Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fun diving just Bobbi and I in Musandam with Nomad Ocean Adventure

My logged dives #1408-1411

Friday and Saturday Jan 15-16, 2016

Bobbi and I scheduled one last cross-border dive trip for this weekend. It was time for Bobbi's visa renewal and we held off submitting her passport so we could use her still-valid visa for one last crossing. But she wanted to visit her mother in February and she would need to apply for a renewal soon afterwards. Those visa renewals can take weeks. With both Bobbi and I doing them annually, we are each without passport for a month each year; e.g. two months a year that one of us doesn't have access to one of our passports.

So we booked our usual room, called by staff the "Vance Special" at our favorite chill-out place, Nomad Ocean  Adventure. After a hectic work week, arrival at the border is still not completely without hassle, but once across life goes on hold. We check into our pleasant room. We go for a jog to the Golden Tulip and back. By the time we've showered it's time for the dinner buffet. We linger there and talk to people we see there time and again till sleep calls everyone to their rooms, and we sleep late in the morning. 

We can sleep late because the dives depart at 9:30, plenty of time for coffee and meager continental breakfast which holds us over till after our first dive an hour away by boat, when a filling continental lunch is served. We dive again and return mid-afternoon to port, and go for a jog if we feel like it, or just soak in the pool, maybe both. The cycle of dinner, small talk, early to bed, late to rise, and diving repeats next day, Saturday. But once back in port, we scurry to get back across the border, checked out of Nomad, and home 3 hours later.

This weekend we went in search of decent visibility, starting with Ras Morovi north side, and Lima north after lunch. The following day we did Ras Morovi and the hidden reef the first dive, Wonder Wall to round out the day.

I'm bLogging this diving long after the fact and don't recall much remarkable. But check the videos and see.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Diving Dibba Rock on Dusty's birthday

My logged dives #1406-1407

December 29 this year and most years for that matter was my son Dusty's birthday, and as he was in town from Doha I offered to take him diving as a birthday present. Bobbi and granddaughter Gwenny had planned to accompany us to Nomad Ocean Adventure in Dibba Musandam but as we were pulling away from the house to get on the freeway for Dubai, Lauren rang us and told us they were cancelling diving that weekend due to rough weather, but she said they'd be diving on the Dibba UAE side. So we pulled off the highway, drove home to get beverages we had to be careful about carrying across the border into Oman, booked ourselves into Alia Suites in Dibba on our mobile phones as we retraced our steps, and set out anew to spend the night in Dibba, UAE.

We all slept too late for the early morning dive but woke up in time to have breakfast and pack and move down the road to the Royal Beach Hotel for the second dive at 11:00, where Nomad Ocean Adventure opened a dive center in 2015. We find it a little odd there because the staff caters to people who are diving or snorkeling the rock for the first time so we get dive briefings telling us where we will be led, but they are cool with my saying I'll just guide myself, thanks, I know where I want to go on Dibba Rock. There are moorings on the west and east sides of the small island. On the west side there is the aquarium, shallow coral teeming with fish, but the current was running that way so for our two dives that day we put in at the deeper east mooring both dives.

When they go down that mooring Nomad leads the dives to the left to go around the back of the rock. When I'm at that mooring I go in the sand to the right to find the sting rays living there, and sometimes the turtle that lives under a rock nearby. Discussing the plan on the boat before our second dive, the dive leader mentioned their "resident" turtle and when I said I was going right to check on the resident rays, she said, "We don't have any resident rays." I said, "Yes, you do."  You can see them in fact in the video below (

This video is an 18 minute compilation from our two dives, and gives a good representation of what you can see if you know where to look at Dibba Rock. It starts with a pipe fish, which is the first thing that Dusty noticed when we descended on the first dive. We then move south over the sand flats to find the sting rays living there. We saw the shark on the second dive, amazing creatures, always more impressive when seen in real life, furtive and fleeting on video, especially when visibility is milky as it often is where the sharks are on Dibba Rock. From there we move to schools of barracuda, snappers, and jacks and other fish. I included some clown fish, cuttlefish, and batfish, before moving down over the reef into the aquarium where fish teem in the coral arches, and Dusty found a torpedo ray, perhaps the same one, on both dives.

On our last trip there, Nikki Blower and Bobbi and I found the turtle under the rock and filmed him in his lair:

We were very glad we went diving that day. Nomad have a pleasant operation there, and the beach is great for families, with unrestricted use of the pool (but then Gwenny speaks Russian and so blends in with the clientele there). We all had a great time and always look forward to diving with Chris's team, hopefully in Musandam next time.