We celebrated the Eid holiday by taking a trip to Oman. The destination was Sur which is the most easterly point of the Arab world. It’s 200km south of Muscat and quite a trek. Things were not helped by the world and his wife seemingly making the same trip resulting in horrendous queues at the Hatta / Wajaja border post. Arriving at 8.30am, we got through at 2pm. Sur Beach Hotel was finally reached at around 7.30pm at which point some liquid refreshment was deemed to be in order.
The following morning we set off to dive the Wokan, a vessel about which we know little but is about 150m long, is full of cement bags and is home to a great deal of marine life. Last year’s cuttlefish appeared to have moved on elsewhere but it has now become pufferfish city among much else. We also found in the bow the biggest propeller I have ever seen underwater – about 5m diameter. The wreck was accessed via a small boat we took with us. It was great for ferrying us 1km from the beach to the dive site but was a tad unstable as we discovered when a diver did an unexpected backward roll entry causing a certain boat driver to do a less dignified entry on the other side of the boat. Practice eventually made more or less perfect.
The next day we left the boat behind and did a couple of shore dives. The first was much the better – a drop-off 150m from the beach and home to some big morays and shoals of other fish. A couple of largish cow-tailed rays and a small turtle were also spotted. The second dive was supposed to be similar but not much was found other than sandy sea-bed. The bar beckoned at this point!
On Sunday, after the now traditional Sur Plaza breakfast we set off home. The return border crossing was mercifully brief and by 6.30pm we were back at the Wanderers. The intrepid crew were Mike, Wendy, Ian, Cathy, Sergey, Derek, Park, Jim and Marion. Thanks to Mike who did most of the organising!
Brendan and Heike were involved in a longer trip to the Musandam looking for new wrecks in immense depths. More later...
Uwe also took a party out and found that the tin-opener still needs a few design improvements for use on wrecks!
On lucky Friday the 13th we ended up doing a trip to the Mariam Express but the current was strong and the viz was appalling (again). Much better viz was to be had at the Bigprop dhow. Some rays were swimming around along with barracuda and plenty of other stuff. This a small wreck but a nice one. We also checked out the prop itself – its still there.
On Saturday, four of us (Ian, Brendan, Mike and Heike) joined DSDC to go to the Saraf to check out the floatation potential of a prop that they’ve been looking at. To say that the day was a success is technically correct but does less than justice to the full story. Talk to us personally about it.
Friday the 6th: Dived the Dara and Nasteran which was good - although the viz was appalling. Enabled by the maiden voyage of Ian's new tow-hook which looks a lot stouter than the old one (thanks Uwe).