After a patchy record of late, it was good to get back in the water again albeit with a few problems along the way. Thursday night was Janette and Ken’s barbecue at their place in Ras Al Khaimah and very good it was too. We all had a few “beverages”, in some cases a few more than sensible but we all made it up on Friday morning ready to go diving. Not before an excellent breakfast was served, however.
We launched from Al Hamra Marina which is just round the corner from Janette and Ken’s place and the target was the Rig Supply Vessel, 10km offshore. I can’t remember ever diving it before so this was new territory. The vessel was a deliberate sinking as a reef for the fishermen so there little prospect of lots of brass portholes but you never know.
Anchored on the wreck Mike spotted a turtle on the surface apparently coming up for air. It didn’t seem to want go back down which turned out to be because the “turtle” was actually a piece of industrial footwear floating on the surface. Better luck under water maybe! Unfortunately the viz turned out to be seriously bad – of the order of 0.5m – 1m. We groped around the wreck for 40 minutes or so but apart from five or six batfish in the bridge area there was not much to see.
At this point Ken and Carolyn were preparing for their dive. Carolyn remarked that the strong current had dropped to nothing – we were obviously on slack water. It was only when they were over the side that the reason for the sudden slack water became obvious – the anchor line had disappeared and we were no longer connected to anything. “Who tied off?” Richard sheepishly raised his hand. Richard, you should understand is former Royal Navy. “Bet you never did that with your submarine!”. Richard duly received a 10 dirham fine. It might have been a bit more if he’d lost HMS Vanguard I would think.
Janette volunteered to retrieve the lost anchor and we found the wreck again and threw the spare anchor down this time attached to a buoy. Unfortunately, without anyone noticing the buoy became fouled in the boat engines causing the anchor to drag. At the second time of asking the operation was successful and we headed back to shore.
At this point I would like you to consider the “banana theory”. According to Carolyn, it’s unlucky to have bananas on a dive boat, this theory apparently having its origins in a particularly troublesome day of diving some years ago. As an engineer I have trouble believing that the chances of a problem free day out are in any way influenced by the presence of a curved and yellow fruit. However, if there is any truth in it, I am happy to blame our problems on Sami and Marc who were seen consuming the offending edible object.
While this was going on, Joff, Nick and Val, Peter Blanchflower and a couple of other former divers now returning to the fold were doing a dive of their own up in the Musandam. According to Nick they were looking for another stone anchor using a metal detector although I might have misheard this.
Sami has completed 50 dives with the club and would like to celebrate tomorrow night by sharing a small glass of the fizzy stuff. I’m sure we can help him.
Ian Hussey and guest writers.