"There's a Huge Fish in the Mortuary"
That was the message on my office telephone one morning in 1971. It was my wife calling. She was working as the Nursing Sister in charge of Out Patients Department at Al Maktoum Hospital. The message went on the say "Come quickly - and bring your camera".
So that's what I did.
My office was in Port Rashid so that meant a drive along Al Mina Road, Bank Street then on to Al Maktoum Bridge (No Toll Ticket needed going this way. I'd need one coming back), around the the Clock Tower Roundabout, down Al Maktoum Street into Al Nasr Square then Al Maktoum Hospital Road and finally Al Maktoum Hospital. I found the sign "To the Mortuary" and, eventually, the Mortuary.
My wife was wating for me. "Have you brought your camera?". I had. "Where's this fish?". I was taken into another section of the Mortuary and there, laid out on a wooden slab was a huge round fish. It resembled an oversized discus with fins, eyes and a gaping mouth. The fish was very dead and starting to show signs it had been dead for some time.
"What's the story?" A group of Ras Al Khaimah Fishermen had caught this fish in their nets offshore. They had not seen anything like it before. Initially these Fishermen didn't know what to do. They finally decided to bring this unique fish to Dubai to find someone who could identify it. Eventually they were directed to Al Maktoum Hospital as the best place to deal with a large dead fish!!
I dutifully took some photographs of the fish then made my way back to my office, paying an Al Maktoum Bridge Toll on the way. Later word came through the fish had been identified as a Sun Fish, a fish that is rarely seen. Apparently they can grow to a much larger size than the fish in Al Maktoum Hospital's Mortuary.
The fish was no longer in a state where it could be preserved. Instead it was reduced to a skeleton which was then put on display in Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Fort. It may still be there!