Author Archives: sheesashenanigans

About sheesashenanigans

As Musandam's premier dive and live aboard experts we pride ourselves on offering our visitors an unforgettable escape from modern life, surrounded by stunning scenery and world class diving. Join Sheesa Shenanigans as we dive behind the scenes at Sheesa Beach Dive Centre to see what it takes to ensure your diving is leading edge!

Jaddy Boy

Jad is a keen diver, a Sheesa local, a good kid and he wanted to experience what working in the Dive industry entails. We therefore invited him here for a week to show him the ropes, put him through the paces and hopefully teach him a thing or two.

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Jad stayed in the ‘saffer’ Sheesa staff house with Neil, Cecil and Shayne during his time here. We exposed him to some decent food, plenty of South African lingo and what life is like living in Dibba.

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We decided that while Jad needed to be exposed to the usual cogs in the dive centre operation, he would also benefit from learning some general life skills. This originates from the Sheesa way of training; we value thorough, rounded education over quick ‘checklist’ training.

He’d also be setting out to complete his Junior Rescue Diver certification in his time here.
We made a point to include him as one of the boys and he was expected to pull his own weight from the outset.  



Both Neil and Cecil come from a military background and believe in the wisdom of making your bed in the morning, so Jad’s morning started the same way everyday. We were then out of the house and on the way to work at 7:45am sharp. Jad was expected to have his duties sorted and himself ready by this time.



Once at the office Jad was on coffee duty, providing the team with the early morning brew before starting off with his days activities. Days consisted of dive centre operations combined with classroom time and water skill drills. He maintained a great attitude throughout the week, soaking in the lessons and contributing where he could.

On the training front Jad worked with Cecil toward the completion of his Junior Rescue Diver certification; with Neil, Kenji and Shayne trying to make realistic victims. He slogged through the classroom sessions to achieve fantastic results on his theoretical exams and bossed his way through the practical sessions to finish his certification strong. We don’t make the advanced certifications easy here at Sheesa, and Jad earned his certificate. We’re very chuffed for the youngster, and we’re proud of the way he carried himself this week.

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Well done Lad!

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Fiona the chocolates went down a treat. The staff say thank you!

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PS: If you wondered why Jad had to make his bed every morning, watch this video!

 

‘Til next time!

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It’s your life!

Today we’re talking training, skills and your safety underwater!

The northern Musandam can be a challenging area to dive and you’re likely to be faced with currents on a dive here. Drift diving can be an awesome experience but it’s important to choose the right guide, who knows the area well.

Our guides are clowns on the surface but they work in this industry because of their passion for what happens under the surface. They’re the ultimate professionals underwater and they take their responsibility seriously. Their first priority is your safety, followed by your enjoyment of the dive. They’ve been working in the Musandam for years and they’ve taken the time to get to know it like an old friend. The more knowledgeable your guide is about the conditions, currents, risks and environment; the safer and more likely you are to enjoy yourself. Choose your dive guides carefully folks, you’re quite literally making a decision that your life could depend on.

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We’re taking big strides and making changes here at Sheesa, and many of them are within our dive centre. We plan to be registered as a PADI 5-star dive centre by the end of the year and we’re working towards becoming a complete Instructor Development Centre; providing the full spectrum of training from beginners to the advanced.

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We pride ourselves on raising the bar in the realm of training, providing only the best to our students. As part of this we’ll soon be releasing a series of YouTube videos, highlighting our training methods and showcasing why Sheesa is different to the run-of-the-mill. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here to be notified when these videos are released.  

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Our dive centre staff spend their lives working with students and as a result we can’t help but notice the differences in how courses are run and training is done. It seems that many trainers in the industry are gearing their courses towards quantity, rather than quality. Courses are being set-up to ensure that people pass in the quickest, most efficient timeframe and this concerns us. Diving is a serious endeavor, and we believe it can’t be entered into lightly. On a dive you’re not always going to be faced with optimal conditions and you need to possess the skills to keep yourself safe. At Sheesa your certification won’t be the easiest option, it’ll be the most thorough one possible. By earning your certification at training time, you’ll be a safer, more confident diver at dive time. Once again your life depends on the way and place you to choose to train; is this the time to choose the quick, easy or cheap option?

 

The same can be said for your skill-set once you’re qualified. It’s vitally important to maintain your skills and avoid becoming rusty. If you’ve been out of the water for awhile, do yourself a favour and complete a refresher course before heading out for a dive. We often find divers on our dhows who are in need of some instruction due to time away from diving, which can become challenging when it’s one diver in a group.

Take the time to continually work on your skill-set, you’ll feel more comfortable going into the water and your dive buddies will thank you for it.

 

On a final note and away from training; a question that we get confronted with stacks is the process of coming through the checkpoint, and divers apprehension towards it. The diving here is so great because the Musandam has remained unspoiled and uncrowded. This is partially due to the checkpoint!

Nowhere in the world will you be presented with the opportunity to dive in or enter another country with such ease. We have dedicated staff here to process all of the paperwork for you, making your crossing a breeze. This side of the border really does offer some of the best diving in the world and the checkpoint allows it to stay that way. If you’re tired of diving the same sites in the UAE give us a shout, you’ll never look back once you’ve dived the Musandam.

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Take care All, we hope to see you soon!

Competition Time

We recently wished Cristy farewell for her annual leave and we’re already wishing she would come back! We all know how much Cristy does around here but it’s even more clear when she isn’t around, we’ve caught Neil crying a few times and we’re going to have to get him into the water soon to save his sanity! Have a safe holiday Cristy, we can’t wait for you to get back!

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This past weekend we sent a Sharing Dhow out for 2 nights with a large group on board. New staff experienced the dhow trips for the first time and we enjoyed the weekend with a mix of loyal regulars and new faces! We managed to get six awesome dives in on different sites around the Musandam, including one sneaky night dive on Friday night!

With rumours of rough conditions floating around we were the only operator to launch over the weekend. Our staff have been sailing and diving in the Musandam for a very long time and they fell back on their vast experience to make an informed decision before departure. Safety is our utmost concern, but we were able to launch and we were rewarded with an outstanding weekend. Thanks to all that joined us!
We also managed to give loyalty certificates to some of our valued regulars on the trip. Doreen Huwe, Jad Van Buren, Fiona Van Buren & Brigitte Chemla, thank you for your long-standing support. We love having you around and we hope that you’ll keep coming back often!

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Maintenance rituals are in full-swing as the new season approaches. We’re dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s, preparing the dhows & speedboats, servicing the dive gear and resting the staff. By the time our busy season arrives we’ll be fresh, serviced, rested and ready to go! We do hope you’ll join us for a trip or two over the forthcoming winter months!

You’ll want to keep an eye on us in the new season, we’ve just signed on for our biggest project yet, and we’ll be able to tell you about it soon!

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Cecil is now here full time and it’s safe to say he’s got a firm grip on the position. We found him in the reception area at the end of his first week, have a look below!

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The dive training centre is ticking over nicely with a constant flow of students coming through the door. We’ve had a flow of new students working hard to earn the most thorough open-water certification in the region. We’ve had rescue courses being consistently run throughout the summer and we’re about to embark on our Dive-Master programme. If you’re serious about your diving, your training, your skill-set and your safety, then you need to have a chat to one of the boys in our dive centre. It’ll very quickly become apparent how our more intensive training methods stand out from the crowd.


We were having a chat in the office this week about the the benefits of diving on nitrox weighed against the cost incurred in the process. We prefer to see safer divers coming through our doors and we recognize when a diver has made the choice to be a safer diver. We therefore don’t charge anything additional for a nitrox refill or a nitrox dive. We’d rather shoulder the small cost of the nitrox and have safer, happier divers along on our trips. How do you feel about Nitrox and are you willing to pay extra for it? Give us a shout on our social media or in the office, let us know your experiences and your thoughts.

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It’s competition time!

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We mentioned last week that we’re putting together a client wall in our reception area and we need your photos, so we’ve decided to have a wee competition.

Submit your best images that are Musandam based and from a Sheesa trip to Shayne at marketing@sheesabeach.com by December 31st, 2018.

We’ll accept photos that were taken above or below the water and full credit will be given to the photographer.

On January 10th 2019 we’ll enter the photographers into a lucky draw, and the winner will receive a free 2 day / 2 night dhow safari with Sheesa Beach.  Aren’t we just the best???

That’s all for this week.

See you for a dive soon!

Going Green!

We’ve had a really good few weeks here at Sheesa!

We mean that when we say it; the best Ramadan we’ve had in years is entirely thanks to the support we get from our great clients, as well as the hard yards put in by our staff on a daily basis. We don’t get to mention our staff enough, but the work that happens behind the scenes here is something to behold. We’re grateful to our entire team, and most of all we’re grateful to you for your support.

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Our air-conditioned dhows have been going out consistently and we’ve been extremely fortunate with the conditions presented to us. Trip after trip our clients and staff return to rave about the experience and the marine-life on show.
We’ve also been able to consistently run our speedboats due to the perfect conditions at this time of year. If you haven’t managed to make it out for a trip yet, do yourself a favour and come join us. You won’t be disappointed.  

 

We mentioned last week that some big changes are coming to Sheesa and we’ll be discussing them over the next few weeks as they start to fall into place; this week we’ll start with a topic that sits close to our hearts.

 

As dive guides and tour operators we’re extremely fortunate to spend our time in a beautiful part of the world.

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We have a multi-national team from an array of different backgrounds, but we all landed in this industry for similar reasons. We have a profound passion for the environment, the ocean, and the life that lives in it. As a team we recognize the need to reduce the impact we have on the environment, and to protect the area we literally owe our livelihood to. We’re therefore embarking on a ‘Green Journey’; to improve ourselves and the way we do business. It’ll be a lengthy process of change for the better, but we’re taking it one step at a time and we’re excited about it.

 

We started the journey last month, with the launch of our campaign to combat the effects of the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish in the region.

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For those of you that don’t know the COT Starfish is an invasive species which feeds on natural coral in huge quantities. The species is doing massive damage to the coral life in our region and we feel that it’s our responsibility to step in; giving back to the area that gives so much to us. We’ve been educating our divers on ridding the area of the alien species and we’ve been working flat-out to see results as soon as possible. The campaign is running well now and we intend to keep going. Our aim is to make a real, impactful difference in the protection of our marine ecosystem.

 

The second step that we’ve taken in this journey has further reaching significance. We’re working towards a Sheesa that is entirely free of single-use plastics. We’re all aware of the impact that plastic has on the environment and we no longer want to be a part of the problem, but rather a part of the solution.

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This is by no means an easy undertaking, but we’ve set ourselves a deadline. By September 1st 2018, Sheesa Beach Dhow Cruises will have no single-use plastics in our operation. We’re committed to finding environmentally friendly alternatives.
You can help us by bringing your own water bottles when you come for a visit, so please do so if you can!

 

Moving on, we’re excited for the last week of June. We’re very nearly booked to capacity for our overnight trips and the dive centre is humming; we’ve got very excited open water students coming through and we’ll be running some rescue diver courses before month end too. So why aren’t you here up-skilling?

 

We pride ourselves on being educators, and we take a different approach to training here at Sheesa. We believe that education should be thorough, rounded and in-depth. We place emphasis on diver safety and competence, life-skills, problem-solving and crisis management from the outset. There are no shortcuts to safety and we believe in doing things the right way, every time.

 

We therefore believe in long-term skills development, which brings us to the next point.

Allow us to introduce you to Jad.

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Jad is a loyal client of ours who’s become part of the furniture here at Sheesa. At only 13 Jad already has a stack of experience under his belt and he’s shown a real passion for the sport, we’re therefore doing all we can to support his growth in the industry.
He’ll soon be joining us for an apprenticeship during his school holidays and we’re keen to show him the ropes. Our instructors will be mentoring Jad with a focus on dive-skill enhancement, equipment training, life-skills, frosty-fetching techniques and client relations. Young divers are the future of our industry and we’re excited to help Jad along his path. You’ll see him working alongside us on the trips, so please welcome him when you do!

 

That’s it for now, cheers from all of us here!

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Eid Mubarak!

It’s safe to say that we’re finally into the full grips of the Middle Eastern summer but there’s nothing at all to complain about!

Ramadan is coming to an end and it’s been a fantastic season for us, thank you to those of you who have taken the time to support us!

We’d like to take the opportunity to wish all of our Muslim friends Eid Mubarak. We hope this Eid al-Fitr is a blessed one for you and your loved ones.

 

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Our speedboats have been fully-booked and running every Friday, and those who have taken a trip have been well rewarded for it.

This time of year brings the heat, along with it warm water, great visibility and an abundance of sea life. The Musandam has been showing off; we’ve been able to pack away the wetsuits and enjoy the near-perfect conditions on offer.

If you’re interested in getting in on the action drop us an email to gm@sheesabeach.com, Neil will gladly chat to you about the available trips coming up.

We’re still running our sharing trips and liveaboards every weekend. The heat is easily beaten on our comfortable, air-conditioned dhows; filled with cold bevvies and a crystal clear ocean to dip into. What more could you ask for on a summers weekend?

We’re seeing two trips off this weekend, one for 2 nights and another for 3, we’re sure your FOMO is setting in right about now. 

We’ve also got a RAPIDLY filling-up sharing trip scheduled for the 28th to the 30th of this month. Give us a shout asap to secure your spot and avoid disappointment.

On the home front we’re undergoing some big changes here at Sheesa, and while we can’t quite tell you about it yet, we’re super excited to share the news with you as soon as possible. Watch this space!

Neil is working flat out at the helm to lead us into the next chapter of the Sheesa story, we think he may be losing his mind but as you all know he’s passionate about what we’re doing here.  

In the meantime we’ll share what we can, our family is growing and we’d like to take a minute to introduce you to the newest members.

 

Our latest addition comes in the form of Cecil as a dive guide/instructor. Cecil is hugely experienced and a great asset to the team. We’re very excited about him joining us and he’s keen to jump in and get to know all of you.

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Shayne has joined us to take care of our marketing moving forward. He’s not at all biased or writing this article, but he is extremely talented and ridiculously good-looking. He’s looking forward to getting to know the whole Sheesa extended family, including all of you!

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We’ll be more active on the blog moving forward, so if you have any ideas or anything you’d like to read about please drop a message to marketing@sheesabeach.com. Shayne would love to hear your ideas!

‘Til next time, safe diving and all the best!

Chat soon!

“I want your Job”.

Often a question that we as a team get asked on trips. So this months blog we will have a look at “well do you really want our jobs”!

The perception seems to be (not everyone) that we sit on our asses during the week while playing on FB and other social media sites and then climb onto a boat on the weekend and take you on an underwater tour or in other words we are on a permanent holiday!

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So let us break this down to a normal week in the middle of high season. In high season we get on average 5x two day/two night dhows booked with diving. Once we have chased (more like begging) the divers with regards to their equipment requirements (sizes, gas mixes, no. of tanks, amount of weight required etc), all this info is then passed onto the diving department who go through every profile return with regards to checking cards of people we do not know as well as date of last dive, emergency contact info and level of qualification.

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Then it is into the compressor room where we can pump up to 150 tanks for a weekend, pack 35 sets of dive gear, make sure all enriched air mixes are accurate to within one percent of the requested mix and prepare to put between 30-50 divers into the water for a weekend.

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As we draw closer (Wednesday and Thursday) the guides start checking weather systems (a difficult task in the musandam) as all the  weather sites vary greatly, choosing itineraries and dive sites based on levels of experience, sorting speedboats/chase boats out, crew allocation, water, diesel for the dhows and of course loading the respective dhows/speedboats with the correct gear allocated to said dhow.

We cannot afford a bad day at work whilst preparing for and on trips. The result could invariably be … we will leave it to your imagination!

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Once you are safely back in your vehicles on the way home, we start the off-loading, unpacking and cleaning of equipment. A day off arrives the next day and the following day after a rest it starts all over again.

Would we do it all over again … in a heart beat!

Keeping your Dive Guide on your side.

The similarities between a dive guide and a barman are almost identical except for the mediums in which we operate. 

We have both heard it all before and we both have an exceptionally great game face that borders on getting our own star on Hollywood Boulevard. Therefore, how would you know that your guide has a genuine, positive outlook towards you or is faking it (we do that very well).

12809777_10153916985278080_1177085423168556251_nDive Briefings – I suggest you actually listen!

Over the years of guides getting together and chatting over a cold beverage regarding the days activities one topic always rears its head. There is always the diver(s) that do not listen to briefings! Fiddling with their dive computers or chatting amongst themselves while we brief is going to get you the game face or in the case of guides who have been around for awhile – they just stop briefing and you receive the death stare. We don`t brief to hear our own voices but to keep you safe, at least afford us a small iota of respect.

” Do you know where my mask, fins, weight belt etc”, is another “mm we have a live one here moment”. Contrary to popular belief we are guides and not housekeepers. 

Chucky” No, I don`t know where you put your freaking mask”.

Dive time! When we say in-water at 7am, we mean in-water at 7am! We design schedules not only for divers but for the non-divers on board as well. Maybe the kids want to use the banana boat or some folks would like to indulge in a spot of fishing. So no it is not all about you! Being on time will get you the genuine face.

Current divers! It does not take a lot to get yourself refreshed with respect to skills and buoyancy before a trip. The last thing we need is having someone flap around on the surface while the rest of the group has decided to descend (back to the dive briefings again) and we are in the a 7 knot current. Result – you get the game face!

IMG_0318This is the face you want to see @ the end of your trip (Jon 2nd left and stoked with his group).

We make decisions based on the group collective and not individual needs. So the next time you have a dive site preference and are politely (insh`allah) told that the group is doing another site – trust me we have our reasons.  Be courteous, have fun with us, trust us and most importantly afford us a bit of respect because at the end of the day when you are 30m underwater and difficulty strikes, the only person who gives a continental snowball about you is us!

A most importantly – the biggest factor about having the guide on your side is offering us a cold bevvie at the end of the day – you are going to have a great holiday 🙂