Welcome to BSAC 406 weekly Dive Report. Please contact Ian Hussey if you would like to contribute to the weekly newsletter that is distributed to BSAC 406 members worldwide. In addition, if you would like to feature in the published Dive Report please contact Polly Buckingham.
I haven't had any free time this week to do the Newsletter format so this week's log is listed below. There is much to share with you and some celebrations in order so I wanted to get the updates on the log as soon as possible. Thanks as always to Ian for the weekly email and Allen and Paul for the Dive Logs. Trying times for all of us near and far so hope our logs, pictures and videos offers some escapism. Thank you Angela for the photos of the resident Turtle and Ray.
NEW ARRIVAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Allen's log mentions the following announcement;
We got back to the yard and after the obligatory rinsing and washing sat to ‘wet the baby’s head’. Paul’s wife Amy gave birth to a beautiful baby girl Polly on Tuesday. It was probably the first time I can remember that no one was able to make our Tuesday social evening, leaving Paul on his own. Congratulations nonetheless and we made up for it on Friday post dive.
And so to the diving:
There are two accounts. I’ll start with Paul’s on the grounds that I received his first:
Jumbo; Paul & Graham
Descending the line one wondered if the reported "Fishing Lead depth charges" would be problematic and they were. First line entanglement encountered at about 20m, quickly removed from our anchor line much to my amusement and probable annoyance of the owner... Quick gas check we proceeded down the starboard side heading towards the bow, two very graceful fan tailed rays swam across our path however the only picture taken was of my pointing into the sand in the direction they rays disappeared... The next encounter was with the most greedy and despicable creature of all, the "Homo-Speargunnus-SCUBA"... fearing being caught in crossfire we rounded the bow heading towards the stern, swimming in and around the collapsed superstructure. We collected Exhibit - A (Allen can explain this bit in his report) left behind by a purveyor of fine metals.
Proceeding towards the propeller with the intention of returning down the starboard side to the anchor we were thwarted by an increasing current and elected to u turn. We located and picked up the anchor moving it from the starboard to a sandy spot on the port side and proceeded up to 5m for our safety stop.
Mariam Express; Paul & Graham
First time on this wreck for me (Paul) and having taken note of the current and lay of the wreck from Angela and Allen we proceeded down the line going from a brilliant blue to a gloomy green sea colour with and equally step change in temperature. We were anchored in the crust with the wreck over our left shoulders. Following the directions given by Allen we found the resident Turtle. We dropped to the sand and proceeded along the crust liberating fish caught in unattended (old) fish traps. Back to the anchor Graham began his ascent whilst I freed the anchor from its crusty holding.
Upon surfacing the anchor had re-snagged so I returned down the line; the anchor had broken off a boulder size of crust and wedged itself to it. I attached a lift bag and sent the anchor up clear of the crust, wreck and the ensemble of fish traps. Coming out of the green gloom into the brilliant blue was even more impressive 2nd time around. Not to mention the welcome warmer waters. Safety stop and out.
And below, Allen’s take on the afternoon:
So with a new week comes new guidelines or restrictions here in the UAE. Lockdown casualties in Abu Dhabi restricting movement in, out or around the emirate so some divers missed out on the dives of the day.
Dive 1 saw us drop anchor at a busy Jumbo unfortunately one boat with SCUBA diving spearfishing in progress. It is still 3mm shorty weather with a sharp thermocline at 10metres. We did spot some Nudibranchs and the usual shoals of Snapper and Barracuda. The presence of the boats above were ever present on the bottom with one needing to avoid the lead shot weights bobbing frantically up and down along the wreck. Graham and Paul were down next but were also joined at that time by SCUBA diving spear-fishermen. The highlight was seeing a Ray and not being speared.
I decided to head to Mariam Express as I’ve noticed a turtle has made a gash in the hull his home. Having failed Angela’s request on dive 1, I thought this to be our best shot. Luckily this was a quieter dive site and after dropping the anchor we spotted a Sea Snake on the surface – a good omen according to Angela. Within minutes Mr. Turtle came up for a few breaths on our port side. When we dropped down to see if he was home he turned to greet us and pose for pictures (see attached). He was also accommodating enough to be in when the second pair of divers dropped in to say ‘hi’. The wreck is punching though the seabed and as a result a reef has been developing about 10 metres off the hull side in a semi-circle from bow to stern. There were lots of little hiding holes with Cabs and shoals of Snapper overhead. Angela spotted a Ray as well. The current had picked up which made the swim back across the hull a bit of a challenge.
Brian will be delighted to hear after his heartbreak of a broken hammer handle that Paul was able to recover it from Jumbo. See below.
SP 312 UPDATE
SP 312 is still up on a jack but with Graham on the case we have sourced the requisite nuts and bolts. Jokingly, and as a result of work issues, Graham made the mistake of suggesting on our WhatsApp group he would be ‘full time boat mechanic, diver and golfer’. A statement jumped on by Mr. Lugg who is currently waiting a date to do the handover.
We are actually fortunate that we can go out diving at all. DSDC have still not managed to get back in the water despite Ali Fikree’s heroic attempts to overcome Dubai bureaucracy. We wish them all the best of luck.
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See you there.
Ian Hussey and Dive Member Contributions.