Monday, December 13, 2010

Day out at Freestyle Divers, Dibba - Diving with Eric and Delilah, certified Paula

My logged dives #1025-1026

Friday, December 10, 2010

Paula was making great progress in the pool, getting through her exercises with developing skill and confidence, and she wanted to get certified before traveling to Australia in two weeks time.  No one in my family wanted to drive all that way just for the day but I hopped in the car and met Paula and Eric and Delilah, whom I'd certified the weekend before, for two dives off Dibba Rock.

Dibba Rock can be one of the most hopping dive spots in the UAE.  Last week we saw lots of sharks and devil rays there.  This week it was relatively tame from our perspective, though we were told that the same animals were being spotted by other divers.  Visibility was poor, cloudy with even some algae, which is possibly why we were not able to spot the animals that could easily have been nearby, a meter beyond what we could see in the hazy water conditions.

We still enjoyed the diving.  I felt like I was diving with an experienced crew, none of my novices posed the slightest problem that would compromise the dives, which for Paula and I lasted one hour and 50 minutes, respectively.  Our first dive was in the reef on the south side between the island and the shore, just 8 meters or so, and for the second we visited the back side and got down to 50 feet, about 14 meters.

Though we didn't see the really big game on our dives today, we found interesting things to observe in nature.  On our first dive we found a turtle that tolerated our coming quite close.  He was at the southernmost part of the V of the reef.  We went back up the left side to the northwest top of the V and finned east to the rock where the porite coral and schools of reef fish were.  There's always lots to see there, hovering puffers, and jacks swimming by our shoulders away from the reef.  When we returned down the V the turtle was still there.  Paula and I stayed in his vicinity hoping other animals would pay us a visit.  Eric and Delilah had succumbed to end-of-dive need-more-weight by then, and had surfaced and drifted some ways to the east.  They learned fast and would trim for the next one.

For the second dive we started in the same spot, just west of what's left of the raspberry coral.  Paula saw a turtle swim by as we were descending.  We went back down the V again but saw little apart from the attractive schools of snappers and other reef fish as we returned to the top and over to the aquarium.  I led us north for the trip down to the sand at the back of the rock.  I looked over at Paula and saw right next to her a barracuda almost a meter long.  She was looking at me but followed my finger as I pointed.  By then it had moved away to join its mates, not so impressively close.

We went to 14 meters out over the sand but saw little of interest there.  On the way back to the rock, still over the sand, Paula spotted a huge Spanish mackerel swim between us and the boulders, the biggest fish we would see that day.

I led us up into the daylit gap indicating we had rounded the rock and we ended our dive in the shallows there.  A coronet fish swam past, unfamiliar to Paula.  I was hoping to lead us into the shallows south of Dibba Rock where sharks had been spotted earlier that day, but we were fighting the current and we surfaced at 50 min into the dive, making no headway against it.

It was nice diving again with Eric and Delilah, back for more after our intensive weekend previous, and it's always great to certify another open water diver.

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