Saturday, September 5, 2009

The SHARKS are back, fine diving returns to Dibba with logged dives 909 to 912, August 28-29, 2009 - Freestyle

Bobbi and I took Nini diving for her first dive of my course and our first dive off Dibba Rock in some time. Dibba Rock used to be our favorite dive site but then it was hit by cyclone Gonu, where a lot of the coral was churned up and deposited on the beach, and then by the red tide earlier this year, which choked a lot of the life out of the ocean there. So we didn’t know what to expect and were very pleasantly surprised!

Dive 909 - The sharks are back. We saw lots of sharks our first dive this day, running rampant on the reef. We just hung out under a school of barracuda and enjoyed their comings and goings. There were lots of turtles too, some with remora fish on their shells (what the remora were getting out of it, no telling). There were cuttlefish in many places on the reef, and big jacks passing through. Everyone coming up to the surface was going on about what a great dive it was. Someone with a huge camera was showing his pictures. I asked him how many sharks he saw. Sharks? He didn’t see any, he said (a down side to underwater photography). Nini was quite lucky to have such a great first dive on Dibba. Her air lasted 42 minutes, which was fine since we’d seen plenty, 7 meters depth.

Dive 910
- That was the noon dive. On the 3 pm dive we approached the reef from the western mooring, stopping beforehand to get Nini’s dive #2 skills out of the way. Once on the reef it was a little harder to see the animals because of the angle of the sun on the suspended matter, it seemed cloudy compared to the relative clarity of the noon dive. Still we saw a few of the same animals as before. Air was better this time. Nini and I registered 53 minutes, though Bobbi had 58 because she had waited on the bottom when Nini and I had gone to the surface at the start of the dive.

Back in shore, Nini and I worked a little on her module 4 confined water skills, but she was getting tired and flustered and we decided to continue in the morning with a fresh start.

At the Seaside we discovered a nice Pilipino restaurant right near the residence. We had to go there to order but they brought the food up and we got to bed early after a few refreshing beverages.

29 Aug 2009

We told Nini she could wake us up if she was serious about wanting to do her skills before a nine o’clock dive the next morning, and at 6:15 she was knocking on our door. By 7 we had had our coffee and by 7:30 we were kitting for confined water just offshore. Nini is persistent and always progressing in overcoming phobias in diving but there is one she continues to have trouble with, taking a mask off, swimming without it, and replacing it. It’s one that Bobbi stopped on as well. I often say that I have a lot of respect for people for whom diving is not easy who overcome their hardships, and I’m sure that Nini is one of those (and a few hundred dives later, Bobbi is diving with the best of them now).

But this day, though we even moved to the swimming pool, we could not get through that one skill. Options were to persist and skip the nine a.m. dive, or treat the 9 a.m. dive as a fun dive and worry about the hard part later. I recommended the latter. I think it’s important that diving be fun. I think hard skills will become easier once the student has more experience and is task loading less, and it’s best to associate the sport with fun and leave the hard parts for when the student is ready.

Nini liked that idea and without having to worry about stressing over skills, she became a perfect diver, comfortable in the water, with Bobbi and I the whole way.

Dive 911 - Our first dive of the day was off the western mooring, so we came quickly on the reef, but this morning didn’t see all the animals we had seen the day before. We saw the barracuda but no sharks until we were down at the part of the reef where the turtles hang out. We were slightly naughty, diving for more than an hour.

Dive 912 - The second dive we went to the eastern mooring and decided to head for the back side, but first Nini and did an CESA, which went well. Back down we finned to the north east through the boulder area and then in the shallows where we go over the reef and then descend in layers to the sand at 15 meters. Nini came down each level with no problem at all, and in the sand some distance off the reef we found a brown mottled sting raw resting, but as we descended on it, it gathered up its skirts and ruffled off from us, dancing as it went. We headed back to the wall , looking for jawfish in the sand, found none, and ascended up the wall, finding different kinds of fish than we see on the coral.

I thought we had rounded the rock and I was taking us into the aquarium area at the northwest corner of the rock. As we ascended and headed as we thought to round the rock, Nini started to rise and we ended up at the surface, which was a good thing because we saw that we were in fact still on the eastern side of the rock. We would still head shallow now, but with the rock on our right, not on our left. It was a different dive plan.

Essentially we were going back the way we had come at the start of the dive. I was having a bit of trouble locating the good reef from that direction. We were always shallow so It was easy to surface and check from time to time. Eventually I came to a point where I wasn’t sure of the direction but I heard the clacking, so I chose west, and this took us onto the raspberry coral with its turtles and sharks. Actually we didn’t see that many sharks so I kept us down for over an hour again until I saw one at the very end of the dive.

We lasted 63 minutes this time, same depth, stretching slightly Garith’s request that we keep it to 50 min 50 bar. I like it that Freestyle are not adamant about that, though Garith does specify in his briefings now that an hour and a half is too long, so we try to come up before then.

Some lovely diving this weekend, nice to see the animals back at Dibba Rock.

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