Category Archives: Whaleshark

The Blog with Fog.

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

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                                             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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

 

 

 

The Whale Shark Issue

One would be forgiven for thinking that every morning at the moment we are waking up to paradise. Fog rests over the Hajar mountains and the temperature while enjoying the first cup of java for the day is in the high 20`s. Then we open the gate and are greeted by the goats eating cement packets and other trash and you realise that mutton is off the menu for that evening.

September has been a cracking month for diving. The seas are so flat we are convinced that Neptune has been making frequent visits to Jamaica and rolling some rather large blunts. A group of divers that have been diving with us forever and a day planned an expeditionary trip to the top of the Musandam and specifically to try and get onto a site called Ennerdale Rock which was named after a ship that sunk there many years ago. Now on a calm day the currents here can rip your mask off your face and before you all ask us when are we going there, we are not! It takes a year of planning at the minimum and you have to sit on it and wait for slack tide. However, it is possibly the best site that the Middle East has to offer. Eagle rays, marble rays were a few animals sighted and this all from only one side of the rock as everyone was sheltering from the current (we have posted a video of the site on our FB page).

The sharing trips allow us a chance to connect with friends and new divers alike and we welcomed a few new souls to the infamous Sheesa sharing trips. They certainly added value! Being Islamic new year we were able to get away a little earlier than we normally do and thus enjoy the scenery on the way up whist sipping on “Coco-Colas”. The water was like a milk pond as we decided that with the experience levels on-board, we would head for Salamah (Great Quion Island). People talk of a gut instinct and this time we were rewarded with going on it. We were about to pass Ras Musandam when that gut instinct took over and said “there is something here”. Ras Musandam was behaving as usual with a fast drift from west to east but eerily there were no fish. I started thinking of all the excuses in the book as to why the dive site had nought to offer when suddenly, a familiar shape loomed in the distance @ 20m underwater. Wally had saved the day!

We spent 15 minutes with Wally as he/she posed for various cameras, disappeared and re-appeared again for a 2nd run with us. Needless to say if we had dived the rest of the trip on a sandy bottom only with nothing to see, there would have been no complaints. Our 2nd dive on Abu Rashid was more sedate but the soft corals on the site are pure splendour. A leopard shark posed for us on Ras Khayser, Pete scared the bejesus out of a turtle (they did not see each other till the last moment) and we topped it off with a night dive on Al Maqta in Habelyn. A couple more “Coco-Colas” ended the day.

We are at pains to explain the emergence of a pink flamingo that was spotted swimming around Red Island this last weekend. In fact word has it was so tame that it ended swanning oops I mean swimming and cavorting with the guests on-board. As always photographic proof is required (otherwise you just did not see it) and it was duly obtained as well.

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Please dont forget to follow your favourite and bestest dive centres social media sites for pics of the trips, blogs, updates etc. We can be found at these sites:

Face Book – Sheesa Beach Dhow Cruises – Dive & Discover

Instagram – sheesabeachdhow

Our blog is available monthly on our web page @ http://www.sheesabeach.com and click on the wordpress icon located on the upper right=-hand corner of our homepage.

We look forward to hosting you for another bumper season filled with great dives, amazing sightings, pink flamingos, plenty of laughs and delicious food.

From the nuthouse, see you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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

Full to the Brim and then some….

We thought the June sharing Dhow would be a little quiet, what with most people clearing out for the summer and all that.  Contrary to popular opinion however, it seems that our clients are very sensible people, very sensible indeed, choosing to escape the Sandpit for the majestic Musandam!  So, with a full boat (so full that yours truly was left behind and had to swop a bed on the Dhow for a bed in the Al Aqah Beach Resort), the weekend commenced.

With the sea state being a little bumpy as compared to what is usually preferred, the Dhow kept relatively South of the sites visited in recent months.  However this did not impact at all on the variety of marine life spotted or the enjoyment of the weekend!

Those on board were issued strict instructions to NOT see anything exciting.  These instructions were clearly ignored however, as my loyal spies were very happy (far too happy in my opinion) to update me on their return of the amazing weekend had by all.

So, in no particular order, this weekends fish soup consisted of a 10m whale shark, which cruised by on a mission to somewhere rather than cooperatively posing for photos and videos as is the preference, plus another whale shark spotted by our ever amazing boat cover Shameem (although not spotted by any divers).  A multitude of rays including devil rays, eagle rays, etc., etc., etc., turtles, barracuda……..  In fact, one barracuda in particular was considered worthy of note, with our very own loveable elf exclaiming it was easily as big as her.  That would be most Barracuda then D???

Contrary to popular opinion, the scooter boys and girls didn’t chase everything off.  In fact, more likely corralled them in for the more traditional divers of the group to see too.  At least, that is their story and they are sticking to it!

Topside was not without its excitement either!  Although to be fair, when is it ever boring on with the usual Sheesa Shenanigans going on?

Fishing between dives and on an evening is a favourite pastime for some of our regulars, either because they are doing the fishing, or they are watching (and subsequently enjoying) the catch.  As with most weekends, tiddlers get thrown back in, whilst the larger fish are quickly incorporated into a delish dish for dinner.  Sustainable fishing all the way with Sheesa;  if you can’t eat it, don’t keep it.  So, with this in mind, one of the more unusual catches of the weekend had a lucky escape from Rajesh’s cooking pot –  the Eagle Ray (yes, you read that correctly), caught and landed by our youngest regular weekender, Jad.

So, I am sure you get the picture- a very nice picture too, and a very clear one if you were actually there.

As nice as the Al Aqah Beach Resort (with upgrade to a suite) was, your’s truly missed the fun on board. So, if you missed out this month too, then not only do you need to dust off your imaginations, but you also need to get your a*** into gear to get booked on the July and August Dhows.   Our sharing trips are the perfect way to escape the heat.  Well, not exactly escape the heat, as its pretty hot in the Musandam too, however at least it’s not as far to jump overboard and cool off.

Look forward to seeing you next month or sooner if you are signed up for one of our one day cruises.

 

 

 

 

Mutiny On The Dhow!

As the Blonde Goddess stepped aboard we anticipated a relaxing, refined weekend of diving, sunbathing and chit chat.  However, we forgot that closely following behind would be her lesser half, The Mola-Mola Whisperer.  So much for relaxing.  With the Whisperer on board we would be flogged to death, getting up before (never mind at) the crack of dawn, squeezing in as many dives (and more) as is physically possible in three days of diving.  With hearts already sinking fast, it got worse as KK and Grumpy Pants arrived!  And just as we were thinking things couldn’t possibly get any worse, the Motley Crew (I am not talking about the band) turned up.

Almost immediately, a flurry of activity descended as Neil abandoned ship, citing other commitments, leaving Victor the dubious honour of Dive Manager for the weekend.  Saaed would have been close behind him except Grumpy Pants blocked his path, demanding he stay and play!

Without further ado, the Dhow set sail for the Far North or at least as far as we could go in one night, as (demanded) requested by KK.  Any further delay in port and there would be no crew left.

The following morning broke, a little overcast and chilly.  We were however sufficiently North to keep the (mob) guests happy, at least for a few hours.  With an extra day in the weekend we had a lot of dives to look forward to, and the first day of diving didn’t disappoint.  With some cracking drifts along Ras Dillah and Ras Musandam, we had a returning shoal (?) of at least fifty mobula rays and some of the largest shoals of batfish ever seen in these waters, the latter remaining alongside in the drift for around 30 minutes.  After a couple of energetic dives, we opted for a more sedate site for last dive of the day.  Thank goodness for small mercies I suppose that no one wanted to do a night dive.  Sedate however doesn’t mean boring.  And the theme of the day continued, with surprises around every corner and in particular, right at the end of the dive, not one, not two, not even three but four to five reef sharks all mooching around at about the 10m mark.  What an amazing start to the weekend!

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The day was not without its dramas above the waterline either.  In between dives two and three, Saaed broke the news that the Dhow couldn’t go further North.  With seemingly perfect conditions and flat calm seas, the demands for explanations were sharp and short. With a  mutinous mob on board, little heed was taken and eventually agreement to remain ‘up north’ was confirmed.  We would moor overnight in Kumzar.

Happy in victory, the mob hopped overboard for that amazing last dive of the day.  Saaed however had the last laugh. Did you really expect anything less?.  As the mob returned to the Dhow, already mentally cracking open those end of day hydration fluids, the chase boat sped round the corner of Ras Musandam, into Rat Beach Bay, and NO DHOW!  The crafty captain had taken the mob at their word and given them exactly what they had asked for.  He’d moved north.  Great! Except it would be another 30 minutes before they could safely climb aboard the Dhow, de-kit and partake of a refreshing sundowner! Funny Saaed…NOT!  Despite these usual Sheesa Shenanigans, as day one drew to a close, everyone agreed it had been an amazing start to the weekend.  Could it get any better? Hopes were high and as the sun set, preps were made for day two, a day in the Far North.  Or perhaps not?

The next morning broke, bright and breezy.  So breezy in fact that it was quickly obvious, even to a blind man that the dhow would not being going to the Far North!  Even getting out of Kumzar Bay was a challenge.  With the dhow pitching and rocking enough to give even the hardest sailors a little heart flutter, everyone quickly acknowledged Saaed’s superior (and extremely annoying) ability to read the weather conditions with flawless accuracy.  As the dhow bobbed South, with several green faces huddled in a corner of the lounge, Saaed’s (smug) knowing smile read a thousand words!

But then drama!!!  We’d lost the chase boat!  With the sea so rough, the tow rope had snapped and with waves of up to four feet high, pulling alongside wasn’t going to be an option.  Before anyone knew what was happening and so quick he was nothing but a blur as he dived past, Shamsee dived head first into the sea.  As he battled the waves (seriously, it was really rough) to reach the chase boat, everyone held their breath.  Everyone collectively sighed with relief and then with disbelief as he nimbly climbed aboard using the engines to get a ‘leg over’.

Freezing cold and soaking wet, our hero steered the chase boat to safety and eventually in the calm of the lee of Ras Musandam South, re-joined the Dhow, where he could get dry and warm up after his unexpected dip.

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After the excitement of the morning so far (it wasn’t even 0700 yet), the mob were extremely happy to concede to Saaed’s superior knowledge and quickly agreed with Victor that a nice quiet dive on the same site we had ended the previous day on, was perfect. Definitely no one was going to repeat the mistake of thinking they knew better than Saaed!   It wasn’t all bad though.  After all, who wouldn’t want to go swim with the reef sharks again.   Unfortunately they had other plans and failed to put in an appearance.  Instead we had to slum it and put up with this chap blocking our view as we rolled in.

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In fact he was such a nuisance that he kept getting in the way of our divers for the first ten minutes of the dive.  Those with cameras were most disgruntled.  After all, how can you get ‘THAT’ goby shot when a pesky great whale shark keeps getting in front of your camera lens?   What a way to start the day, and just think……., had our divers got their way and ‘gone to the Far North’, we would have totally missed him!  There is a lesson to be learned somewhere in there I am sure?

Dives Four and Five of the weekend weren’t quite so exciting unfortunately, but still an amazing diversity that we are lucky to take for granted in our part of the world.  Three more dives logged by the end of the day, with a bunch of tired but happy divers enjoying more sundowners and lots of laughs as the weekend so far was relived while Victor fired up the barbie.  With a  beautiful sunset to complete the day what more could you ask for?  Wow we are lucky to have all this on our door step.

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However, remember what we said at the beginning of this post?  The bit about being flogged to death by The Mola-Mola Whisperer’.  Well, true to form, he and KK were up at the crack of a sparrow fart ready to dive.  For a moment it seemed that only the two of them were crazy enough to get up at 0430hrs to go diving, but then as the moment of truth grew closer, the dive deck got busier.  So busy in fact that all bar two of our divers partook of the Dawn Dive.  As is often the case, it was a great dive, although fair to say it took second place to the previous day.  That said, there were rays and reef sharks to be seen, so not too shabby!

The final two dives of the weekend were a little more relaxed, but as always with plenty of the usual culprits to see.  Finally, morning number three turned into afternoon number three and the dhow started to head south.  The number of divers on the last few dives started to decline, with some of our gang opting to relax on deck to enjoy a snooze in the sun.   After three days on the high seas, nine dives complete, gear rinsed and packed, divers watered and fed, we were finally homeward bound and hopefully without anymore drama!

As  another great three day dhow trip drew to a close, a few sheepish faces admitted that Saaed knew best – but just to be sure, next month, we want to go to the Far North, no matter what!

And with that, we shall re-christen Yas, “The Bounty”.