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Dive Logs for Vance Stevens
PADI open water scuba instructor #64181
Dive 401
August 10, 2001
Abu Dhabi: Ras Gurab

Diving with:Marina Divers, Wayne at the Helm
Dive buddies: Tariq Williams, Roald Van Rensburg, Ali Bushnaq
Others in dive party: Wayne and his guys, including Russell Bowen
Conditions: mild
Visibility: poor (normal), maybe 4 meters
Wetsuit combo: lycra skin
Weight: 6 kg
Diving from:Marina Divers boat

My 401st Logged Dive since 1991

Dive site: Ras Gurab
Training conducted: Tariq Williams's OW Dive#1; Roald Van Rensburg's Advanced OW Boat Dive; Ali Bushnaq's Advanced OW UW Navigation Dive

Data from dive computer:

Time down on dive computer: 9:40
Max depth: 5.4 meters
Time started up from chart: 68 min.
Dive time from computer: 65 min.
Min Temp: 32 degrees C (fatal to coral)
Nitrox 21% (normal air), no deco

PSI/Bar in: 200
PSI/Bar out: 80 bar

Pressure group out, from tables or wheel: N

Description of dive:

We had a very compatible group of dive objectives. I wanted to train divers, Tariq was doing his first o/w dive, no skills to perform, and would be happy with anything, Roald hadn't dived in a while and would benefit from simply a boat dive just to get back into it, and Ali could lead us using u/w navigation skills.

We kitted up. I noticed some indications that members of our party were rusty: unfamiliarity with buddy checks, with procedure for holding kit to body in backward roll, with descent procedure, lackadaisical approach to weighting - still obviously all confident divers with a lot of experience in the water & would be a pleasure to dive with.

The drill was for us to stretch 30 meters of line. Tariq stuck with me as I played it out to the south and Ali and Roald followed counting kicks and taking time. At the end of 30 meters over sand we marked the spot and I had them write time and kick cycles on my slate. We then double checked as we took in the line. (At the end of the return leg, Tariq wanted to surface, said his mask was killing his nose - not much choice but to carry on, and he continued gamely, constantly clearing it of water).

The plan was for Ali to take us back to the spot we had just come from and return us to the boat, but the way we chose had nothing in the way of salient features. Vis was limited and I felt there was no way to do that exercise properly, so I told him at the surface we'd just do the out and back on compass and then the square and hope for a more interesting place to do bottom reference navigation.

Back down at the anchor line, our 'home base' as I called it, I had Ali lead us 30 meters away. He chose an easterly heading, and right around 20 kick cycles or 30 meters we came off sand and into some chunks of coral. Ali had to take us back to base but I made mental note of the coral to our east. Ali returned us to base spot on.

He then took us around a 30 meter square. Starting to the south, he and Roald were over running the marker when I passed over it and called them back. So from that marker Ali took us to the east. Here we encountered again some salient coral bits at the end of our 30 meter leg. Ali took us along this to the north, where we found our 3rd base marker. Ali then took us home to the anchor line dead on.

My turn to lead, I decided to return to the spot where we'd seen the coral, 30 meters to the east. As we entered the coral field, I continued to the east slowly and deliberately for 6 min. At that point the coral seemed to be thinning, so I turned north and went for another 4 min, then turned west two minutes and turned south. 4 min later I figured we must be crossing the line we came in on, and continuing south, the direction we should have gone in from the start, I came quickly to increasing concentrations of coral and a pile of steel pipes. The pipes made a convenient marker, and just beyond them was a mushroom shaped coral which we spent some time circumnavigating and peering under. Further south from that we started on the huge coral head I've been on many times before. Going over this coral, I got shallower than 3 meters. There wasn't much to see on it apart from a lot of pretty fishies, but I examined it pretty closely (hoping for another sand shark). Beyond that was a gap of sand and another smaller area of coral which we explored.

People were getting down to 100 bar so I decided to meander back. Heading north I went alongside the huge coral head, and beyond that at the mushroom rock, I signalled to Ali, our navigation candidate to take us home. I had in mind retracing steps, but Ali cut diagonally northwest, Roald followed, and he and Ali got more distant as I made my way more directly north with Tariq sticking close by me as instructed. When I found the pipes I clacked to call the guys back to show them and hopefully have them realize where we were, but they were well on their way and there was nothing to do but take after them. Tariq and I kept to a westerly course and Tariq had a clever way of clacking hand to fist that finally got them to stop and wait for us. Still Ali kept in the lead, heading a little southwest of where I thought we should be heading so that when we crossed the line of coral and headed over sand I didn't see the marker we'd left there at the coral's edge. I figured we were a little south of where we wanted to be, but knew we could end up near the boat by heading 30 meters west. Ali, elongating his lead, didn't realize this, and angled to the southwest. Russell, on the boat, told me later they'd seen us heading straight for the boat but then veer southwest and come up far from it. What happened was that Ali and Roald took off to the southwest, well in the lead again. Tariq and I followed for 30 meters (20 kicks) and at that point when I saw they weren't stopping I started clacking. I had to follow till I got their attn, and so went another 5 or 10 meters. We surfaced there and found were were, predictably, 30-40 meters to the southwest of the boat.

Still it was a fine dive, mostly well executed, and Ali said in debriefing that he'd learned from errors made, so I felt satisfied that he'd accomplished the objectives of the dive satisfactorily well.

Surface interval:n/a
Pressure Group in: n/a

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Last updated: August 21, 2001 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0