Monday, May 18, 2009

Nomad Diving in Musandam, May 16, 2009

Chris was quite cooperative in trying to get us under way Saturday morning so we could do our diving and be on our way at a reasonable hour back to Abu Dhabi that evening. Due to our numbers he arranged a boat only for us: Bobbi and I, Godelieve and her two daughters Ianthe and Rossane, Khalil and Oz, and Philip deJong and he and Godelieve's other two sons joining us for snorkeling. Still, our fault entirely, it was 10:30 before we left the harbor and long after noon before we rolled overboard for our first dive in Musandam, at Ras Morovi.

Vance's logged Dive #877

There was red tide in the water but I had snorkeled to check it out and found clear water just a few meters beneath. Chris had drawn me a diagram of the area and from that I could clearly see where to begin the dive and where to end it. The boatman Mohamed was friendly and I was able to get my instructions across in Arabic, but he actually didn't know the area that well from a diver's perspective, putting us at the disadvantage of not knowing it intimately ourselves and thus being constained to the obvious places where Mohamed, a non-diver, had seen others dive.

Still the first dive on Ras Morovi was really nice. I don't recall specifically all details except it was very relaxing, zero gravity with neutral buoyancy, quite beautiful with soft red corals, schools of the typical fish, some eels, big lion fish, perfect temperatures, didn't want to leave it. But we had to after 50 minutes or so, when first diver went low on air.

We motored across the khor to Ras Lima, and stopped in the boat to have lunch, leftoevers from the previous night's meal wrapped in arabic bread (unleavened, similar to pita). We were drifting now out to sea and Mhmd kept powering up the boat and steering inland, so obviously there was a current here, or wind pushing the boat.

Vance's logged Dive #878

I went in to check conditions. There was more red tide than before but clear water a duck dive down. I didn't notice a much of a current, but when divers complained of feeling sick and wanted to enter ahead of others, I made sure they had a landmark and would stay there so they wouldn't drift all over the place. Eventually we all joined up, near the pre-determined landmark. I went diving in this spot to discover that the red tide went to 4 meters and we couldn't see our fins in it at the surface. With one of the girls experiencing ear problems staying together in limited vis was going to be a challenge. As we descended I tried staying with the slow diver and keeping track of the rest descending out of site below. Amazingly a line appeared out of nowwhere, connected to a long-lost fishing net. I put my diver on the line and went down to get the others to stay on that line. In this way we managed to keep together and all join up at the bottom, 10 or 12 meters.

Again there was not much to see on this dive. The cold thermocline had the clear water so we stayed in the chill and came up where the temperatures warmed only as far as the vis allowed. Bobbi remembers three lion fish from this dive. I remember getting through it and bringing the last of my students up on CESA (controlled emergency swimming ascent), and certifying both.

Congratulations to Ianthe and Rosanne on their accomplishments at such a young age!

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