Reports from past weekends during Mar - Apr 2010

April 7th to 9th 2010


Location - 90km South of Duba


Events -


Congratulations to Wrighty & Lucy Hayes - 50 th dive completed & First dives since certification in August '09




The Weekend


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All 15 of us arrived together on Wednesday evening at 18:45 - so it was dark by the time we had set up camp but that didn't cause any problems. The Coast Guard arrived half way through but didn't mention explosives or anything else that was going to spoil our weekend's diving - makes a change from recent trips!!.


We had a relaxing evening gathered under a 'tarp' and retired to bed anticipating a good day. We awoke to a moderate wind and some fairly rough looking conditions. A decision was made to wait and see if the waves breaking on the reef would subside but after 2 hours this wasn't looking likely. We carried out a snorkeliing recce to see if it was diveable and decided to 'go for it'.


Four of us headed out over the edge of the reef which wasn't as bad as we had thought it might be. We avoided the 'hole' until we could gauge the conditions. There was a fair bit of surge under the water, which can cause some pretty dangerous currents inside the hole, so we left it well alone and headed north to the 'swimthrough' further along the reef. This didn't prove to be a problem and a good dive was had by all. Unfortunately the visibility wasn't up to it's normal standards due to the turbidity but it didn't detract from our enjoyment.


On our second and third dives of the day we were joined by several other divers and on the third we explored the 'hole' and exited through the reef. Conditions were calm inside by this time and a white tip reef shark was even spotted laying in the bottom of the 'hole'. Although most of us swam right over the top of it without even spotting it - doh!! Some of us enjoyed their first experience of body surfing over the reef on the back of the waves - much easier than finning .... as long as the water is deep enough!!


Conditions were much calmer the following morning so we descended into the 'hole' this time and out through the northern entrance. Up to the swimthrough again and then back into the 'hole' where we exited. This proved to be slightly entertaining as the tide was fairly low and waves were breaking just in front causing a bit of current across the top. But we managed without too much difficulty.


Everyone enjoyed the campsite and the weather conditions were perfect - temperature and breeze just right. The 'Sols' weekend was a bit of a 'blowout'. Not only were the conditions a little too rough for snorkelling without a wetsuit, but they literally had a nasty front tyre blowout soon after getting onto the coast road - ouch. However, there were some good points to the weekend - Wrighty clocked up 50 dives, Lucy completed her first 3 post-certification dives and Phil completed 3 Advanced Open Water dives. Well done guys.


An alternative site (Duba 55 South) was visited by Mick, Andre, Gareth and crew. From what I hear they had a good time .... after they found the site following a slightly wrong route :o). Apparently the wind and sea conditions were pretty similar to ours and, as is typical of 55 South in rough conditions, the best diving was on the outer reef.


But a good weekend was had by all - they even had a bit of a cabaret put on by the local crabs!! - one was demonstrating how to smoke with a 'dog-end' it found :o)


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April 1st and 2nd 2010


Location - 33km North of Duba


Events -





The Weekend


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Arrived on site Thursday morning at 10:00am and found Brian, Nate & Phil had just finished setting up. This made a total for the weekend of 7 of us. Several people had to drop out as they weren't back from TDY or were on standby for the return of the mighty 88 - work interfering with our social lives again !!


We hadn't finished setting up when the Coast Guard arrived to inform us that there was 'Maffi Diving' !!! After some discussion they phoned their Captain and with the aid of Jane's translation we discovered that the diving was back on as long as we made them a cup of coffee later that day. So all was good again.


Our 3 US military companions went in for a dive and weren't back before we headed in ourselves. We were watching a couple of spotted eagle rays glide past - fairly awesome in itself - but then, as they beat a very rapid retreat, we stumbled across a 2m white tip reef shark resting on the bottom at about 8m !!


It let us get close enough to get a good look - well some of us, as Lydia was clinging to a rock hoovering her remaining air supply giving frantic shark signals - then it swam off into the distance with pet remora clinging on for dear life.


Brian & Co were well jealous of our siting but in a classic case of one-upmanship they came back after their 2nd dive to report that they had seen 2 white tips and had pictures to prove it. Then to cap it all Jane was snorkelling Friday morning and spotted yet another white tip. So four shark sitings in all :o)


It was good to be back at this site - I had forgotten how pretty it is, lots of swim throughs and unders. I lost count of the times I turned a corner to find an area of pristine white sand surrounded by beautiful coral formations - great diving. It was only beaten by the guys demonstration of how not to make a Kapsa on an open fire on Thursday night ;o)


An alternative site (Sharmah 25 South) was visited by Mick, 'Happy Days', Gareth and crew - (sorry if I didn't mention you all). From what I hear they had a good time until about 4:30am. At this time the wind got up quite strongly - did some tarp damage and was too much for some (lots of dust in the air etc) and they had to leave early.


But a high point was that Pete and Kim saw their first blue spotted ray while snorkelling :o) - I also hear that Kim had to make an eye patch that fitted under a mask so that she could snorkel - that's what I call commitment !


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March 24th to 26th 2010


Location - 25km South of Sharmah


Events -


Congratulations to Gavin Phillips & Craig Wilson on completing their Rescue Diver Course




The Weekend


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We started to arrive late afternoon on Wed 24th and by Thursday evening we had 23 people on the beach. Some latecomers arrived Friday morning to make a total for the weekend of 29.


Weather was warm (30 degrees Celcius) but windy on Thursday evening through to early morning Friday. Water temperature was 25 degrees.


The Coast Guard informed us on Thursday morning that we weren't allowed to dive due to Aramco blasting underwater quite close to our campsite!! After a little persuasion they allowed us to dive while blasting was not in operation and we were told that they would inform us when this was going to happen. Obviously they didn't !!!- so when they started we had 5 divers in the water - fortunately well to the north of their operations. Gavin sensibly decided to end his dive when he heard the noise of the explosions and when Aramco saw him exiting the water they came over to tell us we couldn't dive - thanks for the warning!! They then had to suspend operations for 45 minutes whilst we waited for the last divers to exit the water. Hopefully there won't be any repercussions from this!!


Anyway - after those fun and games and watching explosions throw fish out of the water and into the air, (not so nice), it was a good weekend. Gavin and Craig finished their Rescue Courses and some good diving and snorkeling was had by all. One noteable sighting was a Dark Spotted Ray with a 2 metre 'wing' span settled on the sand in 3 metres of water close in to the beach!!


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