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September 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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MV Saman Explorer, Oman, Arabian Sea

hot, damned hot; dives with highs and lows

from the September, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver,

Twenty surface marker buoys popping up around the boat in the early morning were a sure sign that a checkout dive in view of the Mirbat Marriott was going on. Again it immediately showed, "German sausages" are the longest. It had been an inauspicious start.

Oman's Typical CoastlineThough three turtles passed by in the milky water, during the checkout dive, there wasn't much else to see on the sandy bottom, so my buddy -- we had selected each other after the first briefing -- and I cruised around under the boat to get acquainted with each other. Simultaneously, we spotted a dive computer sticking out of the sand. I picked it up -- a brand-new one. A diver had dropped it when jumping in, but never noticed it missing until she was back on board. Hallelujah for her. But, never even noticed she was missing a computer on a checkout dive?

The next dive, as soon as the rundown Zodiac was loaded, the guide pointed excitedly at the water. I saw gray with white spots and splash -- I hit the water, nothing there. Guests from the other Zodiac followed suit, and one guy landed right above the whale shark. The whale shark was a good omen for me.

This was my third trip to the Gulf of Oman -- Iran is on the eastern side -- and this time I was aboard the Saman Explorer for a 10-day cruise in May from Mirbat (near Salalah) to Muscat in Oman. Having once toured the Red Sea, she's an older lady with a 110-foot (34m) steel hull and a 30-foot (9m) beam. Though they said she was hauled and refurbished in 2015, she showed wear and tear, such as rusty patches on her hull and A/C water dripping from the ceiling into the lounge. The 20 guests hailed from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Britain....


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