyle) together with the snorkelers. The drop point was near to 'the aquarium' which was very much living up to its reputation with an abundance of shoaling fish. The snorkelling contingent headed anticlockwise, taking advantage of the lee, to the raspberry corals with all the usual suspects. However, the most notable sighting was a squad of squid moving slowly, and somewhat eerily, in formation to deeper water. Meanwhile, Geoff and Derek proceeded around the eastern side of Dibba Rock, letting the current drift us along. We saw a variety of fauna including- lion fish, black lion fish, porcupine/puffer fish (doe-eyed beauties), batfish, yellow snappers, pipe fish, lots of clown fish.
When we merged from the safety stop we met a snorkelling ex-submariner, who looked just like Richard. Max decided to abandon any thoughts of further diving for the day, he dropped us off at shore and took the boat to the harbour. It turned out that the sea went very calm but that is luck of the draw and a few Spanish punters missed out on their intended dive, "C'est la vie" as the Spanish say . . . when they are in France.