May 19-20, 2017
Nomad Ocean Adventures had me working intensively this weekend in return for free diving, meals, accommodation, and even a few Nomad special super slushies for both Bobbi and I. It was a great weekend; we enjoyed it immensely. Sad to know it's the next to last for our favorite dive center on the east coast UAE and Musandam, Oman. We've had great times and great diving here, and absolutely the best in that area since Dibba Rock got wiped by cyclones and red tide,
Knackered from a day at work that started for me with 4:30 reveille Thursday and transitioned with a 3 hour drive from Al Ain to Dibba, I went to sleep before my open water student Niaz Basheer arrived at midnight, but I met him at 6 am for briefing and pool work. He had little trouble with the pool modules, and our boat wasn't leaving until 10. As it was just the two of us, we managed to get modules 1-3 done in the pool that morning, get ourselves dockside by maybe 10:30, and we were on our way to Ras Morovi before 11:00.
My video shows feathertail rays everywhere in the sand at the start of the dive and once Niaz had completed his skills, we rounded the reef on the northbound leg. We had a heck of a current sweeping us over the saddle and around the corner, where we came upon yet another feathertail, and then clownfish, blue wrasse, and an eel as I moved into the grotto, just checking the cave there, but no rays were at home in that spot.
Next stop was Ras Lima, where we dropped in on a mottled eel in shallow water, then moved down to depth and found a blue crayfish in the deeper wall. An eel emerges nearby but doesn't eat the kind of fish that shares his hole apparently. Bobbi and I ended the dive in the company of an unconcerned turtle.
We spent the evening with Chris and his wife Manesha and their two sons at dinner in a majlis where the old furniture had miraculously re-appeared, with the Nomad special super slushy-maker whirring away on a nearby table. Chris's mom Sylviane was there, so nice to see her again, and Pawlie from Norway, one of the staff, and Léa Morin, an intern from France, who would be my dive student the next day. She had completed all but her last dive and I was to be granted the pleasure of completing her course with her, and also with Julia Resnicek, with whom I had spent till almost 11 pm in the pool. I had just trained Niaz earlier that day, and met Julia, who was transitioning from the SSI system to PADI, and Chris had let me take her on as well, starting from about 6 in the evening, so by the time I sat down to dinner in the Majlis, I was working on autopilot, and ready for some slushies.
Léa had already completed her pool work for her course. For her it was only the last dive to do. Julia would be doing dives #3 and #4 with me to certify as a PADI open water diver on Saturday, May 20. Our dive sites were Octopus Rock, normally an advanced dive site, but today fortunately devoid of current, and Ras Morovi, where the current was present but not like the day before. You can see how it went in the video below.
Our first videos are from Ras Morovi, on Julia's final 4th dive for PADI o/w certification. Chris and Tareq are seen looking for small stuff just at the edge of our normal dive sites, which we're exploring on open water compass exercises with the two lady o/w candidates, Léa and Julia. We are diving with Mike, Julia's buddy, and Bobbi, mine. Our compass work turns up sting rays at the start of the dive, and rounding the corner past the saddle we stumble on yet another one. This is just short of the Grotto, where we come across a puffer, but checking the cave, no rays in there again today.
Next in the video is the start of our dive on Octopus Rock, which we actually did as the first dive of the day, Léa 's 4th and final o/w dive for certification, and Julia's 3rd. It's not long before we come across a number of moray eels, including a large honeycomb one. Trigger fish are everywhere on this dive as usual, and tiny blue wrasse have set up their cleaning stations. First customers are a pair of angel fish. We move into a school of yellow striped fusiliers, and follow trigger fish and angel fish and parrots who lead us eventually to a batfish clearning station, but I pan out to the schools of jacks so as not to miss them, then back to the batfish getting the backscratch. Fusiliers burst back on the scene. The trigger fish are ever present. We move toward a school of snappers and find a pair of blue crayfish hiding in the rocks. More fusiliers blast by.
Now we find another batfish enjoying a complete makeover and descend on him from above as fusiliers partially block our view. At our safety stop we find an eel hiding in the rocks and jacks passing overhead, and trigger fish schooling in the distance. We head toward the jacks as we count down our final three minutes of the dive, fusiliers bursting in from the left. Jacks and fusiliers end our dive, quite beautiful there on Octopus rock here at just 5 meters.
These video clips were taken while certifying PADI divers, diving with Nomad Ocean Adventures on May 19-20, 2017, accompanied by favorite dive buddy Bobbi Stevens
GoPro videography by Vance Stevens
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor #64181