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Vance's Personal Dive Log for 1997

Vance Stevens, P.A.D.I. Open Water SCUBA Instructor #64181

Logs from 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006

These dives all logged since July 91 (not including unlogged dives since certification in 1966)

July 24, 1997

Abu Dhabi Dive 1; dives logged since July 1991 = 194

dive entity: Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club

place: Ras Al Gharab

buddy: Dave Teasdale

depth/time: 6 meters, 40 min.

Remarks: This was my first BSAC dive. It was a bit boring, but it was requested that I make the dive in order to ascertain that I would be up to deep diving next day. Talk on the boat afterwards went to shape of brain coral viewed. One coral had some anemone with clown fish. Quality of comeradie on dive and at British Club bar afterwards was much better than the dive itself.


July 25, 1997

Abu Dhabi Dives 2 & 3; dives logged since July 1991 = 196

dive entity: Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club

place: 2 wrecks: Lion City and Jasmine

buddy: Dave Teasdale / second dive, additional buddy ...


Dive 2, Lion City

depth/time: 26 meters, 30 min.

Remarks: Down a shot line which had dragged off the wreck, so we had to follow its tracks in low vis to the wreck. There, we had limited time for exploration, so saw only a part of it. I had left my torch on board so penetration was limited. There were a few grouper and jacks that I noticed, not much else of interest. Some divers saw barracuda.

3 min decompression stop at 6 meters as per BSAC guidelines

2 hour surface interval.


Dive 3, Jasmin

depth/time: 22 meters, 25 min.

Remarks: Down a shot line again to right on wreck. Dive was profiled at 18 m. max, but three of us slipped constantly during dive. Computers seemed to allow this. Descent was greeted by huge batfish. Schools of jacks streamed by. Some white coral antlers wave from barnacle cover. This was a prettier dive. I had my torch, so we went more inside. Torch not really necessary (Dave was being careful). Dave also careful about going up after 25 min (we had 30) but he had been bent before, within tables, apparently. Don;t blame him. Anyway, fun dive. Ascent up shot line.

3 min decompression stop at 6 meters as per BSAC guidelines


July 31, 1997

Abu Dhabi Dive 4 & 5; dives logged since July 1991 = 198

dive entity: Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club

place: Hannan and Old Cement Barge

buddy: Keith

depth/time: 18 meters, 32 min. and 12 meters at 25 min.

Remarks: The Hannan was a nice wreck, located about 30 miles offshore. Vis was good on the down current side, but getting on the current side, bad current and lots of "stuff" in the water, a lot of it stinging. Lots of "jellies" as Alan called them. Off the bow there were some big baraccuda schooling, and jacks swimming by, the best part of the wreck when they were present; big batfish etc, some hamour. Otherwise, we did some minor penetration, mostly swimming under overhangs, and we swam up and down the wreck 3 times, Keith reluctant to go to the far side. 1 min. decompression. We followed anchor and shot lines up and down, both dropped spot on.


Second dive on OCB was beautiful, shallow, well lit, small, with one passage. Lots of fish, and a land rover parked on the bottom nearby.



Wed, Aug 6, 1997

Abu Dhabi Dive 6 & 7; dives logged since July 1991 = 200

dive entity: Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club

place: Car Cemetery and Martini Rock, Khor Fakkan

buddy: Nigel / Keith

depth/time: 15 meters, 30 min. and 15 meters at 35 min.


I got up at 4:00 a.m. Wednesday, a holiday, and got ready for my lift (I didn't have to rent a car at least). My ride came at 5:00 and we were in Khor Fakkan at around 8:00 and at the AD BSAC "villa" at 8:30. The weather on that coast was cloudy, a relief from the sun. Seas were choppy, and so the dive site chosen was not far from the port. The two boats were made ready and towed to the port through a village reminiscent of Oman but full of trash, esp. plastic bags strewn on trees and broken bottles on the beach, more characteristic of UAE. One of the boat engines wouldn't start and after almost an hour of fiddling remained recalcitrant, so a reduced group of divers got into the remaining boat and put to sea.


We went looking for a place known as the car cemetery. It's an area where cars were dumped in the sea somehow. On the way out, Dave, who was leading the dive and who'd given me the lift up, started taking the batteries out of the GPS and fiddling with them. If the GPS wasn't working it would be difficult to pinpoint the dive site. Possibly due to that uncertainty, I was told I would be first in with Nigel, who had got me on the sailing crew the week before. This would work to the convenience of those on the boat because it was possible that we might use up half our air just looking for the site, which others could then drop in on, as Nigel agreed to pull a buoy.


Nigel and I dropped down the anchor line about 15 meters and saw nothing but sand. With me navigating, we headed south. We hadn't actually made a plan beyond "head for dark shapes in the gloom," so after a time heading south, I drew a square in the sand and Nigel nodded his understanding, and we turned west. I hadn't actually timed the initial leg, and there was a current, so after two more legs of not finding anything we surfaced not all that close to the boat.


Back on board it was decided the GPS had malfunctioned and Dave decided to try to remember the transit points on land and how to interpret them to put us on the dive site that way. He wasn't sure again, but we moved the boat and it was decided that since Nigel and I were kitted up we should go back in and use the rest of our air on the off chance we might happen on the site, in which case we could plant a buoy and the others could then dive it. This time, we planned a search pattern beforehand, a triangle due to Nigel's limited air left. Again we followed the anchor line down, but this time I was quite careful in measuring kicks and angles, and 15 min later we arrived back at the anchor line, again without finding anything. Although it was gratifying to have navigated properly, we had seen nothing but sand and the odd soft coral (no fish that we could remember). Since we hadn't found the site, the others didn't feel like diving, and we returned to port with only Nigel and I having got wet.


The second dive of the day was off a point called Martini Rock, and this turned out to be the high point of the trip. Khor Fakkan has a structure that used to be the Holiday Inn at one end of the beach and the town and port at the other. We went to the harbor to register with the police, who started filling out the form when they saw the boat appear so that all I had to do was pop up to the window and collect it and we were on our way. We rounded the point beyond the harbor along a coastline much like that at Bandar Jissa and paused at a place that could have been any number of the sites there. We dived the site at 15 meters and saw lots of interesting fish. I dived with Keith this time, who spotted some brine shrimp and a moray hiding in the rocks. We saw two camouflaged scorpion fish at different points in the dive, and a pair of flounder scurrying flat along the sea bottom. The sandy areas around the rocks were patrolled by hundreds of large blue trigger fish who menaced us as we passed. One repeatedly attacked my fins at the beginning of the dive, and often they would lunge at our masks. We tried to avoid them by staying close to the coral., but they were a nuisance. I think these are the same fish that at other times of their life cycle hide in the rocks with their blue posterior fins sticking out. The soft corals at the site were beautiful as well, with colorful juxtapositions of yellow corals and blue ones, and orange and blue speckled specimens, and yellow and black umbrellas. Of course, there were shoals of fish hovering in the area except when disturbed en masse. When we arrived at the anchor line Keith signalled up, but I suggested we stay out our time, 35 min, so we swam up a crevice and saw two huge puffer fish, and as we started the ascent a turtle appeared. Naturally we aborted the ascent, or shall we say, we stretched it to include a horizontal component as we followed the turtle over the rocks, and we watched it circle us as we headed up.


And that was it for the weekend. We went back to the "villa", an Arab home of a few rooms turned into dorm rooms arrayed around a courtyard with some date trees. The beds were bunks with plywood platforms. At least there were a/c in the bedrooms (only) and fridges. There were tables set under fans where we could eat without sweating too profusely, and a barbeque was set up. I'd brought a steak and veggies and Dave had just helped me score a case of Kilkenny (Guiness) bitter. I was shattered tired so I went early to bed and fell asleep even with others in the room and the lights on. I'd only had three beers so it wasn't what you're thinking.


Next morning, we had to get up at 6:00 to get up to Dibba and load up the dhow that was waiting with dozens of tanks and all the people and their kids. The dhow put to sea but met with increasingly high waves. The waves never reached the size of those we used to dive in off Koh Tau, to give just one example, but the leader of the dive this time decided the waves would be increasing and he therefore gave the order for the boat to return to Dibba. He considered in his thinking that there were children on board and some would likely become sick, and also he had learned by mobile phone that the remaining working boat had packed in on its way up the coast to meet us, so we would have no chase boat in the event inexperienced divers were swept away in the current.


With the club's two boats both out of commission (and its GPS) some of us decided to try to salvage something from the day by doing a shore dive at a place called Pinnacles near Sandy Beach Motel. But we arrived there right at high tide, and the waves were a little large. Worse, we could see oil in the water, and the rocks along that beach were coated with tar from the dozens of tankers waiting their turn to go into the Straights of Hormuz. We were kitted up and standing at the water's edge, and I would have gone in anyway, but the others in the group decided to send in a test snorkeler who on return advised us not to try it. So we broke down the gear unused that day.



Sept 18, 1997

Bobbi and I kitted up, buddy checked, walked with tanks down the beach, entered the water, snorkeled out, descended to 3 meters, breathed 50 bar of air, said hi to the fish, ascended, returned to shore, and dekitted. Verging on a night dive. At Khor Fakhan/Dibba, Hidden Cove.


Sept 19, 1997

Abu Dhabi Dive 8 & 9; dives logged since July 1991 = 202

dive entity: Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club

place: North of Sandy Beach

buddy: Charles first dive, Bobbi and Ian second

depth/time: first dive: 40.5 meters, multilevel on Charles’s computer, 42 min. total

second dive: 50 ft./16 meters, 35 min.

particulars: 4 kilos of weight with no wetsuit

dive leader: shared first dive, me second

Remarks: Both dives pretty with lots of fish and yellow and blue soft corals, a few morays, but nothing else of particular interest. Vis decent to cloudy. With Charles, first dive, we went straight to depth of 40 plus meters, encountered sand and not much else, and came back up the coral. We bulled into the current for half a tank and then ascended to 12 meters and drifted back, very relaxed, and ascended very near the boat. Bobbi meanwhile had had difficulties with her first dive, bcd on free inflate, and going to greater depth than planned, resulting in she and Ian being put on restrictive regimen her second dive, so I took charge and led them in as C divers, with a profile of 14 min at 26 m., 18 at 16, and over 20 min at 12. We never reached more than 16 meters, so we just swam about at that level, cutting out over sand and picking up rocks which actually jutted away from shore (so we followed them back). The rocks were pretty, with lots of caves and tunnels, interesting maze work, and challenging finding the way back over a different route than going out. But ascent and 5 m. 3 min. safety stop were done quite near the boat.


Oct, 1997

Abu Dhabi Dive 10; dives logged since July 1991 = 203

dive entity: Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club

place: Hidden Cove, Khor Fakhan

buddy: don't recall the name, Bruce maybe? an old Fiji hand, my age

depth/time: shallow, less than 10


dive leader: shared

Remarks Typical low key night dive. Saw a few cuttlefish, got to touch them. My buddy got one to ink all over. And there was one fish that would come right up to us and let us pet it. Someone gave its name, but I forget.


Oct, 1997 (day after night dive)

Abu Dhabi Dive 11; dives logged since July 1991 = 204

dive entity: Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club

place: Dibba Rock

buddy: Bobbi

depth/time: apprx 26 m / 16m / 12 m scenario


dive leader: me

Remarks: We got off the boat first thing in the morning, like 7a.m. with excellent vis and calm seas and high expectations, went off looking for rays but found none, and other than the fact that it was a very pretty dive, I don't recall that there was much of anything of great interest in the water that morning. In fact we were so unimpressed that we skipped the second dive and went back to wake up Dusty (fell asleep ourselves) and then went to snorkel the Pinnacles, the three of us. Saw baraccuda out there and turtles and schools of some sort of jack, a very pretty snorkel, probably a nice dive as well.


December 3, 1997

Abu Dhabi Dive 12 and 13, except it was in Oman; dives logged since July 1991 = 206

dive entity: Oman Dive Federation

place: BK, or Bandar Khayran

buddy: Bobbi

depth/time: the 26 m / 16m / 12 m scenario on first, 22 maybe on second

particulars: 6 kilos with my used body glove

dive leader: me

Remarks: Two dives, the first at Paul's Point an excellent reunion with Oman sea life. Nice baraccuda right at the start. Plenty of honeycomb morays, and some greys. Drift dive it was, drifted by a couple of turtles so naturally that they didn't even bother to run off, just watched us slide past, like at Sipidan. Some lovely yellow and blue soft corals, but once by that we slipped into the next bay and it wasn't so hot. The second dive was not as good as we had a couple of novices on board, fat guys from HCT who couldn't handle current so well, so we got dropped off at the mouth of one of the entrances to BK and had a pretty nondescript second dive, a few morays and such.



December 11, 1997

Abu Dhabi Dive 14 and 15; dives logged since July 1991 = 208

dive entity: Al Sharifi

place: Break water not far from Women's Beach

buddies: Veronica, Kevin and Jon Phillips

depth/time: less than 10 both dives

particulars: I wore 8 kg with Body Glove, purposely slightly overweight

dive leader/instructor: me

Remarks: PADI Open Water Dives 1 and 2 for my three students. The first was inside the breakwater and the second outside. Inside, we had a bit of a swim along the wall after the exercises, but there wasn't much to see. Same for the second, though there was more up and down with the three divers, though vis was better outside. Waves were higher two. Al was very careful about that, though he recalled Veronica and I at the end of dive 2 and aborted her tour.


December .. 1997

Abu Dhabi Dive 16; dives logged since July 1991 = 209

dive entity: ADSAC (BSAC at the Club)

place: Bateen Box, off break water not far from Women's Beach, near last dive spot

buddies: son Glenn and John the Sportsdiver from ADSAC

depth/time: less than 10

particulars: I wore 6 kg with Body Glove, purposely slightly overweight

dive leader: me

Remarks: the usual breakwater dive, dolphins off the starboard bow but not much in the water. Pretty cool in the wet and gloomy. Down and fin for the box then out the point. Saw a big fish scoot by just out of vis when I first went in, maybe a large baraccuda or a small shark. Other than that some hamour (grouper) and the usual reef stuff. Marked the place where we hit the wall with a plastic garbage bottle and swam a little past that, then took a bearing back to the boat and came up right on it. We were one of two boats that day.

These dives all logged since July 91 (not including unlogged dives since certification in 1966)
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