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Diving means precious heritage for this proud Emirati

mary@khaleejtimes.com Filed on December 4, 2020 | Last updated on December 4, 2020 at 10.45 pm
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She thinks that the scuba diving has picked up popularity among young generations in the UAE.

For Emirati Samira Buhumaid, diving is more than just a hobby.

"Diving has been part of the UAE precious heritage passed on by our ancestors to us. They used to depend on it to make a living. It was a vital skill when they would go on trips, looking for pearls and catching fish," she told Khaleej Times. "Keeping the sport alive enhances our sense of belonging to our beloved country."

Samira, who loves hiking, horse riding, sea sports, shooting, and taking part in competitions, had first developed a penchant for diving by chance. "It was during a nightout camping that I met my coach (Harith Al Khudairi) who encouraged me to take lessons in this sea sport."

She thinks that the scuba diving has picked up popularity among young generations in the UAE.

"It has made an explorer out of me and has boosted my passion for adventures. It would surely give anyone a feeling of thrill and excitement to just go deep in the waters to discover. There lies a great part of history. the sunken boats have their own tales to tell. Fujairah, for example, there is more than one spot that one can head for diving."

She is quite amazed by the experience of diving at night. "It is always marvellous to dive not knowing what is lying ahead of us. There is a special serene feeling about it."

She recalled once having encountered a shark which turned out to be sort of a "vegan shark".

"However, there is warning and high risk when someone dives near sunken ships. No one knows what could be hiding there," she pointed out.

Preserving environment

Diving can also prove helpful for preserving the environment and the maritime life like the fish, the algae and coral reef by removing all sorts of obstructions and rubbish and also moving corals to diving spots where they would be safely placed. Volunteering has seen large turnout from new divers.

"We would often volunteer to clean up (and not clear up) the sea waters across the emirates."

Moving of corals can be: One, Relocations of big corals whenever there are projects that could harm their living; so the process is to cut them off and move them to a safer environment. And two, Planting of small corals and later moving them to other spots. That was from Dibba Al Hosn to Khorfakan.

More to explore

She holds great memories from her local trips to reserves here, and also from her visit to Ad Dimaniyat Islands in Oman.

"I fell in love with the turtle reserve there. Old timers have great stories to tell about their scuba diving trips around the world. I heard about nice spots like the black water in Indonesia, and others in the Philippines, Bali, Maldives, and Egypt. These places could well be on my bucket list of places to visit."

Safety is top priority

"The laws of diving say that no one should dive alone.

Hence, we would always go diving two persons, at least. We stay body to body. That is how if someone's air cylinder out then he has a back-up for safety.

"I would love to become a coach and spread the passion for this hobby everywhere.

We have to pass this hobby on to the next generations. Our ancestors used to depend on it for their livelihood. So it is part of our history. Now it is upon us to preserve it and pass it on to the younger generations."

Even though it is a dangerous sport, Samira was not dissuaded by anyone from her family. And the way she feels about it just get others curious to try and learn the diving skills.

After taking theoretical and practical courses at the Emirates Diving Centre, Samira received the licence for the Open Waters in November last year and another licence for the advanced level in February.

mary@khaleejtimes.com

author

Marie Nammour

Originally from Lebanon, Marie has been covering the Dubai Courts and the Public Prosecution, immigration and labour issues often, Lebanese community-related affairs and the Dubai International Film Festival. A graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, a city to the north of Beirut, Marie worked as an in-house reporter, covering international affairs for the LBCI and the LBC Sat (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International), a leading TV station back home and a legal translator for Sagesse, a renowned law college in the heart of the Lebanese capital. Marie speaks fluently Arabic, French, English and Spanish. She is fond of travelling, psychology, learning more and of the French literature.





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