This week we managed to get 2 boats out. This was due to more divers than the mandatory 5 people per boat restriction and because Graham put a shiny new tow hitch on the back of his FJ Cruiser. One of the reasons for having a good compliment of divers was because we welcomed 2 DSDC divers on board this weekend in the form of Rod and Gavin.
Neither had dived Dara before and so that was the plan. Simples. After some general boat towing instructions we found out that Gavin was a seasoned pro. That made it easy to figure out who was travelling with who. I think his FJ has a mind of its own, instead of following me as was planned it decided to turn the other way exiting the yard.
Meeting on ‘the next road up’ we formed our own little convoy and headed for Al Hamriya port. After making Paul run up and down the coast guards jetty because we forgot to give him the boat registration cards we then compounded the problem by giving him the trailer registration cards, requiring another walk up and down to an amused and apologetic coast guard. It wasn’t that hot.
We made it out to Dara in no time to find a boat already anchored in the middle of a net clearing exercise. They tie off a number of serious lifting bags and then cut their way around until it shoots for the surface. At which point the boat hares off in hot pursuit. They left with a boat full of abandoned nets.
After a short discussion with them we tied off on the permanent buoy and Rod, Gavin and guide extraordinaire Angela were over the side. There was a decent surface current running but it was not as bad on the wreck. The thermocline was not so noticeable either this week. It will soon be birthday suit weather or rash vest and shorts for the shy divers. The viz was at good 5-7 metres until you got close to the net clearing.
The wreck has opened up and even more evident now that a lot of the nets have ‘floated’ off the wreck. We all agreed the second dive was better, probably as the current had died down on the wreck and the viz improved with the departure of the net clearers.
All those new to the wreck got to see the cathedral which is still an impressive and beautiful part of the wreck to dive. There is however a huge fishing basket partly blocking one of the exits. Perhaps a job the next time we dive there again? Also on the wreck we saw numerous Nudibranchs, Monocle Bream and a Pufferfish which to the best of my recollection I’ve not seen on Dara before.
Seven happy divers returned to port and only made Paul make one trip to the coast guard to return the plastic cards. After a relatively easy process of getting the boats back on the trailers we headed for home. Graham’s FJ decided to have another opinion in that it did not want to follow me again and decided it wanted to take in the splendor of Culture Square over the more direct Wasit Square. Personally I’m not a fan of taking on Culture Square in my own car, let alone towing a trailer and boat on your maiden voyage. But the FJ will do what the FJ wants.
After performing what Graham describes as ‘the dark art’ of reversing the trailers into the yard, we washed down the boats, kit and a beverage while reminiscing about that and previous bygone days diving. To be fair a slightly bigger gate would be nice (cough* cough* Mr Chairman and Treasurer). But all joking aside, well done and thanks go to Graham for firstly sourcing the nuts and bolts to fix the trailer in the first place but also stepping up to put a tow hitch on his car and tow the boat.
Thanks also go to Paul for the blood sweat, tears and probably an expletive or two for putting said nuts and bolts on the trailer. Thanks also to Gavin for hopping in with Graham. Hopefully we will see more of him and Rod going forward.
Ian Hussey and Dive Member Contributions.