Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fun diving around Jun Island, Damaniyats, with Extra Divers, Al Sawadi, Oman

Saturday May 17, 2014 

Our team: Just Bobbi and I on a day out south of the border

My logged dives #1287-1288

We invited others to join us but in the end it was just me and Bobbi, my favorite dive buddy.

The Daymaniyat Islands are only slightly distant to us,a mere pop over the border and just three hours driving from Al Ain UAE, so it's fun to slip down there for a day trip, except we leave the day before, after a nice lie in on Friday, catch up on things we need to do at home, and cross the border after dusk. We continue on as far as a town half an hour past Sohar which we only recognize when we reach there where there is a roadside restaurant that serves a tasty and hot! (I burned my fingers on the wok, blisters!) chicken karai. Then we drive another 45 minutes to Suwaiq and the local color motel there, where beer is just a riyal a tall can, and the rooms are quiet and pleasant at 200 dirhams. We leave there at 7 a.m. which gets us to Al Sawadi by 8 a.m. having stopped for samosas and nescafe along the way.

Lately every time we arrive at Al Sawadi we've found ourselves on a boat going to Jun Island, not that there is anything wrong with that, but there are so many places to dive in the island chain. Next time we'll be more particular about our destination and which boat we are on -- we've noticed if you stay at the resort you can sign up for dives and get on the boat you want as the weekend trips are posted in advance, so we'll negotiate beforehand next time we go.

This time the boat went to Doc's Wall first dive and to "Coral Garden" the second. Doc's Wall is the extension from Jun, on the map above, that continues from the larger Jun island to its smaller neighbor to the east, where we end by rounding the smaller island to the south. It can be nice dive. Leopard sharks like to rest beneath the schools of yellow snappers and we often see rays here. Today we didn't see anything that special, but it was still a nice dive. On the second dive we dropped on the north of big Jun and rounded the channel between the two islands. This ends up in a shallow coral garden where the boats moor for the surface interval, so we had just snorkeled the area between dives and observed a turtle several meters down on the reef.

Between the two of us, Bobbi and I made a video compilation of the two dives. We saw a number of honeycomb morays with cleaner wrasse and other fish swimming safely near their articulated jaws. Behind one, Bobbi can be seen leading me to where there is a scorpion fish, and on one of the dives we found a pair of scorpion fish in the sand. We took pictures of some of the schools of fish, the yellow snappers, Bobbi in amongst the blue fusiliers, and a picturesque school of butterfly fish. I followed a coronet fish close over the raspberry reef and Bobbi got some more distant shots, including one of a pair of coronet fish kissing. At one point, I captured a free swimming green moray between lairs. Our footage includes a couple of cuttlefish, always in retreat from divers, and the artificial reef extension to the Coral Gardens where you can see the objects sunk there covered in impressive staghorn corals.

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