Regrettably we have concluded that to continue diving in the present circumstances is no longer tenable and that therefore, diving will be suspended until further notice. The UAE is not yet enforcing a lock-down comparable to the one in the UK but are nevertheless encouraging people to stay at home unless necessary:
“In order to preserve the health and safety of the community, Sharjah Police urges the public not to socialize, avoid public places, to follow instructions, and to stay at home.”
This follows a similar statement from the federal government which sounds reasonable rather than confrontational but is backed up with a threat of fines or jail terms on “violators”. If this wasn’t enough, all UAE hyperbaric chambers have been closed for emergencies unless you can prove you don’t have the virus. This would presumably require two weeks quarantine before you could be recompressed which isn’t very useful.
Current advice from BSAC HQ is to suspend club activity.
With the situation and official advice changing daily (and not always consistent), we will keep a close eye on what’s happening but it’s presently impossible to say when we can get back in the water.
I'll keep the log active with more videos' from the archives. Committee members will have new profiles on the contacts link and updates of the marine environment in general to keep us all in touch with bubbles and o2. For now, stay safe where ever you are in the world and look forward to reconciling with my dive kit.
This then, might be the last dive report for a while:
The original plan for the weekend was a camp-out on Moon Island but this was called off in the face an unfriendly weather forecast and general uncertainty as to whether we’d be allowed out to sea at all. The second fear proved unfounded, but Saturday morning did indeed dawn wet and miserable, so the right call was made.
Instead we made a more routine trip to the Jumbo and the Mariam Express. We couldn’t complain about the sea state. It was flat calm nearly all day and we made good time out to the site. The anchor scored a hole-in-one straight into a rectangular opening that would once have held a porthole. The viz was also pretty good on the wreck, say 8-10m. There was a plume going down the line, but it cleared by the time we hit the bottom. Allen and Connie coming later saw three marble rays. Graham and I were not so lucky, but we did see some large barracuda at the stern end by the prop.
The second dive was on the Mariam Express. This time the anchor landed off the wreck but only 5m away and it took only a few seconds to haul the anchor over and secure it. Compared to the Jumbo, the viz was disappointing, but we did manage a circuit of the wreck. A turtle seems to have taken up residence in an opening on the hull side of the ship, towards the stern. Again, Allen and Connie were the lucky ones. The hole was empty when Graham and I looked in earlier.
After that it was back to the club for a few refreshments.
There was an interesting message from Rob Gill last week:
I think we all need a bit of normalness at the moment and a weekly email from BSAC 406 really does add a bit of normalness to a world that currently seems to be falling apart.
I was struck by this because Graham made a very similar comment on the boat, about normality in the face of extraordinary events. How long we can sustain this normality remains to be seen and it might not be in our hands indefinitely but if we can keep it going without threat to anyone’s health, we will.
The above paragraph was written before the turn of events described at the top of the page. The answer to the question posed was therefore: “not very long”. Just the same, I’ll try and get an email out once a week with updates. If anyone out there has something interesting they’d like to pass on, I’d be grateful for the material.
I’ve heard nothing on the Dara bell saga this week, but thanks are due to John Lewis, Gavin Halling, Alan Locker and Clive Frost for responding to the request for information.
I will be fascinated to find out what the final verdict will be.
New members to BSAC can join Sharjah Wanderers Diving Club via the website, https://www.bsac.com/membership/select-branch/ . If you enter Sharjah, the club appears. Existing BSAC members can renew by logging into MyBSAC or using this link, https://www.bsac.com/membership/rejoin-today/
Join BSAC and claim your free dive! (406 members only).
BSAC general website: https://www.bsac.com/home/
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.