Dive logs for Vance Stevens, P.A.D.I. Open Water SCUBA Instructor #64181
Diving with: AB Divers
Dive buddies: Dave Propst and Bill Maurice
Others at site: Ibrahim, one of the girls who did the rescue course and is now starting divemaster (I should know her name!), a couple others
Sea condition: mild swell, some spray on way out
Water temp: 26
Visibility: not too bad, 7 meters
Wetsuit combo: lycra skin and 3 mm longsleeve top
Weight: needed 8 kg
Data from dive computer:
Dive 339 – 11.9 meters for 33 min
Dive time includes 3 min. safety stop
Surface interval – 32 min
Dive 340 – 10.1 meters for 43 min
(no safety stop because Bill aborted due to indisposition, bent and still detoxing from previous night out most likely, and depth did not warrant Dave and I doing a safety stop)
U/W Navigation dive for Dave Propst and Bill Maurice
Dive went fairly well and mostly according to plan. A rocky start – I forgot my compass and had to call back to the boat guide for it. He had no idea what I was talking about. I tried to indicate that the compass was near my dive gear (he had moved it, and it was not where I’d left it). I called for a ladder and he didn’t understand. I ditched my tank in the water and left it floating, passed up my wt. Belt, and finned up the side of the boat. I found my compass where it had been moved, reentered water, replaced bcd, retrieved wt. belt, and rejoined divers to descend down buoy line.
I picked an arbitrary direction, not NSEW. Significantly, I detached my Submersible Marker Buoy from my line and hooked it to my BCD and attached my line to the buoy line. I played out line 30 meters and at end got confirmation from divers that they had counted kicks, and timed course. I pointed out depression we had wound up in. I reeled in line while divers followed, counting kicks, confirming time. I pointed out fish net about midway.
Then divers led us one by one to the depression and back. I pointed out fish net as before, indicated depression when we arrived. It seemed both were using compass (I had told them to use that as one of their indicators, since terrain around DB is non-descript). Both led us out and back to buoy perfectly.
Next task was compass out and back. First heading was north to point A. This led us along a line leading from a fish trap. At 30 meters we erected a cairn of rock found on the bottom and returned to start. Next heading was west to point C. This turned out to terminate also at a fish trap, so we didn’t have to mark it. Return was spot on at the buoy line. I did notice however that the swim against the current made some difference in the number of kicks it took to return to Base as opposed to the westerly Base to C leg.
Next task was to navigate a square. By pre-agreement, we would leave a marker at point B (hypotenuse from start) and collect it when next diver led us around. Navigation to point A along line to cairn was fine. At point B we had a pause while I deployed my SMB. In fact it was a long pause because it was the first time I had deployed that one, newly purchased, and I found after I’d filled it that it was still attached to my bcd. I had a bit of trouble detaching it. While it was pulling me up, Bill held on to my fin so I didn’t float away. In retrospect, I should have pulled it in and dumped the air. I learned that deployment of an SMB is not a straightforward manner, as I have yet to deploy one without incident. It should be trained I think, but as in caving, it has to be trained by a diver who has his own rigged the way he intends to carry it. It takes experimentation and careful forethought. In any event after some time I got it off my bcd and up my line and I dropped to where Bill and Dave were waiting, and tied it to a rock. Then we proceeded on the square pattern.
Touching at point C, the fish trap, we then returned to Base, the buoy line, and then Bill led us in his square, our last exercise for the dive. As before, he took us straight along the line to the cairn at point A. Then he led us west 30 meters to point B, but there was no SMB tied to any rock. We looked around, Bill looked at me, and as I had checked his navigation, I felt he was on target and I assumed my SMB had become detached and gone its merry way and we’d find it when we surfaced, so I told him to continue. He turned south, finned 30 meters, and came out right on the fish trap. East 30 meters and we were home at base.
By this time Dave was down to 50 bar so I signaled up and we started our ascent. At that moment a school of barracuda happened by and we decided to drift into them. We also noted a pair of ramora dancing just below us, practicing shadowing techniques on each other, and we watched them a moment. We ascended to 5 meters and hovered, letting ourselves be carried by the noticeable current. We stayed at 5 meters for 3 full minutes, drifting, and just as I was about to signal up, I looked around and saw the line to my SMB just to my west. As Bill and Dave surfaced I swam over to my line. Assuming the detached reel was drifting I tried to pull it up, but it was wedged on a rock, so I descended to free it. At the bottom I got a surprise. It was attached exactly to the rock and in the place I had left it.
Figure that one out!! I can’t.
Boat dive for Bill Maurice
For a dive so near Abu Dhabi, this was a really great dive. We had anchored about 50-100 meters north of Delta Buoy, and 15-30 degrees from our anchorage, there was a reef which Ibrahim had suggested we explore. It was full of fish. First we encountered schools of juvenile barracuda, and soon we were surrounded by them. Looking up, I saw an eagle ray glide overhead. What a moment! We felt our way north along the reef, meeting a bevy of cuttlefish along the way. Soon the reef petered out and I signaled a return south. After a few minutes, Bill signaled that he wanted up, so we accompanied him to the surface and determined that he was capable of returning to the boat on his own steam. Dave and I took a bearing on the boat and then descended and headed in that direction. Not long into the dive we found a green snake or eel, not sure which, but it had a fluted tail, which it wagged at us oblivious, as it had its head buried in the rock for whatever reason. We could have grabbed it or chopped it in two, but we weren’t crazy, so we let it be, but watched it closely. We continued on among the barracuda and were about to ascend when we saw our second snake, a black banded one with a tiny head, swimming along the bottom. I got in as close as it would allow, but by then Dave was again low on air, so we surfaced just near the boat.
One of my best Abu Dhabi dives!
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