Monday, July 20, 2015

Completed the PADI Open Water Course in Musandam, dives 3 & 4 for Jihaine Alibi and Roula Rbeiz

My logged dives #1375-1376
Divers certified #225-226

Bobbi and I flew in from Barcelona on a red-eye from Berlin, arriving in Abu Dhabi Thursday morning at 6 a.m. There was no one at immigration hardly and our bags came up quickly on the carousel. We grabbed one of those expensive airport limousines outside, the only option now at AUH, but only took it a few kilometers to Khalifa City Women's College, the HCT branch where we had arranged to leave our car. An hour and a half later, about a quarter after 8 a.m., we were home in Al Ain. We dropped into bed and slept until 3 pm.

We caught up on household matters that night and next morning drove the three hours over to Dibba to meet Jihaine Alibi and Roula Rbeiz with intent to finish their pool work that day at Nomad Ocean Adventure, and dive the next. All worked out well, and we were bathed before dusk and ready to enjoy an enjoyable social evening with our many friends there, especially Steven Board showing us the ebook he was creating containing his underwater still photos, remarkable. We slipped away early though and had another great sleep.

Next morning, we were on the boat in mid-summer 43 degree heat, chugging down water, and cooling off only when the boat got under way. But seas were smooth out to the dive site. We had chosen Ras Morovi as the first destination because it is so benignly shallow, yet interesting for divers of all levels. We had also agreed to set up a CESA buoy at our first lunch stop so that we could conduct our last dive at Lima Rock.

We started with skills in the sand in the back of the bay at Ras Morovi. The ladies are both superstars at hovering and got though that skill just fine. There was some anxiety over mask clearing but this too was performed to perfection by both students, and we started our dive. Buoyancy was good and under control and the visibilty was excellent. Ras Morovi begins with a lovely reef teeming with fishes and turns a corner shallow to where large crayfish can sometimes be found in the crevices of a cave there, as can be seen on the video. The video shows another diver videoing a pipefish and ignoring a blue trigger fish that appears to be guarding an egg nest, as it's quite agitated.  Next up, a school of squids practicing underwater ballet, and a moray flexing his jaws as we were about to enter our safety stop and submersible marker buoy deployment.

Bobbi had an accident climbing the ladder after the dive. She slipped and gashed her shin, but first aid was brought to bear and she was patched up well, but would have to sit out the next dive. After dealing with that we rounded the headland to the bay at Ras Morovi where lunch was served and I set about finding a fish trap in exactly 6 meters of water with a rope trailing off it to the surface, ideal for CESA, controlled emergency swimming ascent. 

When the ladies had completed their CESA we motored over to Lima Rock North for our last dive. We began ours with about half an hour of surface work that no one else on the dive boat complained about later (I guess they must have waited for us for half an hour after their dives since we were down 52 minutes once we started diving, tolerant of them not to say anything). We took our time descending to work out ear problems but reached the sand bottom finally and started exploring. Visibility was almost like a pool and I pulled out my camera to record some fish life, but it wouldn't switch on. I had just recharged it but I think what I did was switch it on afterwards to check that the SD card was there and probably forgot to turn it off. I didn't check it before diving (wish I had). I also wish I had taken my other camera, but the last time I went diving with two cameras I grabbed the wrong one as an eagle ray flew by and missed the shot because that camera was switched off, so I deliberately left the one with some remaining charge behind. Live and learn.

Anyway this dive was spent descending, finding more crayfish, and then me remembering last time we were here the sand just got deeper and deeper as we went with the reef on our right, so I reversed us to about where we had put in and started having the ladies do compass work. We finished that right as one diver hit 50 bar so we ascended slowly and came out on a turtle nestled into a rock ledge right at 5 meters, a lovely place to do a safety stop. The turtle stayed where he was the whole time. I wish my camera had been working as it was shallow, with great vis, and would have made a colorful shot, green turtle, purple coral.

Bobbi saw two turtles from the boat she said later. We were surprised on surfacing to see that the seas had increased (actually, as predicted by the UAE weather authorities) and we rode home in salt spray. Bobbi and I had been considering staying the next day for more diving but we had to get her to an emergency room to clean her wound properly. It wasn't really an emergency so we drove back to Al Ain for it (though we did stop at the Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital just off the 311 highway at the end of the truck road - it had big red emergency signs but when we followed them we found the ER was closed - I think they meant it had not yet opened, as this is a brand new hospital).  Anyway we ended up at Ain Al Khaleej Hospital around the corner from our house in Al Ain where the staff there glued  (yes, glued!) Bobbi's wound back together, after congratulating us on having properly treated it at the site of the accident.

We found out next day when Bobbi emailed Nomad to tell them everything had turned out well with her wound that the boats had put out next morning but had been forced back after just one dive due to worsening seas, so we were not that disappointed that we couldn't stay. 

Meanwhile enjoy the video, and congratulations to Jihaine and Roula, whom I hope to see again soon on an advanced course.

You can find the logs of the first two dives of Roula and Jihaine's course here:

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