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The boat ride to Qaruh

Bernard relaxing before diving with eagle rays

Fantastic sea life and visibility

The Month of May was not only dolphin Month but sightings of bigger sea life was frequent. Huge adult barracuda's, massive eagle rays and turtles having fun in some of the best conditions seem in years.

Bigger in size and bigger in volume, the fish life has enjoyed the winter and come out in force. With great visibility, from the boat you can see the divers on the bottom. Better vis has brought interesting sightings with cuttlefish seen in groups as big as 6.

Other dive operators reported seeing Whale Sharks at Taylor Rock

Unfortunately there are no photos to share, the location has a ban on phones and cameras for security reasons.

The Thirsty Camel

Curry, Quiz and a Raffle

As the club splashes out on a new boat we needed to secure some funds to help cover the cost. Thankfully we were invited to the Thirsty Camel to promote Scuba diving and to hold a curry and quiz night.

The aim was to raise some money to help put a new dive boat into build. The evening was a resounding success and with help from some amazing raffle prizes we raised just over 3,000 KD.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all those involved prior to and on the night. It was a testament to why the club is what it is today. The generosity of our sponsors was overwhelming with nearly 200 raffle prices to give away. When choosing your next holiday destination spare a thought for the dive centers who helped us achieve such an amazing result this weekend.

A huge thank you to our sponsors on the night.

Your generosity helped us get new and experienced divers in the water.

Give the boat a spring clean!

Clearing out the drainage pipes

First dive of the year

First dive of the year

After a run of windy weekends that had kept us out the water the wind let up and gave us an opportunity.

Although cold, wet and thundering we still had a fun day of sports diver training and a soberingly cold pleasure dive

The noise you can hear in the video is rain and laughter

A rather windy winter has hopefully blown away a few cobwebs and this weekend we had a glimpse of spring.

The water may be a touch cold still but for those itching to go diving we are still taking bookings at the weekend

Weather permitting we will be giving again. 👍👍👍

This is the latest look of the new boat - still a drawing but moving on quickly

For more detailed plans look at the 'new boat' section on the news pages

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

🎉🎈💃🏻🎉🎄💃🏻🐙🐢

Latest statistics

Number of dives logged by members and guests of the club

2010 to 2011 - Total 319

2011 to 2012 - Total 416

2012 to 2013 - Total 628 - Member's median number of dives 7

2013 to 2014 - Total 969 - Member's median number of dives 19

2014 to 2015 - Total 715 - Member's median number of dives 8.5

2015 to 2016 - Total 513 - Member's median number of dives 10

Dive briefing

Time for a few more MM's?

Next weekend when the boat goes out it will be November. The air temperature has now dropped down into the 30's and the sea temperature is now a comfortable 29 degrees.

The coming of winter however will not stop us from diving. The dive sites are quieter and the change in season brings a different underwater experience

It seems at the moment its cuttlefish season and being able to experience their underwater display is worth the trip out on the boat.

Getting ready to jump

Summer in Kuwait

The water has been a not so refreshing 34 degrees but its been worth it this summer. Great turtle sightings at all 3 of our main diving locations and divers have experienced some amazing dives with the hungry and friendly cow tail rays.

Training has been happening for ocean diver, sports diver and dive leader so Brain and Tim have been busy each week.

Now as we move into mid august we are starting see some familiar faces return from their summer breaks and it's time to welcome any newcomers who might be tempted by a dive or two in the waters of Kuwait

Flat water, great visibility and exciting sea life

It's jelly fish season and all the fish are out enjoying the feast. Laith the only resident male hawksbill turtle paid a visit and the family of Devil Rays entertained us.

Mohamed & Brian

Wonderful first dive

Thank You

Our latest trainee Mohamed had a few words to say about his first day diving from the boat with Kuwait Mantas.

Dear divers gang 😊😊😊😊 Thank you so much for those dives yesterday. It was a wonderful day with unforgettable experience. Diving for the first time with a highly experienced diver and a wonderful dive manager was indeed a memorable experience. Also being in the company of such fantastic people and passionate divers added to the experience and gave me courage to complete my first dive. I hope to see you all again on next dives. Thank you all so much. Regards Mohamed

Of course we are delighted Mohamed had such a wonderful experience and this is why the club exists, to allow people to dive in a safe and enjoyable environment. A big thanks again to Brian and Tim for volunteering your time with training and everybody involved with getting the boat out on the water each day..

Dive Leader Training

A big thank you to Brian and Tim who devoted their time taking a number of members through the one day Oxygen Administration course.

11 people attended the session and went away with some important skills that will keep the Mantas diving in a safer environment.

The course covered Basic life support Use of the pocket mask Oxygen and diving incidents and how they benefit from oxygen Casualty assessment The use of oxygen administration equipment.

AGM 2015

On the 20th October we held the 2014/15 AGM. A review of the previous year and a look forward to the new committee members and their posts.

The full report is available to read in the 'club members' section of the website and is worth a look.

In brief, the club carried out 715 dives a total of 37,910 minutes underwater in Kuwait. Visited various other countries on club trips and carried out a good number of training and cross over courses.

Available to view are the Treasurer's report detailing where money has been spent and made. A membership report showing how many members are now part of the club and a boat report which keeps us in the water.

Also an important 'Thank you' section that helps remind us the efforts some go to, to keep this club running successfully for another year.

James taking part in an 'interview with a manta'

Carcass found to the north of Qaru Island

Was this poor whale the victim of the recent earthquake in Iraq?

Catch of the day

Lost & Found

A Scuba Pro mask was found at the weekend. If anybody remembers leaving a mask at around 9 metres deep at Maradim Island then please step forward.

Also recently Milla found an 8 pack of tinned tuna below Qaru pier. May have been down there some time but still within its use by date.

Kuwait is full of surprises

With the recent and exciting sightings of Bryde's whales in Kuwait we thought the summer wouldn't get much better.

Until fisherman filmed a rather excitable orca whale in the calm waters of Kuwait this week!

What's been happening this month?

June brought Kuwait many things, warmer waters, a new boat canopy, baby turtles and Ramadan

It also saw a number of members leave for summer holidays, some to return and others starting out else where. On one of the socials Alastair Hannay was presented with an award in recognition of everything he has done for the dive club during his time in Kuwait.

We are now lucky to include Nancy, manager of the Kuwait Turtle Conservation Project as a member of the dive club. Nancy has kindly put together some words on this years Turtle project happening out on Qaruh. Please have a read below to see what wonderful things are happening on one our most popular dive sites in Kuwait.

Read the very interesting account below on what the Turtles and Nancy have been doing this summer.

by Nancy Papathanasopoulou, Manager,Kuwait Turtle Conservation Project

Kuwait hosts two species of nesting turtles on its offshore islands Qaru and UmmAl-Maradim. Green turtles and hawksbill turtles nest on Qaru, hawksbills on Umm Al-Maradim and their offspring emerge from the nests to reach northern Arabian Gulf waters and ensure the circle of life of a very important animal continues as uninterruptedly as possible. The Kuwait Turtle Conservation Project(KTCP), researching their biological processes and assessing their populations and their habitat, is there for another season, hoping to contribute to their conservation and raise awareness to their value for nature. "Kuwait is blessed with these two precious nesting endangered turtle species and we must try to protect them at all costs, thus contributing further to our country's healthy ecosystems and biodiversity", said Sheikha Intisar Al-Salem All-Sabah, co-sponsor of KTCP and Chairwoman of the Al Nowair initiative.

Why is it important to protect sea turtles? Why are nations worldwide creating strict texts of conventions and legislations in a common effort beyond borders to ensure their survival? The answers are not difficult. Many decades of scientific research and constant monitoring sea turtle populations worldwide have proven that: Sea turtles are necessary for the survival of coral reefs worldwide. Without coral reefs, the degradation of all sorts of life in the oceans would be imminent and all forms of life in the ocean would become threatened or extinct. Fisheries worldwide would be gravely affected. Sea turtles are responsible for the migrations of several hundred species of organisms, which attach themselves on the animal and hitch a ride.Without this means of transport, propagation and ecological processes of these organisms would stop, and this would have an impact on the oceans health and prosperity.

 Sea turtles have existed for over a hundred million years, are an animal species that has survived all dramatic changes on earth and has an important role to fulfill, like all major species on the planet. Sea turtles have seen and lived with the dinosaurs. They have been great survivors of what eliminated the dinosaurs. Why have them vanish now, when preserving them seems to be a doable task? It would be a great blow to biodiversity on earth. As with every animal species, protecting it during its whole cycle of life is essential. For turtles, feeding, mating and nesting grounds should be protected from degradation and elimination, and migratory routes should be studied in order to achieve some level of protection there as well.

"My mother and I have been supporting this effort since 2013, convinced that it is a worthy cause and an added value to our beloved country's amazing yet largely unknown natural capital", said Sheikha Fatima Al-Sabah, co-sponsor of KTCP. The Kuwait Turtle Conservation Project, launched in June 2008, is today a common effort of Non-governmental organization Biodiversity East, The Kuwaiti Coast Guard and Sheikhas Intisar and Fatima Al-Sabah. Apart from the study of sea turtle populations in Kuwait as well as the state of the marine and coastal areas they appear in, a major campaign of environmental information and education to concerned groups of stakeholders regarding sea turtles in Kuwait will be attempted with as many means as possible.

A night of recognition and thanks

This year's annual awards took place at the Arabian Villas in Salwa. Whilst we enjoyed our Xmas dinner we took time to reflect and celebrate another successful year of diving in Kuwait.

A year of big contributions, with time and effort from valued members keeping the club in the water. A year to say hello to many new members and a year to say a sad farewell to those who are now diving elsewhere.

A high level of continued diver trainer and boat handling have now strengthened the club even further and we all look forward to another great year's club diving in 2015.

Diver of the Year - Mike Millis

Main Awards

Diver of the Year - Michael Millis

Volunteer of the Year - Andrew John

Trainee of the Year - John Sharp

Honourable mentions - Nienke Uil, Stephanie Cheng, and Marie Brady

You decide...

Pink Snorkel Award

it is with testament to the club that there were very few nominations this year, however...

Winner - Oliver Gardner

During a training excercise, whilst assessing a casualties response to audio stimuli, he asked 'What's your name Andrew?'

Other nominees in 2014 included Brian Gilding, however as it was a buddy check that picked up this potential oversight, it was more an example of the importance of pre dive routines. 'Whilst demonstrating the inflation button during a buddy check it was discovered Brian had not attached his regs to the dive kit'.

Deepest Dive of the Year

520 metres at Al Shorouk Wreck, Aqaba, Jordan

Oliver Gardner

Perhaps a little less weight next time

Deepest Dive of the Year

(In Kuwait)

All below 22m at Umm Al-Maradim

Andrew John, Stephanie Cheng, Oliver Gardner, Andreas Henkel, and David Boyd

Find anything interesting down there?

Shallowest Dive

21 metres at Umm Al-Maradim

Sharon Wood

Closely followed by buddy Andreas Henkel who couldn't resist a deeper dive of 2.3m

Longest Dive of the Year

104 minutes at Al Shorouk Wreck, Aqaba, Jordan

Oliver Gardner

Seems he couldn't find his way out

The Brian Darvell Commemoration Award

Taking the largest number of items of equipment on a normal dive

Oliver Gardner

One day you may need that kitchen sink

Fabulous, Diving - Excellent Hosts - Fantastic Location

Weve just got back from a fantastic chilled week diving with Pharaoh Divers in El Quseir, Egypt. I won bed and breakfast at Roots Camp, which was chalet like rooms set in the hill side, and unlimited house reef diving with Pharaoh Divers. We could dive the house reef unguided, which was great for playing with the cameras, as the life was varied and the coral un-spoilt. We had a big wow moment watching two octopi move across the sea bed, being mesmerized for at least 15 min, watching them change form, color, and even get flushed out of hidey hole by a Lion Fish. One even seemed to be reaching out a leg to hold tentacle with the other, absolutely amazing to watch.

We also did a couple of night dives, which, were equally if not even more amazing and our guide had a keen eye for the unusual and hard-to-spot. The Stone Fish and Scorpion Fish although easy to spot by day, were menacing at night. We also saw a sea spider for the first time and a strange black bat like fish, we have yet to identify, a sleeping turtle, flash eye fish, snake eel, feather stars, octopus, moray and much much more. After one of the night dives we joined the rest of the guests for beach BBQ and camp fire, perfect end to a night dive.

The dive guides were excellent and we were often the only diver operation at the site and despite clocking up 23 dives we still have many sites left unexplored. Lastly a big big thank to Steve and Claire who were wonderful hosts , we will definitely return , maybe for Christmas and New Year .

cool boat from the boat

Sharm el Sheikh with Oonas, by Les Warren

Oonas Divers provided the perfect package for Grainne and me. The hotel accommodation was comfortable, simple and well-maintained, and the pre-dive breakfast was the perfectly good range of cereal, bread, and cakes, backed up by a chef who would make omelettes and so on to order. The hotel is in a quiet part of town, which was also a bonus.

However, the best thing was the expertise of the Oonas Dive operation. Guides Duncan and Amy were impressive. They passed on their knowledge with good-natured enthusiasm, and made dives that they must have done hundreds of times before seem exciting; they approached divers snags with good advice and a helpful attitude. Certainly, my trip to the Thistlegorm, on the first of only three boats to arrive that morning, was absolutely transformed by Amys informative briefing and knowledgeable spotting of the points of interest.

Stick 'em up!

The many good-quality dive sites were well populated with corals, and there was a greater variety of fish than we are used to in Kuwait, with the novelty that you can actually see them from a few metres away, with the water being clear as far as the eye could see. We missed out on any of the big pelagics, but we did see a turtle! Most of the dives were along sloping walls, which gave the impression that you were casually drifting along, seeing what there was to see, and at the end of the dives the crew of the boat were always on hand to help you de-kit, making the whole experience stress-free.

As reported in News a few weeks ago, at our Christmas party some members won free diving days.

Here's the skinny from Oman.

As one of the lucky prize winners of a set of dives in Oman in January, I could not wait to get on the plane and go back to Oman where we had a lovely Kuwait Mantas weekend a few months ago. I cannot thank Keith and Monique enough for this generous gesture and all the support they gave us while planning our trip.

Keith awaited me at the airport with a warm welcome and dropped me at the Civil Aviation Club. The next day we had two very nice dives in a nice nature reserve with a small group. This time the dive sites were stunning again: Hyut and Police Run. Hyut had lovely colorful corals an policy run had an amazing amount of huge Moray Eels.

The visibility was lovely and the water was still very nice with 23C. The boat was following our bubbles, so whenever anybody needed to go up, the boat would be right there, this was very comfortable and well organized. The boat ride back was a bit on the chilly side, but all in all, diving in Oman in January is fantastic!

Thank you again Keith and Monique for a lovely weekend!

16th Feb 2014

One great thing about Kuwait is the generous number of public holidays, coupled with the relative proximity to many of the world's great dive sites. As a club we take full advantage, organising several overseas trips a year, ranging from weekends jaunts to full weeks on liveaboards. Recent club trips include the Red Sea, Sri Lanka, Beirut, the Maldives, and Oman (several times).

Several of the operators we use have been generous in the past and donated prizes to be raffled off as fundraisers at the Christmas dinner. If you are looking for somewhere to escape to, these companies are tried and tested. Please contact them for quotes and information, and of course, be sure to mention the Mantas when booking.

Oman: Global Scuba http://www.global-scuba.com/

Egypt (Dahab): Black Rock Dive Centre http://www.blackrockdivecentre.com/site/dahab/

Egypt (Abu Sauatir): Pharaoh Dive Clubs http://www.pharaohdiveclub.com/

Egypt (Sharm El-Sheikh): Oonas Dive Club http://www.oonasdiveclub.com/

Saturday 22 March 2014

This one-day BSAC course is designed to teach the administration of oxygen as a means on increasing the effectiveness of First Aid treatment of diving accidents. The course has a mix of classroom-based and practical lessons, and concludes with a practical and theory assessment.

A total of 10 club members took part in the course, including several aspiring Dive Leaders for whom the course comprises one half of the required Dive Leader theory lessons.

Well done to all those who took part as they all passed the theory exam; meaning the club now has more than doubled the number of qualified oxygen administrators.

24th January 2014

Confirming their status as the most dedicated divers in Kuwait, a group of the Kuwait Mantas undertook the first dive of 2014 at Donkey Reef on Friday 24th January.

The dive planned for the public holiday the previous long weekend had to be cancelled due to bad weather, and despite some fog warnings and a little swell left over from the overnight wind the hardy few were not put off.

The water was a mild 16c allowing several members to dust off their dry suits, including one using his for the very first time. (Yes, it leaked!) However the approach of wind and rain meant that the day was limited to one dive each; but all had fun.

Diving will continue, weather permitting, all winter for those hardy/foolish enough to book.

17th January 2014

A great turnout ensured lots of funds raised for the club, plus an excellent night out. Once again Switchback played live at the Mantas' Winter party, timed perfectly to lift the spirits after many of us have only just returned from Christmas holidays.

Despite a lengthy downpour, many hardy souls continued dancing outdoors till late.

And so... the usual many thanks to Milla Moroney who does so much to organise the whole shebang.

Diver of the Year - Oliver Gardner

Abdullah's Villa, Salwa: Thursday 12 December 2013

A last minute change of venue did not stop this event from going ahead, and all who attended had a great time. Special thanks to new member Jo Conway, for the delicious homemade mince pies to go with the roast turkey.

There was also a raffle with several lucky members receiving an early Christmas present in the form of a diving holiday. A little over 100KWD was raised for club funds.

The final event of the evening where the annual diving awards: here's Diving Officer Brian Gilding awarding 'Diver of the Year' to Chairman Oliver Gardner

Andreas Henkel

Pink Snorkel Award

This highly prestigious award went to Andreas, for making claims he wasn't entirely able to live up to...

Andreas Henkel, Brian Gilding, Nicola Dean

Deepest Dive of the Year: Kuwait

Shared between three deserving winners.

Award for the Deepest Dive of the Year 20122013 in Kuwait: Nicola Dean (17∙2 metres), Andreas Henkel (18∙0 metres) and Aries Garcera (17∙9 metres); all at Qaruh Island on the 6th September 2013.

Oliver Gardner & Hussein

Also awarded...

Sharon Wood for Trainee of the Year.

Longest Dive of the Year 20122013 to Elizabeth Kirkham and Essam Jamaa for a dive of 72 minutes at Donkey Reef on the 6th October 2012. While on the other hand, the Award for the Shortest Dive went to Steve Towers who managed just 16 minutes at Umm Al-Maradim on 10th May 2013.

Deepest Dive of the Year 20122013 to Peter Pejakov for a dive to 31∙8 metres at Unawatuna, Sri Lanka, on 26 October 2012 And Shallowest Dive to Line Risom & Julie Stonestreet for a 47 minute dive to a maximum depth of 4∙0 metres (no, really) at Donkey Reef on the 6th October 2012.

6th & 7th December

Several club members spent the weekend working to qualify as BSAC Boat Handlers.

This is the first stage to becoming a BSAC Diver/Coxwain and ensures that the club should have plenty of qualified boat handlers for some time to come.

Thanks are due to BSAC First Class Diver and National Instructor Allan Jefferies who gave up his time to run the course for us. He wrote part of the original syllabus so he was a great teacher to have, especially for those who were new to boat handling.

picture of Oman borrowed from Wikipedia till the whale shark arrives!

Damaniyat Islands; 28 - 30 November 2013

Once again the Kuwait Mantas returned to Oman to dive the Damaniyat Islands with Global Scuba. The group of 11 1/2 were joined by an old Mantasian and friend to make an impressive group for this weekend dive trip. As ever the Damaniyat Islands provided plenty of marine life from the small, sea horses, to the large, a juvenile whale shark, with everyone agreeing it was a great trip.

On the Saturday the group were treated to a guided tour of Muscat by former Oman resident and current Kuwait Mantas diving officer Brian Gilding. It probably won't be too long before the club once again visit Oman.

Sharm El Sheik, Egypt: 1 - 8 June 2013

The mere suggestion of a long weekend was enough to see a group fly off for a week's diving in clearer waters. Our host were old favourites Oonas Dive Club.

The first dive, two devil rays were seen. On the second dive a large manta ray coasted past, and from then onwards the trip could not go wrong. Assorted sites were visited. Depth experience was built up. All sorts of interesting critters and corals unknown in Kuwait were seen. A night dive was done. In total 70 dives were logged. The trip culminated in a fantastic dive on the wreck of the SS Thistlegorm (listed by The Times newspaper as one of the ten best wreck dives in the world).

Friday 31 May 2013

Thanks to Lindsay for compiling the questions, and Lindsay and Milla for popping them - our latest quiz night went well, with a good balance between psychotic threats of violence and petulant outbursts of bias! A good time was had by all, and it was great to see so many people getting involved in good old fashioned family fun.

photo credit: Aris Vidalis/www.bio-e.org

photo credit: Aris Vidalis/www.bio-e.org

Drive to Maradim interrupted

On Friday, May 3rd, we saw a school of dolphins (first spotted by Brian Gilding), halfway to Maradim from Khiran. Most likely common bottlenose - Tursiops truncatus. Most others can be eliminated on patterns, dorsal fin shape, head. What we saw were quite dark and not noticeably adorned in any way. We managed to get to snorkel with them (two of us), and they came by to check us out, but only fleetingly. Vis. was poor - 2 m or so, but they did come within just that range - but very fast. They had (some?) young with them (but not neonate, I would say).

We obtained some confirmation from Nancy Papathanasopoulou (Environmental Law and Management, Biodiversity East):
"Your dolphins might be the same pod (around 15 individuals) that we encountered in Qaru for two days in a row on 30 April and 1 May. They are definitely bottlenose and there were, indeed, two or three young individuals in the pod. We saw them clearly as they passed 20 meters in front of us on the 30th and "came to say goodbye" as we sailed away on the 1st."

(The photos here are of the group seen at Qaru.)

Brian Darvell