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We almost had a full boat at the weekend but that had reduced to seven come Friday morning. That’s still not bad. The target was the Dara, mainly because I wanted to go there having not seen it for a long while and having read some of the recent reports.
The sea was flat calm to start with although we took longer than we should have done to reach the wreck due to the GPS giving me some strange messages. We got there in the end and anchored at the first time of asking (or so we thought). Angela, Polly and Peter were first down the line and found the line had somehow detached itself from the anchor. Fortunately, there was very little current, so after securing the line to the wreck, they found the anchor not far away and carried out some underwater repairs.
The wreck itself has changed a bit over the winter, as reported by Brian a couple of weeks ago, but not as much as I was half expecting. Still, some further exploration as clearly called for. The viz was not as good as the last visit but not all that bad and we had a nice couple of dives. The fish life is as plentiful as ever, particularly near the cathedral entrance although there were no really memorable sightings (sharks, turtles, rays) this time around. There is an anemone and clownfish at the forward end of the promenade deck, which is a common enough sight on the east coast but not so much over this side.
The video footage captures a Tube Worm showcasing it's beauty. Peter and I took some time to observe and I think I managed some 'underwater commentary'. Quite fascinating to watch hence the star feature this week. 33 degrees was recorded on my dive computer so the seas are warming up for the summer months.)
One thing I did notice was that the wreck is remarkably clear of nets compared to previous visits. We’ve had a go a net clearing in the past and have made a small difference but have generally been defeated by the scale of the project (and the tendency of fishermen to dump more nets as soon as you start to get somewhere). Well some people have clearly had a good go at it and the result is a wreck in as clean a condition as I’ve seen it for a while. Respect to those responsible.
Presumably due to regional tensions, the coastguards are very conspicuous at the moment. They came down to inspect the boat and count numbers on the way out and we had a visit from a CG vessel while we were anchored on the wreck. On the way in there was another head count and boat inspection. This is understandable in the circumstances and they were all very nice about it although they did seem a bit baffled as to why we’d want to go out in a boat and not come back with supper.
I can also report that the water temperature is a very pleasant 33° and my wetsuit has gone back into the cupboard for the summer.
Volker Motzkus writes:
And now for something completely different; I've actually managed to book a diving holiday in Gozo/Malta. From 29th September until 5th October this year. And only now do I realize that that is their high season... oh well.
I'll be staying in Xlendi on Gozo, and be diving with the fine folks of St. Andrews Dive Cove. Check them out here.... https://www.facebook.com/standrewsgozo
It would be great if anybody from the club happened to be in the area at the time... so I thought I'd put the word out. Anybody up for spontaneous Gozo/Malta?
The DSDC Musandam dhow trip of 5th – 7th September still has a couple of places left I understand. Let me know if interested.
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.