Category Archives: Fun And Frolics

“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!

e336fa8b67f046a489f6de1326f69d83

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.

20180522_095813

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.

20180522_09342820180522_093411

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!

DSC_0230DSC_0081

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!

Advertisements

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 🙂

 

The Blog with Fog.

Welcome back to the diving season. March suddenly awoke from his wintery slumber and put on a feast.

IMG-20180331-WA0006

                                             The Musandam greets us from its wintery slumber.

It has been a kiddies month as well. Two young ladies aged 11 years of age completed their Discover Scuba Experience with instructor Bruce and were greeted by a whale shark after completion. We now think the certificate came second to seeing this gentle giant up close and very personal. We bet 2 free berths on a sharing trip they enjoyed it more than playing on their iPad or phones as well!

IMG_20180317_222722_507

Wally allows us the 1st sighting this year. Blessed!

Our monthly sharing trips were back in full swing or more like full immersion. Three hours into our departure we were hit with “the fog” or more like a wall of ice that enveloped us completely and obscuring our night vision. With GPS we made safe anchorage and woke up to the musandam that was about to put on a spectacle. Dolphins bow riding and a leopard shark within 5 minutes of our descent were small reminders of this sport we love so much. We were blessed and honoured to have had Dubai`s foremost blogger Slava Noor with us imparting words of wisdom regarding social media and adding a splash of pinkness to our dives.

IMG-20180401-WA0000

Just in case you misunderstood the word pinkness 

Please feel free to follow our social media sites and leave a review of your encounter on Trip Advisor. In this day and age it helps us tremendously to stay ahead of the chasing pack.

Instagram: @sheesabeachdhow

Face book: Sheesa Beach Dhow Cruises – Dive & Discover

Trip Advisor: Sheesa Beach Dive Centre.

 

The Human Factor

Welcome to 2018 and we hope it beats the “you know what” out of 2017 for you and your loved ones.

From 2016 onwards there has been an explosion of YouTube videos, Facebook videos and a host of social media platforms that offer up the “right way” to train divers.

southpoint-diversDSC_0230

Personally as and educator and collectively as a dive centre we are prone to the “get your freaking knees off the bottom of the pool approach”. We train buoyancy as the core skill in diving and we allow them to fail. Here is why!

Allowing candidates to fail in a safe and non-threatening environment allows them to be vulnerable and thus the opportunity for educators, (I`m not using the word instructor as that is a topic for another time), to provide critical feedback to the candidate.

DSC_0081DCIM100GOPROGOPR2737.JPG

This in turn allows them to take responsibility and be accountable to themselves only. Changing their perception from blaming failure on all and sundry to one of being self-aware and recognizing their own weak points. Is not learning the process of making mistakes and learning from them?

IMG_0318

Instructors, dive centres and agencies all need to hold their collective hands high and say “maybe we got it wrong”. We trained skills, we taught theory but how much of the human factor did we teach? For the learning process to be solid the human factor loop needs to in sync and that simply is accepting responsibility as educators and candidates, learning from our mistakes and recognizing our weak points without blaming anyone else. Most importantly using our mistakes to better ourselves as divers and hopefully as humans to!

 

 

 

DM`s, Mola-Mola and Seahorse.

The water temperature has dropped faster than expected. Well, we were caught literally with our pants down due to diving in board shorts and rash vests one week and having to break out the 5.5mm wetsuits the week after. There is a plus to this however as it does bring a prehistoric species back.
IMG_0318
L-R: Dustin, Instructor Jon Athey, Eddie, Terry and Jason.
November saw us complete our dive master candidates over an intensive 3 days on a private live aboard trip. The idea was to give them live aboard experience in seeing what type of logistics and implementation goes into getting a trip out. Jon Athey took them through their skills, drills and knowledge enrichment. Too many times have I heard how instructors get a kick out of “hammering” the candidates as this is what happened to them when trained. A lot of us were military trained including Jon and it was refreshing to see an instructor teach with skill, empathy and compassion.

 

Octopus Rock has been incredible this year and we have found 3 more seahorse that are only known to us (as far as we are aware). It was very unpleasant to see 4 boats all descending onto the known ones at the beginning of the month. Couple this with poor buoyancy skills and no diver etiquette and we were very temp
The change in the way we conduct our Discover Scuba Diving experiences is reaping great rewards which allows us to show the divers more of the underwater world and less time holding them. In fact we do not hold them (there is a very watchful eye) but they dive on their own with a small amount of weight and in a horizontal position.
This is our last issue for the year and we wish everyone who celebrates Christmas a “very merry Christmas” and for “happy holidays” to everyone else.
Your friendly dive centre in the far north.

 

 

Winter is Coming #notthegot

Indeed we took the title of the blog from a well-known series! The days are mild out in the Musandam and the water temperature is the same as bath water.

 

October greeted us the same as getting into the ring with Chuck Norris and yelling obscenities about his mother – a great big smack in the face!The booking board in the office had little to no space left on it and our compressor has been working overtime.

The return of the double deck dhows for both overnight and day trips heralded the start of a new season and we had some interesting trips. From very strange spring high currents that made us delve into every bit of knowledge and prowess we have about this area to being asked for a 16kg weight belt, we had it all! Needless to say there is a diver out there now who has gone back to his previous instructor and told him that after a single dive, he was stripped of 10kg`s and for the first time in his diving career saw the underwater world from a horizontal perspective. Kudos to us, kudos to us 🙂

Our speedboats have been running every weekend (bar the odd one) since July, however we slow down with them over this period as we need every single speedboat acting as a dive tender to the dhows going out on the overnight safaris and all our permanent and freelancers are booked out as well. We wish we could have more boats and staff in the water to cater for the speedboat trips over this time but it is not feasible at the moment.

 

 

 

The highlight of our month is the sharing live aboard trip, it gives a chance to connect with new divers and hang-out with clients that are now personal friends of ours. We know their diving skill as well and thus are able to take them to more remote and certainly adventurous dive sites. The pictures in the collage above are from said trip and perfectly allow you to see what we experienced. Salamah (Great Quoin Island) is a site we have been frequenting for a few years now and bar the currents up there, it is an awesome site and besides us, not dived by anyone else. The ridge is a very special place to dive but again care needs to be taken as the currents up there are incredibly strong. Fanaku gave us a Spanish Dancer nudibranch )not found anywhere else in the musandam) and the remaining northern sites all delivered great visibility and dives. Octopus Rock was a hive of activity as 4 boats in total all descended upon the two unsuspecting seahorse on the SE ridge. We went to our secret seahorse location (180*) from those and showed off a prime specimen. A truly great group and friends ended having to come back by speedboat due to our dhow deciding to chuck its propeller off and have a well earned rest for a further 2 days.

The 2018 sharing lice aboard dates are out! Get those diaries out and start blocking off 26 days of dive time with us 🙂 We have sick notes available for the bosses in case needed.

1. January 18-20: 2 days/2 nights; 2. February 8-10: 2 days/2 nights; 3. March 29-31: 2 days/2 nights; 4. April 25-28: 3 days/3 nights; 5. May 23-26: 3 days/3 nights; 6. June 28-30: 2 days/2 nights; 7. July 26-28: 2 days/2 nights; 8. August 23-25: 2 days/2 nights;
9. September 5-8: 3 days/3 nights; 10. October 3-6: 3 days/3 nights;
11. November 22-24: 2 days/2 nights; 12. December 20-22: 2 days/2 nights. 

 

Thank-you for taking the time to read this and hopefully see you again very soon.

Neil, Cristy, Michael, Bruce, Kenji, Thahir and the staff of Sheesa.

 

Pelagic Soup

We hope you are all surviving Ramadan and this leads us into the new blog.

April and May saw some incredible diving in our tiny piece of paradise. The water stayed quite cool well into May but delivered some amazing encounters. We were greeted by large pods of Dolphins on every trip out and a few lucky divers got to witness the unique spectacle of killer whales/Orcas in the Musandam. Underwater delivered Mola-Mola (sunfish), massive shoals of trevally, barracuda and tuna to name a few.

GOPR0751.JPG

Enter a caption

It was great to welcome back the warm water divers (or as we would term it – ageing gracefully 😊). The shenanigans continued. If you have never been on a sharing safari and keep hearing about the shenanigans, then you need to witness it personally. Lots of heckling each other, sundowners, cheese and crackers in the evenings and loading up on bacon etc for breakfast.

Although we have a schedule to keep and all our divers buy into the schedule, we do keep it as informal and relaxed as possible. Depending on the groups we also like to push further into the lesser known sites and the rewards are often to be talked about over a sundowner in the evening.

For a number of years we have not pushed the courses here at Sheesa and if you are wondering why, it is because we walk a fine line between being a service provider to dive centres as well as being a dive centre ourselves. What we did concentrate on was the diver who wanted to continue diving after they had qualified and Jumeirah open beach did not quite do it for them anymore. There are excellent dive sites on the east coast in the UAE and some great operators to boot. The Musandam however cannot and will not be beaten by anything the UAE can throw up.

So learning to dive here is unique. We combine our live aboard trips with courses thus giving the diver the skills to survive at sea and live aboard experience. Let`s be frank, live aboard diving is the ultimate !dive holiday. The courses are also unique in that we differ quite a lot to others. Over the years and through experience in varying conditions we have thought out of the box and do not blindly follow what is written on a slate. Yes we adhere to the standards that follow but we add in more. More time is spent on buoyancy, understanding your body and the water column surrounding you and making you a bit more responsible as a diver. This not only benefits you but it definitely benefits the guides both locally and internationally.

The sheesa staff would like to thank all of you for your continued support of us and the culture we have tried to create for our clients. Book and let us do the rest! Keep an eye out for our newsletters in your inbox, the FB and Instagram posts ot pop along to our youtube channel to see the latest shenanigans we have cooked up