Friday, April 5, 2013

Certified Anand PADI Open Water - Sting rays, a leopard shark etc.

March 29-30, 2013 
My logged dives #1184-1187

The weather and much else was perfect for diving this weekend.  Some delay crossing the border, but once resolved, I met my two students in the pool.  They seemed keen to move through the course and dinner was still on the buffet when we exited from pool module 2.  Next morning we were told the boat would be late departing, perfect for us.  We got through modules 3, 4, and 5 while Yaz and his students were completing their modules 1-3, and we were looking forward to the diving and relaxing afterwards, and sleeping late on Saturday morning.

We had an open water boat, so we chose our spots for easy diving.  The first entry was a bit back from Lima headland.  I had my students enter the water and fin back to the ladder, and I noticed some stiff current they had to swim against to do that, so with us all clinging to the ladder I had the boatman take us WAY into the nearest bay where a dhow was moored.  We started there in much calmer water.  We could see a pair of sting rays as the boat towed us to our entry, and they were still there when we eased into the bay and got down to where they were.

We completed our dive easily and motored homeward to Ras Sanut for the second one.  Amelio our dive guide had been exploring.  He said the north side of Ras Sanut was "amazing" - normally we dive the south side, which we used to call Wonder Wall.  But I agree with Amelio.  The north side was the true wonder wall, lots of stuff to see there.

Michele developed a problem early in her dive that caused her to abort, and also her course for this weekend. We conveyed her safely to the surface and Anand and I continued with some pretty nice diving in good vis. Here I saw another cow tail ray head for deep water and finned over to where he had turned and parked on the sand in 16 plus meters. Near there, I agitated some pipe fish and showed them to Andy.  We saw lion fish, moray, batfish with wrasse, a big crawfish displaying fiercely under a rock, plus lots of lovely white, orange, and blue soft corals. As we were coming up on alternate air source, as required in dive #2, a couple of remora buzzed us on ascent. Andy and I both agreed this was a really nice dive.

I went for a jog when we got back but after that there was not much to do but relax until morning, and make it down to the harbor for a 9:30 launch.  On our first dive, we went to Ras Morovi, where Amelio again chose the north side.  Anand and I managed to get our gear on quickly and were ready to go when he jumped, so we followed his group to where they were all surrounding a resting leopard shark at 18 meters in the sand, just the right depth for beginning o/w divers.  The shark tolerated us for a few minutes but eventually tired of the intrusion and launched himself to find more privacy.  Anand and I followed but didn't see him again, and finished our dive in the shallows near where Nicki and Ian and I had started our dive one recent Christmas day.

We did our last dive at Lulu Island, following the usual profile of rounding the island nearest shore and then finning eastward under water till we came to the outermost.  There wasn't much to see out there and we encountered oncoming current as we pulled our way back south.  Consequently we were first back on the boat, but at least Anand emerged as a well qualified diver.  And we'll get Michele back in the water at some point soon.

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