Another weekend in the UAE, and what was in store? A trip up to Diba in Fujairah, to do some scuba diving and geocaching.
It all began with a long drive after I finished work, passing through Sharjah and standstill traffic. Once I got through this I was off, foot down on the open roads, passing through the desert. As usual, sign posts slowly faded away and I was constantly questioning myself if I was going the right way. Fortunately I was, and I didn’t end up geographically unaware or even worst, lodging with a goat for the night. As with driving to Hatta, the landscape changes quickly, and the mountains spring out of the ground engulfing small villages and farms. I had to pull over at one point and take a couple of pictures, but If I had my way it would of taken me 5 hours to get there instead of 2, with all the photo opportunities.
Finally I reached Diba, which is a small town right on the coast, sandwiched between the sea and the mountains, which were literally across the road. I passed by the harbour in search of my hotel and I immediately spot
a geocache location from my map, but I decided to check in first and come back later. After check in I got changed and got out the geocaching kit, which included a head torch as it was getting dark. This didn’t deter me, and I made for the location I spotted earlier. After quick 5 minute drive and a U-turn, I pulled up on the dirt track and decided the stang should stay put and got out the pack and head torch. It was pretty dark by now, but it made it all the more enjoyable, especially with the scenery around me. As I got further in, the sounds of passing vehicles faded away and it was just me and the mountains. I started my scramble up, looking carefully to make sure there were no bears/tigers/predators (the alien kind)/general carnivorous animals lying in wait. Eventually I got to the top, but before I began looking I sat down and took in the views and enjoyed the quiet. 10 minutes later and the cache was still not in sight, and my GPS was saying I was right on top of it. Then under a small bush, I spotted a large opening
in the rocks which was where I discovered the lair. After shining my head torch in and got over the initial thought that I had spotted a spider the size of a small child (really small), I had discovered it was a dead bird that had been violently eaten, with feathers everywhere. I thought surely the cache can’t be in here, it was. I pulled away the rocks and there it was, reaching in I pulled out a small container uncovering some minor creepy crawlies. At least the man eating spider wasn’t home; he was probably out hunting a deer or something. Anyway, I logged the find and took out a green army man and replaced it with a badge of the late Sheikh Zayed. I took some photos, sat down again (well away from the lair of course) and then made my way back to the stang.
Next on the list was a cache just by a roundabout with a shark statue on it. The roundabout was easy to find, the cache however, was not. I pulled onto another dirt track and was looking for a small cairn (pile of rocks), as I shone my headtorch around I
noticed one thing, there were a lot of rocks. The GPS took me to the foot of a tree which fitted the description, but there were no cairns around. So I broadened the search and spotted the cairn in question, slightly off from the coordinates. Even though it was next to a roundabout it was still very quiet, so I could take my time taking photos. I took out a bungee cord which looked useful, and replaced it with a dominoes set, then onto the next one.
By now it was about 10.30pm and the roads were dead and the mountains were just big black splodges touching the sky. Again, the terrain ahead wasn’t suitable for the stang, so he had to watch from the sidelines. There I was looking for a small tree about halfway up the mountain, when my head torch revealed loads of shiny ‘objects’ all over the rocks. I went to investigate to find spiders with what could be described as a sequin type object on their body, shining when light was brought over it. No word of a lie, there were hundreds of them all over the place, it was immense. After making my
way up the rocks and watching little bits of light scurrying all over the place, I came to the cache site. I let a little scorpion rush past before checking out a man-made looking rock pile, to reveal the cache, one of the largest I had found. I took the usual photos, took in the surroundings and made haste back to the car before the spiders realised they could gang up on me and take me down. I retreated back to my hotel room, ending my first night, one of the best ever and I hadn’t even started diving!
Day 2 and it was an early start to get to the dive centre, which was tucked in next to a beach resort with a view of Diba rock. I spent the day learning skills in the pool which included mask clearance and experiencing the ‘out of air’ feeling underwater. It was a long day, but worth it when I got to do our first sea dive. I got all my gear prepped and swam out to the boat in the nice warm sea, ready to take us out to the rock. A quick boat ride and I was at
the rock ready to dive. One last check of the gear and I rolled off the boat into the sea. After a few surface drills I went under with my instructor and another diver and was taken aback by the vast amount of life under the water. I saw turtles scratching themselves on the coral, lionfish, scorpion fish and reef sharks to name but a few. I practiced some of the skills that I had learnt in the pool including the emergency ascent, where you run out of air and have to surface whilst breathing out really slowly. Then we spent the rest of the dive taking in the sights before surfacing for pick up, a great first dive. Unfortunately it was straight back to the pool, where we stayed until around 8pm, a very long day but well worth it. Even more so as the instructors invited me to stay for some beers and BBQ on the beach, this was awesome. We just chilled out and talked about random stuff and some good dive sites to visit, it was nice and relaxed. 11pm came and it was time for me to go to bed, another full day of diving
ahead, and unfortunately it left me no time to get the final 2 geocaches I wanted from this trip. Ahh well I will be back up again very soon.
The final day and another early rise, all our dives were in the sea this time and less skills to perform, giving more time for pleasure. I did 3 more dives in total, each one better than the last and I always spotted something different. I surfaced for the last time and was pretty tired by this point. I cleaned all my gear and packed it away, but before I could relax I had to do a 200m swim in the sea to finish the course. A great end to a great weekend and I will definitely be returning soon to do the advanced course and some more dives at another location. All that was left to do, was to say goodbye to the guys and hit the road back to Dubai.
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