Again, we had boats out Friday and Saturday of last weekend. Thanks to Allen (Friday) and Paul (Saturday) for their accounts below.
Friday’s seas were looking lumpy from early in the week and unfortunately it did not settle with time. We still hoped that things were not quite as advertised and planned for Jumbo but really figured it would be more like Vic Star for 2.
We had a full manifest of 8 divers for Friday’s trip. After the obligatory paperwork for our 3 newest divers Lucas, Ywona and Mike we loaded up SP 125 and hit the road in hope. It didn’t bode well when I made extremely tough work of pulling into the petrol station. No one would have thought I’d done it a hundred times before. After ample petrol, food and embarrassment we made it to Al Khan with no further incident.
Alas the forecasters were right and the seas were up. Not enough to call the dive but alter it to plan B it did. We made it to Vic Star in good time thanks to Paul. After convincing Lucas that a long 3mm wetsuit would really not be needed on the west coast he, Ivona, Cara and I were fist down the line. The sea state as it was and with Lucas losing his integrated weight made the entry a little trickier than usual. Eventually down we went only to find the viz on the watery-pea-soup end of the visibility scale. Nevertheless, it was quite a nice dive and even retrieved the freediving weight pocket.
The Vic Star is a nice wreck for new wreck dives. It sits upright, looks like a wreck and provides some nice easy swim through's in the wheelhouse. The top of which often has an abundance of light and life which it did on these dives. The Prop provides for some darker deeper diving at 24 metres.
The seas had picked up a little more while we all had our dives and made the boat ride back a tad more uncomfortable. Cara relinquished the reins stating she didn’t like driving in those conditions to which the response was ‘no one does dear’. We made it back surfing the occasional wave with less spray and splashes than in previous weeks.
Once back at the club I again decided to make tough work of putting SP 125 to bed but got there in the end. With only being out to Vic Star we were back a little earlier than usual. Unfortunately, there was a birthday party in full swing in the Dive Bar which displaced us to the compressor room for a few mins. In all honesty we were quite happy there as it was the coolest place in Wanderers with 2 AC units.
We eventually headed to the Sports bar for some food, fluids and conversation while others prepared for Saturdays diving by filling tanks. All in all, a good days diving despite the conditions. It was great to have new divers on board. They can’t have been too turned off as there were serious discussions about signing up to 406. We hope to see you on board again soon.
Saturday - A Fine day to Dive...
The only thing that could not be described as fine was the weather, or so we thought.
Our day started off just fine, tanks topped up, mixes verified and boat loaded all in time for the 06.00 departure. A quick head count revealed we were one diver short and being in fine spirits we decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the late diver.
Very shortly after departing the club an incognito street sign (disguised as a bush), threw itself at the starboard side of the trailer causing the mud guard to rub on the wheels bringing SP125 to a lurching halt. (the Kenny Rogers song "You picked a fine time to leave me Loose-Wheel echoed in my mind"). Luckily for us we had a fine mechanic driving and were soon underway again to Al Khan.
With Capt Angela at the helm, the ropes off and engine at full revs we departed Al Khan and very quickly determined both Poseidon & Neptune had conspired against us; and so it was to be or rather not to be, the "planned" trip to the Zainab was deferred for another day. The wreck isn't going to sail off into the sunset and the 5 remaining divers were fine with the idea of deferment.
Finally we arrived at the wreck of choice, a seldom dived
Dhow due to visibility issues, Dhow 12 on the Garmin, sits in 20m. First wave divers, Angela, Alex and Saman in fine spirits kitted up and rolled back. First wave reported back that viz was "Dehli Belly" with a little current but lots to see. Brian and I, the 2nd wave rolled back and quickly confirmed the conditions were as described; the viz was like being on a night dive inside a wreck and your torches fail. Not great.
We swam around the dhow remains and cargo spillage, sifting topside finding nothing but construction tools that had seen finer times. After a pointless or rather futile exercise in trying to fined (deliberate) the anchor we blobbed up and were quickly retrieved by 125.
Vic Star - We were in the area so why not. We tied off behind another dive boat, first wave rolling back in instalment's, clambered around the unknown boat to the Anchor line descending to the wreck. During the dive the other boat left which meant our 3 in water divers came up on DSMB and were easily retrieved. 2nd wave now with our own anchor firmly hooked in, rolled back and descended. Better viz than the Friday dive with slightly less tidal surge meant a broader scope for exploration. Things were going just fine, engine room, accommodation then rudder room. In Brian's words "First I saw a hand then two hands appear, so I swam further into the wreck... realizing Paul was not behind me I returned to the hatch to see his fins sticking down... How did that happen... a 180 in the hatch... then finally he (Paul) squeezed thru... I wish I had a camera."
A fine end to a fine days diving and with a few choice words and opinions being aired SP125 was safely nestled into her cradle and extracted from Al Khan, divers and kit safely stowed the return road journey passed without incident until the incognito street sign that almost ruined our day earlier in the day, had morphed itself into a kerbstone hidden by a traffic light, this time attacking the port side of SP125 trailer resulting in a 2" shift & a list to port.
The remaining journey to the club was uneventful though I respectfully request the club elders give some serious consideration to widening the gate before someone does so with a boat.
Eat, sleep, dive repeat...
Brian has contributed the following:
Boat Officer thought of the day: “I wish people would stop breaking thin…” crash bang boom.
Exclamation of the day: “Who planted a street sign in the bushes?”
And more importantly, how did I miss that with the car? 😊
The virtual club night will be moving to a monthly schedule with the next one due on Sunday at 5pm UAE time (2pm UK). If you want to participate, contact Robin.
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.