Events and Images from past weekends

October 6th - 8th 2010


Location - Haql - Lionfish 2


Events -


Benny and Andrea May completed the final two dives for their Wreck Specialty. Andrea also completed her 50th dive! Well Done guys.



The Weekend - Haql is Jinxed !!


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Haql is now officially designated JINXED !!


For Jane's last weekend in Saudi (this time) we headed out on Wednesday afternoon for Haql.


As it was nearly dark when we arrived, instead of going straight to the Coastguard, we headed to the campsite at Lionfish 2. The Coastguard did appear as we were setting up camp but didn't seem bothered that we hadn't gone straight to check in with them, (we'll try not to make a habit of this though).


We were almost set up when the Jinx appeared. A couple of weeks ago we had a little laugh at Mark's expense - ie he managed to lock his keys in his car. Well ............ believe it or not lightning does strike twice in the same spot - and even 3 times as you'll find out if you read on.


Benny had a few things left to get out of his car - but when he tried to open the door he found that it was locked ... and his keys were sitting in the centre console - DOH !! This time it was the aerial from Travis's car that came to the rescue - and about 45 minutes later the keys were rescued - Jinx.


A fairly strong breeze was blowing over the weekend, but no-one minded as it kept the temperature down to 30 degrees - very pleasant. The following morning we got our kit together and made the first of 2 trips up to the wreck for the wreck specialty course.


We entered the water - with the Coastguard standing watch for our safety - and headed towards the wreck. About 100 meters later I discovered I had water in the bottom of my camera housing - noooooooo !! Well, as you can see by the scarcity of pictures this week, the camera was fubar - doh - that's twice now. I must learn to take more care of my housings!! So a second jinx had appeared,


We carried on and completed an enjoyable dive - however, it was sad to see how much rubbish is still on the reef at the Georgios G. I really thought we had made a significant impact on our cleanup. We'll just have to try again next year.


After a 2 hour surface interval we headed back up to the wreck for the last wreck spec dive. No coastguard this time - due to the time of day our safety obviously wasn't a concern anymore. This dive involved penetrating the wreck. So we dived down into the engine room and had a good look round in there - then moved up into the forward hold, through the skeletal superstructure, to see the beams of sunlight coming in through the sides of the wreck. I still think this is an awesome sight every time I go in there.


While we were getting out of our kit, I demonstrated to Benny and Andrea how my car will automatically lock itself. I had the tailgate open with my keys on the bumper - and sure enough we heard the central locking engage - demonstration over. Or so I thought, until .... I closed the tailgate on my keys. Car lockout number 3 !! HAQL IS JINXED!! Fortunately we could reach the key through the gap under the tailgate and managed to twist the key off the keyring - phew!!


Jane, Sols and Kellie, (God I hope I spelt it right this time - my ears can't take any more bending!), spent the day, snorkelling, and Wrighty and Travis, diving, Lionfish 2 and I joined Jane for a dive on Lionfish 2 for her 2nd dive this holiday. Also, I believe Sols saw his first turtle this weekend too - cool.


Then we rounded off an eventful weekend with everyone going to bed early because we were all kn..kered lol


So - the moral to the story of the weekend - If you're going to Haql - either take 2 sets of keys or make sure you don't ever leave them in the car or you'll end up breaking in to get them back!!


Andre, Mick and their group also came to Haql this weekend. They were camped at Frogfish Reef - by the Coastguard station. From all accounts they all had a good weekend too.


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



September 30th - October 1st 2010


Location - Sharmah Palms


Events -


No training events planned for this weekend ........ and relax


The Weekend


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Jane arrived back in Saudi a few days before this weekend - so we just planned a nice relaxing time under the palms at Sharmah.


We travelled down on Thursday morning and were set up before it got too hot. Our company consisted of Patrick, Leanne and family - Wrighty - and Mark (Work and carrying the new addition had taken their toll on Lydia!! We miss you at the beach.)


Fortunately there was a cool, gentle breeze blowing, that, accompanied by the shade from the palms, made for ideal conditions - until you started to do anything that required effort that is.


We did 2 day dives and 1 night dive on the Thursday - the first dives for Patrick for some considerable time (hence the Patrick Troyer show in the picture gallery!!) and also Jane's first dive since she left Saudi in April. They both got straight back into it and enjoyed their dives.


The night dive wasn't too exciting as nothing remarkable was seen - but it was another notch on the way to the PADI Night Diving Instructor certification - not many to go now!!


Anyway - a good time was had by all ....... until


Sorry Patrick there's no getting away from it - the moral to the story for the weekend is - don't drive to Sharmah Palms in a Mercury Grand Marquis!! All was fine until we were packing up to leave. Patrick moved the car closer to his tarp to load up and managed to get it bogged into the sand 3 times!!


So, if you're thinking of coming to the soft sands of Sharmah Palms - don't come in a 3 piece suite weighing 10 tons!!



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September 22nd - 24th 2010


Location - Haql - Urchin Reef



Events -


Stating the obvious - this weekend was dedicated to the International Beach Cleanup Day. The sites we chose to clean were the ‘Georgios G’ Wreck and our campsite at Urchin Reef - Haql.




The Weekend


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Saudi Arabia chose this weekend for it's National Day - so we were all off work Wednesday through Friday. People arrived at the site at intervals during the day on Wednesday with the last arrivals late afternoon.


For some reason the Coast Guard didn't want us too close to the Wreck and Urchin Reef was the closest the first arrivals could get. Which wasn't a problem as we drive to the wreck usually in any case - also there was a chance the wreck site would be innundated with people celebrating the National Day.


Urchin Reef may be a new name to most of you and is located towards the Coast Guard station a short way in past the hills - there is a nice sandy draw coming straight up to the beach for easy access. It was christened back in August by Wrighty ... well he was the instigator anyway. Remember - those black spiney things that come out at night ... try not to put your hands on them, they tend to leave bits of themselves in you !!


Anyway - to the real business of the weekend.



Our willing volunteers for the cleanup were :


Sols (or Peter as he loves to be called) and Kellie Solomons

Pete and Mary Lewis

Mark and Lydia Taylor (yes you're supposed to drop your own surname when you get married :D )

Ian ‘Wrighty’ Wright

and lastly myself (Mark Perry - for those of you who don't know the author of these little news stories)



We started the cleanup early Thursday morning after everyone registered for the event and signed the inevitable PADI Liability Release!! The plan was to head up to the wreck - some of us managed it but in our excitement we forgot to tell everyone we were leaving. So those who were left behind did a fantastic job of totally clearing the Urchin Reef campsite of debris. Those of us at the wreck started the daunting task of removing all the fishing line and rubbish around the wreck itself.


Our second dive everyone made it to the wreck and we managed to totally clear the wreck of fishing line and made a significant impact on the debris on the reef to the starboard side of it. It was an impossible task to totally clear the reef with the numbers we had - but there was a noticeable difference by the time we had finished.

Having said this, I don't want to detract from the awesome job that we did. Everyone put in a lot of hard work in trying temperatures - the proof of this is in what was collected. The table below shows some of this.




Debris Collected
Item Description
Quantity Collected
Bags - Plastic
Bottles - Plastic
Bottles - Glass
Drinks Cans
Fishing Line
About 4 kilometers
Ship mooring line - 200kg


Friday morning we had a little photo session with the rubbish and a draw for a few small prizes. Mary Lewis won the star prize of a Project Aware slap strap - (the only person on the beach that couldn't use it !!) and several smaller prizes went to Sols, Kelly, Lydia and ... Pete? Everone deserved a prize but unfortunately there weren't enough to go round.


Then we loaded all the rubbish into a trailer and headed back to Tabuk. We eventually found a skip in a car park by Pineapple Roundabout and proceeded to fill it!! It is probably still there now but at least it isn't spoiling one of our beautiful divesites!


Again - thanks to everyone that came down and thank you all for the amazing effort you put in !!



Oh and I nearly forgot - The reason for the pic of the blue Ford Explorer?? Have a look at the jaunty angle of the aerial ... lesson for this weekend - don't leave your keys in the car then hit the central locking button whilst getting out of the car - eh MARK !! Good job Ford aerials are so stiff and fit between the door frame and the bodywork - else it was either a smashed window or a 6 hour roundtrip to Tabuk !!



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




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