Muscat Divers is not just about diving.
At Muscat Divers we know that many divers have the bad luck to be married or related to non divers. Therefore, we like to make the most of what Oman has to offer, members have arranged camping trips, cinema nights, quiz nights, and a variety of evening events.
As always we rely upon our members to make these events a success, so please come along, pitch in and, help make Muscat Divers a fun club to be a member of.
Taking the Entertainment Officers role seriously I decided it was time to entertain the club in a serious manner – so I booked a 120foot yacht for a diving/sailing trip!
We met at 8:00am to load the yacht and collect a portable compressor from a friend's boat in ODC bay. By the time four of us had got the compressor the yacht was pretty much loaded and all the best cabins had been taken! 10 divers boarded the Jinan al Bahr and we set sail for the Damaniyat Islands at 9:00am on Thursday 22nd May.
The sailing was much as you expect on a yacht…slow. We entertained ourselves by sleeping and setting up equipment and before we knew it the Damaniyats were in sight.
The first dive was Clive Rock. This large circular rock rises from the seabed at about 40m to 5m below the surface. It is rarely dived as it is at the end of the Damaniyat chain of islands and too far to go on a day trip. Finding the rock was easy as we could connect to the internet and use Google Earth and a connected GPS to plot our position. Using Google Earth we could see Clive Rock below the surface and sailed right to it. The anchor was dropped to the side and 10 divers kitted up. The crew suggested we exit the yacht with a giant stride from the bow so with a rolling yacht below me I made my way towards the front. One fin was on, my mask was in my hand and the boat rolled again. In spectacular fashion I fell overboard, backwards and head first! Fortunately no damage was done and with a little air put in my BC I floated back to the surface and asked for my other fin. Everyone else exited the boat from the side from then on! The dive was stunning. Clear, warm water, fish everywhere and coral as far as the eye could see.
After an easy 58 minutes we surfaced to be collected by the yachts tender. What a way to start a trip.
After a suitable rest and lunch we waited for the sun to set and being anchored off a quiet island we did a night dive. A little swim over sand towards the shallows brought us to acres of hard coral. We swam along with all sorts of fish being caught in our torch light. We spotted a few large barracuda that quickly disappeared when illuminated. There were trunk fish mating, squid swimming and crabs hiding. Tube worms were sitting up in the water as if looking for something and every shell seemed to have a hermit crab in residence. All too soon our time was up and we headed back to the boat for dinner and drinks knowing that a good day had been had.
Friday came and we moved to a small island for our first dive. Dropping into 15m we moved towards the reef and found a couple of thornback rays. Further along we came across a small swimming turtle that gently followed us for a minute before heading off into the blue.
Draped over the coral we found an old fishing net with fish and a crab caught. Scissors and knifes came out and the crab and puffer fish were soon released. The net was rolled up and secured under a large rock out of way. A little further on the was more net with a pregnant lobster trapped. More cutting and snipping and a lobster was returned to its mate to have lots of babies.
The rest of the reef was stunning. Soft and hard coral were everywhere and in between hundreds of reef fish swam. Strange nudibranchs were found that were over 6 inches long and colourful fish were everywhere.
After breakfast we headed to our last dive site, the Aquarium. This is a well known dive site and well named for the amount of fish that can be found there. Leaving the yacht we dropped onto the top of the reef and over the edge. Following the wall east we saw lots of soft corals and three huge Hamour.
Coming to the end of the wall we came up a gully and back west. The visibility on the top of the reef was well over 20m. It may have been more but the fish got in the way!
We found a large turtle swimming by and lots of boulder coral.
All too soon the dive was over and we headed back to our ship and so to the marina.
However, we will be back……