Dec 15, 2013My logged dives #1262-1263
Seasons holidays are here and Bobbi and I stumbled home from work Thursday in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain (respectively) and slept soundly and late, then spent Friday getting our act together before going camping Friday night with good friends in the dunes near Al Khazna, Steve Elwood on guitar. When we awoke we drove home and then on to Oman Saturday and checked in at the Suwaiq Motel. Then we drove Sunday morning to Al Sawadi beach on the new coastal road to Muscat from the Millennium Hotel. At the moment, the road is only open in splotches, and most of the driving is along the coast line on roads replete with speed bumps and mobile phone numbers sprayed on beach huts that serve as shelters for fishing boats. It's very earthy and reminiscent of old Oman, but the bridges are being built marking the promise of a new super highway.
The weather was sunny and cool. Water temperatures were perfect for 5 mm wetsuits. The vis was poor, a little brown in the water, but we could still see plenty of animals. Our first dive was the north side of little Jun to the east of big Jun. This was where we saw the leopard shark last time we were here, in the far east corner. Roshan, same dive guide as we had before, gives excellent briefings. In this one he told us (among other things) if we saw snapper fish, there we should look for leopard sharks.
This prospect kept Bobbi and I down in the sand at 15 meters peering into the rubble for rays and sharks. We found several honeycomb morays, including one out in the open who impressed us with his ripple-swimming skills as he looked about for shelter (from us, whom he regarded us as neither dangerous enemies nor food). We started coming on snappers about the time Steve ran low on air, so he and Anna went to more shallow diving while Bobbi and I stayed in the sand. The snappers were running riot, till at one point, I remember orange from the swirling snappers and their color impinging on the sand, as suddenly the rocks had become sparse. I had the impression of orange tornado to heighten expectations of the leopard shark that suddenly materialized before us. Time for GoPro!
The second dive was on Sira Island, starting at the south slightly into the current, but in the aquarium area that is so beautiful in clear seas. Rounding to the north to head east with the current we saw a small ray, a crayfish, a cuttlefish, a turtle, pipefish, some yellow mouthed morays, and a nudibranch right at the end of the dive. Nice diving. Only 4 hours from Al Ain, we'll be back.