Reports from past weekends during May - June 2010

June 10th - 11th 2010

 

Location - Haql - Frogfish Reef

 

Events -

 

Dave Towse and Pete Lewis completed their Advanced Open Water course and Wrighty did his last 2 wreck dives to complete the Wreck Diving specialty. Congratulations guys.

 

 

 

The Weekend

 

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Another good weekend was had by all at Haql. We all travelled down on the Thursday morning and most of us arrived bright and early at Frogfish Reef - a first visit to this site for most people. We set up and waited for Dave to arrive - apparently he was delayed by the local law enforcement. We had to wait, as the first dive of the day was a multi-level dive that Dave needed for his adavanced. But we didn't have to wait long and were soon in the water for a thoroughly enjoyable dive. Notable sightings were a Crocodile Fish, a Scorpion Fish and 4 Bat Fish.

 

Dave, having now completed his advanced, was presented his certificate and departed for Tabuk as he had prior engagements. After a surface interval, the rest of us drove up to the 'Georgios G' for a wreck dive where Wrighty did some practice work with a line in preparation for the wreck penetration on our last dive.

 

The weather this weekend was perfect - a cool breeze and temperatures of about 33 degrees with calm seas. The 3rd dive was to be a night dive so the wait for it to get dark wasn't too arduous. This was Pete's first night dive and the last dive for his advanced. It all went well - lots of Morays to see, a weird looking crustacean and a big lobster at the end of the dive.

 

However, I learnt a valuable lesson on this dive - 'before you kneel on the bottom - look what's under you' especially at night!! Whilst trying to get a better shot of a moray I knelt on the bottom and felt a sting on my knee. I looked down and saw a lionfish swimming off!! Fortunately we were at the end of the dive and I made a sharp exit to deal with it. The books all said lionfish stings are excruciatingly painful - although it did sting it wasn't too bad and I can only assume it was because I had a thick wetsuit on. In any case I spent the next hour kneeling in a bowl of hot water to relieve the pain. I retired to bed quite early as I had visions of being taken to Haql hospital in the night with a knee the size of a balloon, so refrained from fortified drinks just in case!

 

We woke the next morning, (yes I was still alive), to a flat calm sea. Pete was heading back to Tabuk so we did his advanced presentation and the rest of us headed up to the wreck once again for Wrighty's last dive for the Wreck Specialty. We planned to stay reasonably shallow so the deepest part of the dive was into the engine room. We then worked our way along into the forward hold and out through a hole in the port side. A one hour plus dive, described as awesome by Derek, with the sun pouring in through the holes in the sides giving opportunities for some great pictures.

 

So another good weekend drew to a close as we presented Wrighty with his Wreck Spec certificate. Also, Derek's first weekend diving the Northern Red Sea in Saudi was over. I think we managed to convince him that the diving we enjoy in this region is pretty spectacular and I'm sure this was the first weekend of many more to come for him.

 

Click here to see images from the weekend. If you want to add any of your own send them to Your Pics or info@tedc.sa.com

 

 

 

 

 

June 2nd - 4th 2010

 

Location - Haql - Lionfish 2

 

Events -

 

Dave Towse and Danbel Almiranez completed dives towards their Advanced Open Water certification. Benny and Andrea May and Ian wright completed Dive 2 of the Wreck Diver Specialty

 

 

The Weekend

 

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The last month has been a busy weekend for training dives and this weekend was no exception. Dave came down to start his Advanced Open Water course and persuaded Danbel to do some advanced dives during the weekend. I think the thought of being left alone on the beach while the rest of us went for a night dive influenced her decision somewhat - well done to her though for making only her second dive after Open Water certification a night dive!!

 

Again Travis, Benny and Andrea were down on the Wednesday evening - the May's tent survived the first night this time as it wasn't windy and they now have a new and improved version - including external reflective patches - one assumes this is so the coast guard can see it in the dark and don't run them over in their sleep??? The rest of us rolled up Thursday morning.

 

The first dive was a deep dive for the AOW course. Travis and Wrighty went out first to set up the buoy at 30 metres and the rest of us watched with rising alarm as it disappeared in the direction of Egypt - this was going to be one long surface swim!! The dive went well initially but due to the exceptional navigation skills of the instructor we couldn't find the ascent line on our return :o). However, we turned this to our advantage and used the situation to gain valuable experience of doing a 3 minute safety stop in 'The Blue' - a challenging exercise with no visual references!

 

Next we had the Nav dive for Dave to complete which, with hindsight from the previous weekend, went without a hitch. After a suitable interval, just as it was getting dark, we all went for a night dive - including Danbel. We hadn't even reached the line that the strobe was to be attached to, when we saw an octopus clinging to a reef in about 4 metres of water. He seemed to get a little agitated and as he swam off in disdain he decided to squirt a cloud of ink in our direction - my first experience of this. A good start to an enjoyable dive. On exit the Coast Guard were waiting but didn't seem concerned at all .... not sure what has come over them lately but they seem very happy to let us get on with whatever we want - long may it continue!!

 

The evening's entertainment started with a very warm wind blowing and after a while we retired to a sheltered spot where the discussion went on into the early hours - this only seems to happen when Benny is around!! Only problem during the evening was the inability to see those **** thorn bushes in the dark - note to self, use a torch next time!!.

 

The following day's dive was to be a wreck dive on the Georgios G. But as we were preparing for the dive, the Coast Guard decided to anchor one of their cutters just off the shore by our entry point. With no time to prepare a contingency plan we went for it and headed up to the wreck. There was no need to worry though as they didn't seem bothered and our dive went ahead. A first again for Danbel and Dave who described the experience as 'awesome'. After diving this wreck many times I am inclined to agree - there is always something new and interesting to see and we are lucky to have such an accessible wreck on our doorstep!

 

So another thoroughly enjoyable and successful weekend drew to a close as we departed for Tabuk and dinner at H's

 

Click here to see images from the weekend. If you want to add any of your own send them to Your Pics or info@tedc.sa.com

 

 

 

 

 

May 26th to 28th 2010

 

Location - Haql - Lionfish Cove

 

Events -

 

Congratulations to Phil Gagnon on gaining his Advanced Open Water Certification and Mark Taylor on the completion of his 50th dive.

 

 

 

The Weekend

 

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This weekend most of us managed to get down on the Wednesday evening apart from our American friends. But this suited us as far as the weekends advanced dives went. Lydia and Pete, just starting their course, needed to do a deep dive first which Phil had already done. Therefore, Travis and Wrighty this time had the pleasure of setting up the descent line and hang station.

 

The deep dive went well and Lydia actually enjoyed it despite the 3000 reservations she had for not doing it!! Pete on the other hand wasn't phased at all. The rest of the course, ie Phil, turned up while we were relaxing between dives. Then we all packed our gear into our trucks and headed up for a dive on the wreck of the Georgios G. Again all went well and another adventure dive was complete.

 

The final dive of the day was the navigation dive - everybody's favourite! Not having done a nav dive at this site before it quickly became apparent that there wasn't enough space to do the 'navigating a square' exercise in shallow water. So a square off into the blue was the only option. This would have been fine if I hadn't said in the briefing that the easiest way to do it was to kneel on the bottom at each corner and get your bearings. Unfortunately one amongst us took me literally and did their 3rd deep dive of the day - good job we weren't in 100 metres of water!! But all was well that ended well and Phil completed the last dive towards his Advanced Open Water Certification. Mark also notched up his 50th dive during the weekend! Congratulations guys.

 

The weather over the weekend was changeable to say the least! From a flat calm with very little breeze on Thursday morning it changed by nightfall to a very warm wind accompanied by a dust cloud that blotted out the mountains and our view of Egypt across the water. The wind made for a slightly unpleasant end to the day in our tents but by the morning the temperature had dropped again.

 

We finished the weekend off with a relaxing pleasure dive looking for the big Napoleon Wrasse that inhabits the area - to no avail though.

 

The drive back to Tabuk was different - it was through a dust storm all the way, couldn't even see the mountains on the side of the road!!

 

Click here to see images from the weekend. If you want to add any of your own send them to Your Pics or info@tedc.sa.com

 

 

 

 

 

May 19th to 21st 2010

 

Location - Haql - Lionfish 2

 

Events -

 

Congratulations to Gavin Latham and Danbel Almiranez on completing their Open Water Course.

 

 

 

The Weekend

 

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Benny, Andrea, Mike, Natalie and Travis arrived on the Wednesday evening but due to shift patterns the rest of us, including the students (Gavin and Danbel), didn't get down until Thursday morning, (which was fortunate as our tents are all still in one piece!!). Fortunately Travis, and Benny, (in his guise of course bitch ... oops sorry Divemaster Candidate), got the descent line set up before we arrived. So it was a quick setup and in the water for open water dive number one.

 

The conditions during the course were a little challenging as there was quite a breeze blowing, (hence the destruction of the odd tent the previous evening), and there was a fair chop on the surface of the water. But we adapted and overcame and everyone managed to complete the first two dives of the course.

 

We had a relaxing evening and managed to avoid most of the wind without further mishap. The next morning it was up early and on with the course as we had two more dives to complete that day before we could return to Tabuk. The guys managed to get all the required tasks for completion of the Open Water Course done in time. So, Well done Gavin and Danbel and congratulations on gaining certification as Open Water divers. May this prove to be as much of a life changing experience for you as it has for many of us.

 

Additional assistance was provided during the course by Andrea and Dave who manned, (am I allowed to say that or should I say personed??), the video and stills cameras.

 

Click here to see images from the weekend. If you want to add any of your own send them to Your Pics or info@tedc.sa.com

 

 

 

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