Scooter Diving in Musandam

By: Jon F

I have recently visited the BSAC Desert Sport Dive Club in Dubai, and was invited to join a scooter dive trip that was taking place in the Musandam, region one. The dive plan was for Lima Rock just opposite Ras Lima, identifiable on the map below as the finger shaped spur jutting out in a north easterly direction next to Lima. Lima rock is approximately 800m away from Ras Lima and was once part of the same land mass thousands of years ago.  Lima Rock is a large island that has some fantastic marine life, as well as some interesting current action that can catch the unprepared diver out, especially on spring tides. 

Our boat departure was scheduled for 0730hrs from Dibba Port, so I left Dubai bleary eyed amid the dawn  chorus at 0530hrs, and arrived with plenty of time to spare. First job was find the boat. It was here that I met Ian and his wife Pam (DSDC club members) who gave me a quick run down as we loaded our kit. Once every one had arrived and we were all aboard Bob the club’s dive manager for the day, gave a very professional boat brief and assigned tasks and dive waves for entering the water.

The club operates a three wave dive principle. The first two people kit up and roll in on arrival at the dive site. The main body of the group then kit up and go, leaving two people on the boat to assist the boat handler in the event of emergency. Other duties for the two divers left on board are log the diver stats for air in, air out etc, make sure all the emergency oxygen worked, and generally keep an eye out for surfacing divers. It took me back to my days as a commercial scallop diver in the UK. We would dive in a similar wave fashion when scalloping, all born from years of health and safety law and best practice models that lead to better safety at sea.

Once the first buddy pair of club divers were back on board, it's was time for Bob and I to  kit up and roll in with our respective underwater modes of transport.

I had been looking forward to this all week.

We hit the water and our scooters were handed down to us. Bobs weapon of choice was the Dive X Sierra and I would be using my trusty Dive X Cuda 650. I absolutely love this scooter, not just because it's practically military spec with a two hour plus run time. Not because it will cover 8km in first gear, and also not because it has a max speed of 81m per min. No, I love this scooter because, it's so well engineered, exceptionally robust, reliable and simple to maintain, oh and did I mention it has a depth rating of 180m. I am a big fan of the Dive X range and find the customer care exceptionally good too.

I have made a few alterations to my scooter.

I recently installed a handle at the side to give some extra support follow an arm injury that I acquired whilst rock climbing. The handle also doubles as a mount for a Mares Icon HD dive computer. I find this particularly useful as it has a big display and loud assent warning. The Icon HD display also gives you an assent rate indication in metres, this is perfect for scootering.

We started our dive on the North side of Lima Rock in what we considered calm water. Up to this point we had been rocking and rolling on the sea, conditions caused by a blustery south easterly winds and an incoming spring tide, all elements that make a dive slightly more exciting.

Given that the tide was coming in we knew that which ever way we went we would encounter strong currents as we got close to the western or eastern end of Lima Rock. This is caused by the Island resisting the water flow, so the flow gets pushed sideways and accelerates around the western/eastern points. The accelerated water then slows down having passed through this venturi action and creates an eddy, with leigh water behind on the northern side of the island. This process changes direction slightly as the tidal curve changes, and then completely reverses at the change of tide.

Bob and I had a fabulous dive and I really enjoyed playing in the current. We practised ferry gliding and holding our position behind the reef.

Later on in the dive we found a small cave that was full of fish life. The cave is an open shaft and apparently you can get out at the top, though we were forced to turn around due to an abundance of sea urchins making their point.

Of course we do not recommend that divers enter an over head environment without proper training.

So if you are looking for the most fun you can have with your clothes on......go get a scooter.

We all had a great day even though the weather forced our hand. Bob made a good call and decided that we should head back while the ocean was being kind to us.

Thanks to all on the dive that day.