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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Wed, 01 Jan 2014 11:29 pm

The captain could have waited 5 minutes, and followed their rising air-bubbles to be happy they were clear of the area, before dropping snokellers.

At the next door Jackson Reef I've seen 25 boats moored up, and maybe 250+ divers, with the occasional nut-case diver traversing underneath. It's Egypt, you have to realise that you get quite a few of hot-dog death-wish-divers there.

Re: the pic: They're preparing to go in, as you wouldn't stand on the back jump-deck like that if the captain was about to throttle-up and depart.

The foamy back-wash, suggests the captain is manoeuvring. Hence why it appears he's backing up to drop snorkellers. You don't tend to drop snorkellers that far away from a reef-wall. On those mid-Gulf reefs the drop-off is steep to very-steep. I can't imagine snorkellers wishing to dropped 'in the blue' in 50M+ of water :)


--- If you're on a small boat, being picked up in a reasonably sheltered spot, you can hang on a tow-line a float, and when at the front, take off your fins and hand them up, then climb the ladder.
On a boat like this one. The crew get-in, pick-up, and get-out ASAP. Once they're picking up, and they might need to get 15+ people up and they (realistically) have little option to use engines meanwhile. They need divers up and in ...

Hence dive ladders where you can keep your fins on to ascend... it saves a huge amount of faffing about.

refer:
Twins and a deco bottle (his fins are on)
http://www.picturesunderwater.com/large ... inders.jpg

Similar looking rig, coming up an open sided ladder:
http://www.bsac.com/image-cache/image-20909-orig.jpg

Viewed from underwater. You can see why it makes sense.
http://fishinfocus.co.uk/public_html/wp ... -of-20.jpg

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Postby Max Headroom » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 8:17 am

Yeah, better. The boats I've been on always had the standard ladder, no good when in flippe... sorry, fins :)

Can't really understand why anyone would risk buzzing a chainsaw on steroids through a group of people without being 100% where these people are. We've had our share of severe accidents in Tioman and it seems like such a no-brainer to me: people below = engine off. No ifs, ands or buts.

Ideally of course, all dive boats are jet engine. Perhaps one day they will be and then we'll wonder whatever we were thinking operating prop-powered dive boats.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:20 am

JR8 wrote:Image

- curious. Neither #2 or 3 are decked out like staff. ho hum... one in snorkelling fins, the other in Mares'Tri's'. Why they'de be dropping snorkellers into that/there is a mystery... hmmm


The sea at the top part looks very shallow so why not snorkeling?

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:43 am

Max Headroom wrote:Yeah, better. The boats I've been on always had the standard ladder, no good when in flippe... sorry, fins :)


Lol! As I read that, for one nano-second I thought you were going to say *that* 'dolphin-associated-word', but thank heavens you managed to avert disaster at the last moment ;)

Reminds me rather of the superstition/taboo of actors making reference to Shakespeare's play MacBeth, choosing to refer to it as 'The Scottish Play' instead!*

Yes in places like Tioman the dive boats are small enough you can hang on the side, take your fins off, and either hand them up, or toss them into the boat. Then a closed sided ladder is not an issue. I sometimes go further, if the boat is rocking heavily, there are times I'll take off my whole SCUBA unit (w/integrated weights) and hand that up; then fins off, then up the ladder.

Max Headroom wrote:Can't really understand why anyone would risk buzzing a chainsaw on steroids through a group of people without being 100% where these people are. We've had our share of severe accidents in Tioman and it seems like such a no-brainer to me: people below = engine off. No ifs, ands or buts.


Well it's a combination of things. Some shops will hire a kampong-kid and let him drive a boat. Some of these divers are, lets say, not particularly rigorously trained, and they might only dive a few days a year. If their guide can't even send up a DSMB/float when ascending from a dive, it is a recipe for disaster. + If a diver doesn't know to extend a Stop (deco) if they can hear a boat engine, then sadly accidents are going to happen.


*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scottish_Play

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Postby ecureilx » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:46 am

Max Headroom wrote:Ideally of course, all dive boats are jet engine. Perhaps one day they will be and then we'll wonder whatever we were thinking operating prop-powered dive boats.


errr .. I dunno, don't Jet's Suck in something before throwing out the side ?? :D

For those who wonder .. a picture of a Jet !! (it was on an LCU .. )

Image

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 11:54 am

x9200 wrote:The sea at the top part looks very shallow so why not snorkeling?


The area tinged pale brown is the reef-plate (the top of the reef). That tends to be very shallow, maybe .5-.75m, and gets direct sun for say 10hrs a day so is a relative desert. About the only thing that can survive that hostile environment is fire-coral (pale brown in colour). That coral will sting you if you touch it, not ideal for snorkellers.

The patchy aquamarine/azure water in front could be good for snorkelling. In fact you do see the occasional snorkel boats up there. Cue: 50 people thrashing wildly about in the shallows. Cue#2: divers on nearby boats rolling their eyes, 'F me, will you look at this bunch of muppets!'. The only plus-side is these snorkel boats are also party-boats (house music etc). So if you moor up next to one, you get some music during an interval, and also they attract a young crowd, so you get a lot of fit young ladies sunbathing on the top and front decks too. Easier on the eye than a bunch of hairy-arsed divers :)

The thing is those reefs can get washed by serious currents*. It's ok if you stay in one small calm patch, but stray just a little too far, with a current and you can be in trouble very quickly, and it escalates very quickly! The rye joke is that if you judge the turning point on that dive wrongly, you can end up in Jordan. [Been there done that. My buddy and I were 'headed for Jordan', and we more or less pulled ourselves back to safety, hand over hand, using reef-hooks, but that was er... a pretty alarming 10-15 minute process. I surfaced with 20 Bar and probably couldn't speak for an hour. That remains one of the hairiest dives I've done :o

The other thing is the Tiran reefs are a marine park, so you have to pay an entry fee. Also on a boat that size, it's a c45-60 minute cruise from the tourist hub (Sharm). So you pay a pretty big fuel-premium. Most young people don't want to spend 2hrs in transit I suppose, hence all in all, you don't get many snorkellers there.

* Do a Google/Map search on 'sharm egypt'
You'll see the chain of four mid-channel islands to the upper right. The whole Gulf of Aqaba gets 'strained' through those islands, hence why they make great dives.

Zoom in on the islands, top > bottom

Jackson Reef (and amazingly, there appear to be no boats moored up on the south-side. Might be early morning, or later pm). Most dives are a 'to and fro' on the south side. The north-side is a 'blue dive' and you can encounter a shoal of hammerheads. But it's an advanced dive on that side.

Woodhouse Reef. You dive the east side, the west side is way to wild. If the current is with you, you can drop on the southern tip and drift almost the entire length northwards towards Jackson. Over a kilometer!. But the crossing between Woodhouse and Jackson is the stuff of legend. There lies 'The Washing Machine'. Time the tides wrongly on that crossing and you'll be spun from 30/40m >10m > 30/40 > 10, round and around, until you probably run out of air and die. Probably why I know only one person who has done it. There's a 'recreational-diver end marker' nearing the north end of Woodhouse it's a tractor tyre lying on the reef, at c15M. Ignore that at your peril.

Thomas Reef. That can be a real turbo-drift of a dive, great fun. You drop at maybe '5pm' on a clock-face, and aim to go enti-clockwise to about 10-9pm for your pick-up. Theoretically if you pick your tides just right, you can circumnavigate it.

Gordon. Lovely chilled dive, shallow, over a coral garden. Stay on the east/SE side though to keep out of the potentially dangerous currents. However, there's a sand bowl ('amphitheatre') apparently a magnet for Eagle Rays, somewhere over around 7pm, about 75m away from the reefplate. That's what me and my were looking for when we ended up 'heading for Jordan'.


--- The lovely looking lagoon to the right, would make great snorkelling. But that is Tiran Island, and it's UN occupied with peacekeepers/observers. You've Saudi to the east, Israel and Jordan to the north, and Egypt to the west. That is a main shipping route from Asia, to Israel/Jordan, hence it's strategic importance.

I have dived that lagoon once. I was on a liveaboard moored up for the night on the south side of Jackson Reef. We took a RIB over and did it as a night-dive, which was something special. I expect the military knew we were there (not least our dive lamps), but weren't concerned enough to have to act...

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Postby Max Headroom » Thu, 02 Jan 2014 8:00 pm

JR, given the number of times I've seen outboard sampans come tearing into a bay with snorkelers nearby below, it's a miracle that more people haven't got injured.

Ecureilx, getting sucked in wouldn't be pretty either, agreed. Then again, you wouldn't need to full-throttle the jet while over a dive site, so water intake/suction would probably be minimal, innit.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 04 Jan 2014 10:21 am

JR8, thanks for the explanation. I have only snorkelled in this region of the world so far. My only experience with strong current was between Gili Islands. Not such a nice place for corals but many nice sea turtles over there.

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 15 Jan 2014 9:15 pm

x9200 wrote:JR8, thanks for the explanation. I have only snorkelled in this region of the world so far. My only experience with strong current was between Gili Islands. Not such a nice place for corals but many nice sea turtles over there.


Yes. I've just been down there again.

These are offshore islands, and they tend to get pretty 'washed' by currents. That's what makes their sealife diverse and good.

However snorkellers tend to get dropped onto '1.01 beach', which is the most passive, and unfortunately often, most beaten up place.

Even then though, snorkelling with my wife, we saw some really nice stuff (even without her having lenses in), barracuda, snapper, turtles etc...

I esp like Gili Air.... bit of a forgotten world apart. Get there before it's wrecked... it's still very very unspoilt, pony+cart taxis up sand roads etc... but that's not going to last much longer....


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