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Dive Logs for Vance Stevens
PADI open water scuba instructor #64181
Dives 461-462
November 21, 2002
The Stack and Lima Rock WHALE SHARK

Diving with: Jerry Morris and friends
Dive buddies: Jerry Morris
Others in dive party: Elsa and Susan, Pierre and Calvin
Conditions: pleasant and calm
Visibility: 7- 8 meters or so
Wetsuit: my ScubaPro .5 mil skin with a 5 mil Typhoon top
Weight:10 kg-ish
Diving from:Boat from Ali's fleet, Mahmoud at the helm

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Motoring along in one of Ali's boats, we were heading toward Habalayn and Sheesa when a bit past Lima Rock, the engine alarm sounded, and that was as far as we were going. We were near the Stack so we went there instead for our first dive, and did our second on the south side of Lima rock, puttering to each location on one engine.

I touched two sea creatures on this day. The first was a dolphin. Mahmoud noticed them at play somewhere in the vicinity of Lima and pulled his boat at low speed into the midst of the pod. Soon the dolphins were chasing the boat and I moved forward and lay down on the bowsprit. The dolphins were staying just ahead of the bow and matching their speed with ours. It's hard to describe their movement but at least half a dozen cavorted for some time just below the bow and when they broke the surface I was able to get a hand on a fin here and touch a cool glistening dolphin body there. I think they saw me though and started avoiding coming out of the water. Still we had great views of them in the clear calm water as they played with the boat.

The second sea creature I managed to get my hands on was a huge whale shark, but that was toward the end of our second dive.

Back home I couldn't resist sending this message out to all the ADSAC divers:

Just to let everyone know, the vis has deteriorated a bit on Lima Rock since last week, but at least the sea conditions on the east coast are still relatively calm compared to Abu Dhabi.

There are a lot of non-stinging jelly fish in the water over there, appearing like little white blobs in the distance. During a dive Thursday, same side of the island we dived last week, my buddy and I were suprised to see that the little white blobs appeared to be moving in unison. On closer scrutiny, this turned out to be the back of a whale shark apparently wondering what the little dark blobs were (little compared to him at any rate). So he came in for a closer look and found my buddy and I sort of floundering agog at the edge of the reef. Only slightly put off by our grabbing at him (surprisingly silky, these whale sharks), he came around for at least three passes, and slapped my buddy with his tail as he finally pissed off for us having the cheek to grab him yet again.

Rude bastard, he didn't say when he'd be back. Anyway, thought you'd like to know in case he calls again.


And he DID call again! See his picture from our dive Friday June 13, 2003.

My 461st Logged Dive since 1991

Dive site: The Stack
Training conducted: none

Data from dive computer:

Interval on computer from previous dive: nil, first dive of day

Time down on dive computer: 10:19
Max depth: 31.2 meters
Time started up from chart: 61 min showing on computer at time of ascent
Dive time from computer: 64 min
Min Temp: 25 degrees centigrade
Nitrox 21% (normal air), some deco

PSI/Bar in: 200 in main tank, 200 in pony
PSI/Bar out: 20 bar on main tank, over 30 in pony

Description of dive:

Still playing with my pony tank, I decided on something completely different. Dispensing with the BCD idea entirely, I lashed it instead on the back of my main tank. The rig was simple. I rigged the valves together with the tank strap I found wouldn't go around both tanks, and lashed the bottom with hemp. There was a bit of bungie on the spg and I know now that next time I rig that like cow's tails in caving, a short one to hold the octopus and a long one for the main redundant reg. The idea is to store the redundant devices where I can predict where they'll be and find them. and this worked very well on this dive. Only thing when I was breathing from the pony primary 2nd stage, the hose was a little short for the distance from the valve mounted at the back of my tank. So next time maybe I breath off the octo from that one.

My plan had been to head along the south wall of the stack and then go southeast and find the ridges really far down where sharks can sometimes be found, but all six of us bunched up at the start of the dive and lingered on the wall. Jerry found a small free-swimming ramora there, and there were some large baraccuda milling about. Progress was slowed with my buddy Jerry hanging back to take pictures, and Susan hungrily eying the lobsters she found in a small cave (she left them alone). The first 15 min of the dive was spent in a leisurely wander to depth at the east end of the rock at which point deco was starting to threaten and it didn't seem like a good idea to keep going to the deep ridges. So we rounded the rock and headed back up the other side. I saw some interesting stuff deeper down to the east and another patch of dark at our depth to the north, and I wandered over to that one. Jerry followed and we found some interesting grasses teeming with schooling fish. I'd gone into deco and was heading back southwest to the stack when Jerry requested air, so by prearrangement I gave him the long octo from my main tank and took the short hose from the pony mounted behind. I was 5 min into deco when we regained the stack, but neither of us were too concerned, as we seemed to have plenty of air between us. We saw a turtle in this area, and when Jerry stopped to take pics of something on the seabed, he was buzzed by a couple of jacks or triveli, large ones. We kept meandering up the rock till we reached the top at 5 meters, where there was an attractive moray. We hung out there while the deco ticked away, and when I got back to 99 min dive time Jerry still wanted to hang out. Not sure what his deco was like. We played handball with the butterball jellies and stroked their slimy tentacles while Jerry took pictures. Eventually we surfaced after a nice long dive.

Pressure group out, from tables or wheel: n/a

Surface interval: 1 hour 19 minutes

My 462nd Logged Dive since 1991

Dive site: Lima Rock, south side
Training conducted: none

PSI/Bar in: 200 in main tank, no pony
PSI/Bar out: 20 in main tank

Data from dive computer:

Surface interval: xx
Pressure group at start of repetitive dive: n/a

Time down on dive computer: 12:44
Max depth: 27.2 meters
Time started up from chart: 50 minutes
Stop at 5 meters: We spent 5 min at 8 meters
Dive time from computer: 51 min
Min Temp: 24 degrees centigrade
Nitrox 21% (normal air), no deco

Description of dive:

This was one of those wow dives. South side of Lima, same place I was with Dave Propst last week. Vis was not as good as the week before, but still decent. Early in the dive I saw a large and aged turtle (tried clacking my tank but not enough sound against the fishnet to attract Jerry). Jerry was lagging enough while taking pictures that I, always curious about what was over the next ledge, was in the lead by default. Jerry had pointed out while breathing off my Sherwoods last dive that they were pulling kind of hard, and I was noticing that I never could seem to get enough air, and wondering if this was making me breathe more, because I was always sucking in as much as I could and still wanting more, and the effort of breathing was possibly increasing my consumption. At any rate, I was down to 100 bar 20 min into the dive and from then I worked to gain altitude, but kept checking back to see what Jerry was up to frequently as a good buddy should. At about 15 m I found him gesticulating toward the open sea and finned back to see what he was excited about. He told me later he had seen these white spots and thought he was looking at a swarm of jellyfish except that these spots were all moving together. Then I saw it too, a whale shark swimming right along side us, at least 6 or 7 meters long. The huge fish came right up to us. I was surprised to discover it appeared to have plates stacked along its body, and I ran my hand along them. I was also surprised at how soft it was. My touch caused the whale shark to move off, and about that time I went into deco and being down to around 50 bar I figured I'd better gain more altitude, but these rational reflections were challenged by the return of the whale shark. This time Jerry touched him and he squirmed in such a way that his giant flat head and broad mouth were headed for me just a meter or two away before he straightened up and glided by, giving Jerry a slap with his tail (accidentally we figured). On another pass he came around us and overhead so he would have been visible from the surface. This was the point in our profile where I touched 5 meters chasing after him. Also about this time I felt the cold tug of a rushing current signalling that we had reached the end of the island and it was our hold-on and hang-out point. Jerry had suggested we breathe our last at that spot. Looking down we saw a turtle in the sand 2 meters below, and he stayed put while we admired the show of baraccuda and schools of fish with long dorsal and ventral fins directly opposite like sunfish but not triggers. When I was down to 30 I took Jerry's octopus and we stayed a few minutes more. Susan came along diving alone as usual and I was wondering what she had done with Elsa but Jerry was wondering what I was doing with all the air I was throwing back and signalled up.

Here's Jerry's take from his side of the facemask:

"there are 10,000 stories in the naked city..... this is only one of them ... <snip> <snip>

on one engine we motored on down to lima where we planned to do the second dive after a short debate on the merits of finding a new site. lima it was. decided on the s side and everyone agreed to drift with the current toward whichever end it took us and the boat would pick us up. i could not decide on taking the camera until i looked and it only had 4 pics left on the roll so it would stay aboard. i told everyone that since the camera was left behind we would see wonderful things, and we did. vance (my buddy) was quick to point out two yellow mouth morays i had been trying to get pics of at the stack and loads of bugs. oh well there will be other opportunities.

as we drifted toward the east along the big green wall we saw lots of fish again. big bat fish, big arabian angel fish, all the typical cool stuff and more. at one point i looked out to sea and saw what i thought was a big school of white dots swimming by. i looked, i looked again, that school of dots had a very funny shape..... kind of like a huge sharkkkkkkkkkk a whale of a shark to be exact.... vance!, vance!!, screaming, waving arms, whale shark!!!, whale shark!!!!!! he finally saw it and we both swam towards it. this was the biggest thing i have ever been with in the water. it was huge!!! and this was fantastic! he only swam past but we were both close enough to touch him. i estimated his length at 200+ meters but vance, whose estimate far closer resembles reality was 20ft so he was not t.

either he was appreciative of my screaming and gesticulation or just curious he circled past going the other way and then again passed right by us. this time i could not resist and had to take hold of his great dorsal fin (i know, shame on me). then with a flick of his tail we were flying through the water fast enough i had to let go. and as his tail fin passed he said goodbye by pushing me off to the side like a fly. i went tumbling end over end but could not stop laughing for minutes.

all in all 4 of the six divers in the water saw the big guy and it was an experience that we will each remember for a long time to come.....

Pressure group out, from tables or wheel: n/a

This is a nice spot. Jerry dived this site in late Dec 2002 and sent in this report: the last dive was lima and as most of the divers were experienced we made the drift along the east wall and were rewarded with a great show. a huge eagle ray passed daniel, heather and i to start off with followed by several passes of a 1.5m manta. i tried a pic but he was too far away and there was too much junk in the water. no whale shark this time but we ended the dive with a 2m sun fish checking us out. he just drifted in and said hello but it was quite a sight. this east wall dive of lima has to be one of the best dives on that coast. i always see something unusual.

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Last updated: June 20, 2003 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0