Saturday, April 23, 2016

PADI Advance Open Water course for Laura Youngson and Molly Carter at Nomad Dibba-Fujairah, and Musandam

My logged dives #1435-1439

Friday-Sat, April 22-23, 2016

Divers certified #227-228

Bobbi and I drove over to Dibba after work Thursday and met up with Doug Cook and his wife Laura Youngson, and our mutual friend Molly Carter, for a PADI advanced dive course. We started with paperwork, dinner, and aperitifs at Alia Suites and moved to Nomad Fujairah in the morning for four dives that day. The first was a checkout dive on Dibba Rock in the morning, followed by a PADI Advanced Deep dive on the Inchcape 1, 30 meters off Al Aqaa beach south from the dive center, followed by a PADI Advanced U/W Navigation dive on the artificial reef left as a legacy dive site by Andy Moore, owner after his dad of Freestyle Divers whose shuttered shop still graces the shore on the premises of Royal Beach Resort, where Nomad have set up shop. And finally we did an interesting night dive on Dibba Rock, braving the cold wind that came up after dusk.

This video compilation shows the first dive on Dibba Rock, not a particularly interesting  one as Dibba Rock dives go, but we saw a scorpion fish, a cuttlefish,a pride of lion fish, and  schools of fish such as snappers and fusiliers on the rock itself. 

The second  part of the video shows our dive on Andy's artificial reef. The last exercise in the UW Navigation exercise is to swim a square. I did it like this. 

We started at the boat you see in the video and all swam east 30 meters where I left a small plastic water bottle there filled with sand. The students were measuring fin kicks 30 meters on that leg there and back to the boat. Next the students took us on a west heading 30 meters where we dropped a second marker and then led us back to the boat (out 30 meters and return to the same spot). We then split into buddy teams. Molly and I navigated west to the 2nd marker while Doug and Laura went east to the first one. We then took the heading that had us meet in the middle of the course. The next instruction was for each team to do the third leg of their respective square and retrieve the markers we had left there. The final leg would be a return to the boat. The video shows Laura and Molly showing the markers they had collected, proof that each team had completed the square.

That was our third dive of the day. Back to the first one, the checkout dive on Dibba Rock, we had limited our dive time to 45 min at 14 meters max depth, leaving us with a nitrogen debt on tables that worked out to give us only 14 min on our second dive of the day, the deep dive at 30 meters, after an almost 2 hour surface interval. Since we wanted to have 2 hours, we took our time getting ready for that dive. 

On the dive itself, Molly had ear problems and took her time getting down, consuming almost half that 14 minutes on the descent, and the other half was spent doing cognitive, depth and color puzzles at the bottom. We all had computers and were several minutes away from deco, so we decided to do a tour of the wreck after all. We ended up spending 20 min there, all divers safely starting their ascent just a minute or two before deco alarms sounded. This was a good lesson in the significant difference between diving tables and computers.

Here's the video we made on the 30 meter Inchcape Wreck, our Deep DIve required for the PADI Advanced Open Water course. We saw a couple of large honeycomb morays on the wreck (notice one svelt diver swimming right between it and my camera, apparently without seeing the moray). Doug found a nice scorpion fish and the other honeycomb was in the hold with a timid school of catfish.

After the night dive we moved over the border to Nomad Ocean Adventure on the Oman side, where dinner and comfortable beds were waiting. Next day we motored up to the Lima area to finish our dive course with boat / underwater naturalist / peak performance buoyancy dives, depending on how the students logged them.

Our first dive was on Lima Rock South. We went down as a group but bubbles pouring from Molly's tank and an air gage that quickly slipped to 150 bar caused Molly and I to abort this dive to replace her tank that had a valve leak with another on board. We recovered and got in a pleasant dive observing batfish at their cleaning stations and hulking honeycomb moray eels poking out of their lairs.

On Finger Rock, almost to Fishhead Rock on the way home from Lima, we found a massive stingray, and I found a small swim-through housing a crayfish colony. 

One dive-leader instructor on the boat complained to others about my coming too close to the ray, but you can see from my videos that I wasn't the closest diver, and also that the ray was not perturbed by the distance I carefully maintained from him.

You can also see in the video that my advanced student divers were displaying their peak performance buoyancy skills as they hovered around and above the ray.

Congratulations to Molly Carter and Laura Youngson on completion of their PADI advanced open water dive course, April 23, 2016.

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