After last week’s non-dive it was good to get back in the water on Friday. We took the boat in reasonably calm seas out to the Jumbo and the Neptune. The Jumbo is a cargo vessel now lying on its port side in about 23m of water. It was sunk deliberately as an artificial reef for the benefit of local fishermen. It was known to exist for a long time but no-one knew the location until it turned up on a sea-bed survey, a copy of which we had acquired.
Descending the line we saw that the viz was very good – 10 to 15m – which is unusually clear. The second thing we noticed was a large cow-tailed ray that had just emerged from the sand. As we stayed stationary, the ray came towards us and swam between us before disappearing out of sight. The rest of the dive didn’t quite match that but we did come back with another spare anchor which Mike found on the bottom. We were also escorted up the line by some barracuda.
The Neptune is only a few minutes away – in fact both wrecks are served by the same cardinal buoy. It is a barge that was damaged when it collided with a rig (whilst tackling a fire) and it sank whilst under tow back to Sharjah. There used to be some nice swim-throughs towards the stern and there may still be but since our last visit (in November) a section of hull in this area has collapsed. Mike and I were running into deco at this point so we weren’t able to explore further but next time we go there we’ll be able to see what you can or can’t do now. We saw another ray at the start of the dive but this one wasn’t so friendly and promptly swam away.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.