As I said on Facebook,
Bobbi and I were drying out at the gills. It had been a month since our last dive. Fortunately some of the best diving in the region is within three hours driving of where we live in Al Ain. We have to cross the border into Oman and drive hectically down the coast from Sohar after dark down a 4-lane highway with aggressive drivers, annoying road construction, and poor lighting. But given a quick border crossing, we can get to a place to sleep in just three hours.
It's getting cool this time of year and we decided to take bedding in case we needed to sleep in the car. We've done that often in the past. It's fairly safe and quiet to just find a remote spot a short drive off the road and sleep in the back of the car. But our plan was to drive to the Suwaiq motel about 2.5 hours from our home and try and get a room there. Normally few sleep there, the action is in the night club area of the property. We like to stay there - the beer is cheap, local patrons colorful, even comical, rooms are well insulated from noise, and rooms are 20 riyals, around $60.
But then Bobbi noticed that for members of the Millennium club (she always joins these clubs at hotels where we stay, airlines we fly) there was a dive package for room, dinner, breakfast, and a day of diving that cost just $100 more than the diving would normally cost us (45 riyals each for one day, two dives). That was almost the cost of the rack price of the sumptuous buffet dinner provided at the luxury hotel, 14 riyals per person. So for an extra $40 over what we were planning to pay for just a room in Suwaiq and the diving that was the impetus of the trip, we could sleep in comfort at the hotel adjacent to the Sea Oman dive center, and eat like kings and queens on the lanai overlooking the boat harbor.
Our first dive was on Doc's Wall Nov 10, 2017, far west Daymaniyats: Antonia pointed out a lobster in a crack in the wall, so I had to photograph it. Then I pulled her fin because she passed right over a torpedo ray. Next we were mesmerized by a fishball ballet. We saw a nudibranch, several honeycomb morays, a scorpion fish that's hard to spot, banners and snappers, a passing sea snake, a yellowmouth moray, and a lion fish hiding out with a shy puffer, all photogenic.
The second dive was on Sira island. Almost the same drop for Doc's Wall, different direction. Here we see scorpion fish, morays, what happens when Antonia liberates a bag of bait fish tossed by someone overboard and then she points out a leopard shark. Further on, we find a small turtle, puffers, coronet fish, a sting ray, butterflies on the shallow reef top, and a trio of cautious cuttlefish right at the safety stop.
GoPro videography by Vance Stevens
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor #64181
Diving with my favorite dive buddy Bobbi Stevens