I was referred to a someone in Al Ain who wants to help his kids with their diving. A long-time diver himself, Jean-Yves has dived a lot with his son Alexandre, who certified when he was 12. Now he is 15 and Jean-Yves asked me to refresh his skills and help with securing his adult card. PADI has recently introduced a 're-activate' program which will soon replace the Scuba Review and refresher concepts, so I agreed to meet Alexandre at the pool and go through the 25 steps of confined-water scuba review with him using the re-activate protocol which will show the date of Alexandre's most recent work with a PADI instructor on his adult card replacement.
The process can include an optional dive, and this is what gave us the excuse to yesterday drive to Dibba and roll up at Blue Planet Diving at 11:30 in the morning (8 a.m. departure from Al Ain for us). BPD are quite flexible with their schedule and ideal for basing yourself on the beach and diving on short boat rides, in case you have a family along for a beach outing. That was the plan though in the end no one from our families joined us so it was just Jean-Yves and Alexandre and I.
I did three dives on Dibba Rock and the Mevels did two. Visibility is usually best earlier in the day and I was quite excited when on the first dive we found schools of colorful fish while exploring the aquarium at the 5 meter mooring line and then found barracudas schooling off the north face of the rock. I was following some large barracuda around at close quarters when I noticed my GoPro wasn't blinking in video mode. In fact it was reporting no SD card. I almost knocked my face mask loose slapping my forehead, thinking I'd left the SD card in my computer back home, but after the dive I found it was just improperly inserted. Still with no working camera I was not totally disappointed when we didn't find the 20 sharks Alla had seen in the shallows the day before, nor that I again was unable to find the rays in the sand where Slava and Emad know where to go but I don't. It was a little tedious working across the shallows to deep water near the east mooring, but we enjoyed the dive, we saw a flounder, cuttlefish, morays, lionfish, and more barracudas, and my buddies did very well on getting back in the water.
When we walked out from the first dive, Alla told us the next one was in 15 minutes and said if we were going, get ready. I said let's go, but then I was the only one with a full 5 mm wetsuit. Jean Yves was cold from 23 degree water and needed a lunch break, and his son is a growing lad easily swayed by the prospect of something to eat. So I quickly changed my tank and joined the boat and was asked to show a nice Finnish couple around. They were no trouble, all they had to do was follow me, and me to check back on them now and then, and the barracudas were still there and the vis still reasonably clear, and most of the video is from this dive.
Again back on shore I quickly switched tanks for a third dive, which the Mevel boys were now ready for. But it was 4:15 when went in down the east mooring so we descended into water that was now in the shadow of the rock with light diffused from the angle of the sun. Jean-Yves had informed me that he and Alexandre were going to practice sharing air with the secondary 2nd stage on the low pressure inflater of his BCD, but just as they were starting a turtle came up at me and I operated my GoPro with one hand while digging my reef hook out of my bcd pocket so could make some noise, which you can hear in the video. The turtle led me to some barracuda and after that it was a barracuda dive again.
I had a lot of fun on these three dives. Congrats to Alexandre on his adult re-activated card, and thanks to him and Jean-Yves for getting me off my derrière, and Alla and Slava at BPD for the great day out as usual.