Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fun Diving Musandam with Nomad Ocean Adventure

My logged dives #1503-1506

We were supposed to teach a dive course this weekend but the students didn't manage their elearning in time (they were in the Seychelles, where there is poor connectivity, as I remember well) so Bobbi and I decided to go over to Nomad Musandam and see how Chris has been fixing up his dive center, and reacquaint ourselves with the animals living near there.

We didn't see our very best fish friends in 4 dives there this weekend, but the first dive was the best. Here we sped over glassy seas on Friday morning, only 8 of us on the boat, to the destination of our choice, which we selected as Octopus Rock. We were the only boat on the site, and Bobbi and I were first in the water. Current was minimal and as it was just the two of us we headed out the rock ridges to the east hoping to find a seahorse in the whip coral there. 

We had only been in the water 5 minutes when we came on something unusual, an eagle ray grazing in the sand as we were coming in from above him. So he didn't see us as we passed overhead and I descended with my camera pointing and got a flash of LED, no more, and the second time I did that realized the camera had defaulted to single shot mode and I hadn't had a chance to put it on video. Eagle rays don't cut much slack. He would have made an excellent video as he was stationary a few seconds before realizing we were there, but once he became aware of us he flexed muscle and was off in a bolt. Eagle rays are the cheetahs of the ocean. I managed to get just three stills, the last one a blur.

The rest of the dive was better recorded. We didn't find any seahorses at 30 meters depth and climbed back up between the crests to the near tentacles of Octopus Rock which we circled counter clockwise. Crossing the north flat and coming to the ridges to the west of the rock I went a direction I don't normally go. Normally I go north to the end of the ridge and turn around it to head south up the other side, then find a low point and cross to the east across a deep channel I have to do on compass to get back to Octopus Rock because the rock isn't visible from the far side there. This time I headed south on the inside of the wall, found a pretty, narrow crevice lined with blue and yellow soft coral, crossed to the inside, and emerged from the inside where we normally pop back over the top and then head east to the south end of the rock. Now I know I can make a pretty dive by going back north along the inside of that wall and cross to the east to Octopus Rock at a much narrower point.

Octopus Rock was beautiful today ... lion fish, schools of red-tooth blue triggerfish, different kinds of moray eels, tiny nudibranchs, batfish at their blue wrasse cleaning stations, and closer to the rock, as we corkscrewed around it, surfacing at a pace designed to burn off nitrogen and riding with the ebb and flow of current, mesmerizing schools of jacks and snappers in a never-ending flow of fish biomass.

The remaining three dives this weekend were not as good as the one at Octopus Rock, so what videos I took on these dives I combined into one ten minute compilation (below). 

From Octopus rock we went that day to Lima Rock South where we struggled against current to round the western point, but made it through the current, and were picked up over there.

The next day, Saturday Nov 5 we started at Ras Morovi, where Bobbi and I were asked to escort an un-buddied diver who turned out to be a beginner we needed to care for, so we didn't get to dive the site the way we would have if it was just the two of us. Still, it was the better dive that day, and in the videos we see an underwater arch swarming with blue triggerfish, a crayfish cave encrusted in blue and yellow coral, the missing rock piece which we reached but we turned back due to current, and a scorpion fish in the sand at Ras Morovi. 

We finished our weekend diving at Lima Rock North and encountered current at the east point that caused Bobbi to turn the dive there. Our videos in two dives on Lima Rock that day and the day before include nudibranchs, crayfish, eels, lion fish, and pretty swim-throughs on the north side.

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