For the last weekend we had the return of a familiar face – Sergey Lazarev who last dived with us in 2012 but hasn’t been seen in a boat since then (not in ours anyway). Don’t leave it so long next time, Sergey! We also had our promised guests – seven divers from the Kuwait Mantas Dive Club who were over here for a few days. Our Chairman, Mike Dalton is a former Manta (and has a T-shirt to prove it) and going back further in time, Sami Kyriakos was instrumental in giving the club its name.
All these people added up to a couple of full boats – 16 divers in total – which would have made for slightly uncomfortable conditions even if the weather had been kind. As it was we were lucky to get out at all. The forecasts varied but all agreed it would be a bit lumpy. It turned out the most pessimistic forecast was also the most accurate and progress was slow and wet. We were going to the Victoria Star again because that was the Manta’s preferred destination but we wouldn’t have got much further in any case.
Compared to recent weeks, the visibility had deteriorated but the current was reasonably slight. The barracuda were still there but reduced in numbers and mainly just off the wreck. There’s still a family of batfish and some jacks in evidence but of the rays seen recently there was no sign. Never mind – we had a good time swimming around and inside the wreck and we hope the Mantas were suitably impressed as there’s nothing closely similar in Kuwait. After the first dive, the weather had picked up still further and whitecaps were beginning to appear. At this point we decided that discretion was the better part of valour so we called it a day and headed back to shore, getting another good soaking in the process.
Back at the club, the Wanderers had laid on a barbecue and with that and a few glasses of decompression fluid (not so easy in Kuwait I gather), we could relax by the dive table. The Mantas were: Stephanie, Andreas, Brian, David, James, Oliver and Marie. We hope to see them again sometime.
Ian Hussey and Dive Club writers.