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The Gulf

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
I am back in Edmonton after 20 days in the Arabian Gulf, in Bahrain© After 30 hours of travel, I was greeted with -23C and snow© I miss the 30C winter of the Midlle East already©
The last day of freediving was 4 days ago© My wife and I headed out with Aquatique, a local dive shop, on their Boston Whaler with 3 scubadivers and 3 staff© The owner has been here a long time, and did some UW filming for Disney in 1968, a piece showing a pearl diver working© Rob said that he filmed the diver working at one stretch for 4:58! Not static: working on the botom with no mask or fins, scrounging the sand for oysters, then tugging the line to signal the "puller" to bring him to the surface© These guys used a weighted stirrup around the ankle to sink, collected oysters in a goody bag tied around their necks, then returned to the surface© 12 hours a day, for 6 month stretches!
This day the water was 20C, and thanks to technology I had the 5mm Picasso, Radical Carbons, OMER tinted and reflective mask, and OMER snorkle© My wife was also freediving© We dove 2 spots, the first in 10 metres of water© The Gulf is generally very shallow, and this is a closer spot that has some depth© You have to go 50 nautical miles to get 30 metres of depth!
It took me 5 dives to get comfortable, being that I dove last week for the first time since October, plus I'm not familiar with warm water©©©©the cold is what I expect, plus it help the reflex kick in© I started to relax, and was really enjoying the reef, covered in fish of all colours and shapes© Most of the reefs are 80% dead as the result of 22 years of dredging to reclaim the land to Bahrain© The government is apparently keen to plant huge artificial reef systems upstream of the "kill zone", which would be a good thing©
Sometimes while diving I get so in the "zone" that I don't pay attention to what's around me, so I tried to keep aware of that and pay attention to the external things, rather than my internal state©
The water is very saline here, and I was using 14 lbs to be neutral at 10 metres© Apparently the West side of the island requires even more lead to sink! The second site was at an artificial reef; a wreck that was all broken on the botom at 6 metres© I dove there with Juanita for a while, watching her gracefully move through the water© She loves to wear 3 or 4 tanks when she dives and does not proclaim to be a freediver, but she looked very comfortable that day, diving for over a minute at a time© She eventually became cold in her 3mm suit and got back in the boat, so I ventured off the wreck to look at the reefs surrounding it© Eventually I noticed a sea snake under me, so I started following him© I would dive behind him, 3 metres away, and watch him hunt© He would glide along, then stick his tail into the reef as an anchor© With his tail anchored, he would poke his head into all the holes he could, looking for whatever sea snakes eat© I couldn't resist stroking his tail as he left the reef© I watched later as he ascended for his "breath-up"© I expected to see him rest on the surface for a while, but laughed as he broke the surface for less than a second! If only©©©©©©!
Bahrain was interesting for many reasons, including the fact that it is the birthplace of freediving, with the oldest recorded dives written about over 4000 years ago, describing pearl divers at work, including the tale of Gilgamesh©
Next dive site will probably be ice freediving in March, then the Western Regionals at the end of March in Vancouver©
Happy New Year from Edmonton Canada,
Erik Y©
Happy New Year's

Welcome back and happy New Year's!

Glad you had a good time, The outrigger leaves at 10:00, I hope to be on it.

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