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End of Summer

Hi All.

We hope you’re having a good weekend, have a read below to see what’s been happening here in the Musandam!


Most of our staff are back from leave, well-rested and ready for the upcoming busy season! Neil has been holding down the fort while the rest of us go off for a rest, so he’ll go off soon for a break of his own. Enjoy it Neil, it’ll be crazy-busy here by the time you get back!

As we come to the end of the summer season we find ourselves reflecting on what has been an outstanding few months. The speedboats have been running so consistently every Friday that we’ve decided to run them permanently through the year. Next time you’re booking your Friday dive, why not do it on a Sheesa fast boat?

We’re well aware that busy seasons don’t just happen, especially in the Middle Eastern summer time. We’re aware how fortunate we are and we attribute our busy summer to one thing; you! Our clients, divers, friends and students that come back time-after-time are the heartbeat of this operation. We wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you for your continued support!

The training centre is busy and our instructors are enjoying the flow of properly committed students working with us at the moment. We’re passionate about the industry and the sport, and it gives us a kick when our students are as passionate as we are. We approach our training in a different manner here at Sheesa, and while our students must work harder during the training, they come out better divers and professionals for it.
We’d like to take a quick minute to congratulate Peter Rosewall for the completion of his PADI OWSI this week. We’re proud of you mate!

 

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We’ve mentioned before that we’re aiming to become a 5-star PADI dive resort by the end of the year and that deadline is approaching hard and fast. We’re working flat-out with our PADI regional manager Teo to achieve this goal and we’re excited to take the step-up.

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We’re also pushing hard on the environmental front, things are well on-track to be single-use plastic free by our deadline and our Crown of Thorns campaign grows month-on-month.

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We’ve taken the environmental drive a step further and we’re proud to announce that we’re the first 100% Project Aware partner in Oman. We’re striving to be better, do better and to take accountability for ourselves and our actions. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Project Aware, they’re doing some incredible work in the area of marine conservation.

We, facilitated by PADI, have joined forces with Project Aware, to raise awareness and work toward the protection of the worlds oceans. Education is vitally important and therefore with immediate effect we’re offering environmental Project Aware courses to our clients. By teaching, educating and spreading the word, we’ll hopefully make a real difference in the way things are done in the region.

We’ll also be making a donation to Project Aware as a part of every single certification that we process. We believe that it’s our responsibility to give back and this is one of the ways we’ll be doing so. By training with us you’re not only getting the best education from the best professionals in the industry, you’re also directly supporting the conservation of the marine environment. For this, we thank you.

https://www.projectaware.org/

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On a final note: it’s time to put a reminder in your calendar. We’ve got a very special day coming up and we’d love it if you could be a part of it.
Sheesa Beach and Brest Friends in partnership with the Al Jalila Foundation will be hosting an event to raise funds for something that has affected all of us in one way or another. We’ll be hosting a ‘PINK’ day of diving on the 19th of October 2018; from which all proceeds will be donated for use in the fight against breast cancer. We’ll have some breast cancer survivors onboard, diving with us, and we’re excited to be able to do our part to help.

We hope to see you there, this one really is important to us. Numbers are unfortunately limited and we’re already booking spots. Give Cecil a shout on diving@sheesabeach.com to reserve your space, your booking will make a difference!

http://www.aljalilafoundation.ae/

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We hope you’ll come and see us soon, we’re looking forward to seeing you!

Take care for now.

 

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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!

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!